Fair Trade fever hit Glasgow last weekend when Fair Traders from across the world joined activists in Scotland to discuss and exchange ideas on the theme of Local, National, Global: What Does Fair Trade Nation Status Mean?
Delegates from England, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Poland and Canada were in Glasgow on Friday for a special, first of its seminar which initiated discussions on how to roll out the Fair Trade Nations and Regions concept globally.
On Saturday, the international guests joined over eighty delegates from Scottish Fair Trade community groups, schools, universities and business to discuss and share ideas on how to campaign for Fair Trade at a local, national and global level.
The international speaker line-up at the conference was headed by Dan Omondi Odida, General Secretary of Micodepro, a gold mining co-operative working towards Fairtrade certification, in Kenya. Dan visited Scotland as part of a UK-wide campaign by the Fairtrade Foundation tagged “I DO” to boost awareness of Fairtrade Gold and encourage people to ask their high street retailers to stock it. Dan explained how the tiny specks of precious gold help keep his community above the breadline, and how Fairtrade is helping miners in his town to get paid a living wage, get trained in health and safety and implement environmentally friendly practices. His speech reminded us of the need and importance of Fair trade when he said:
“Before Fairtrade, there were accidents, deaths, forced child labour, pollution and environmental degradation. No one has died in our mines after we started working towards Fairtrade certification…in other mines, someone dies every week.”
Additional highlights of the conference included a speech by Minister for Development & Europe, Dr Alasdair Allan who reaffirmed his commitment to Fair Trade whilst Cheryl McGechie, Director of Public Engagement at the Fairtrade Foundation spoke about the current challenges and opportunities for Fairtrade in the UK. Elen Jones from Fair Trade Wales, Henk Zandvliet and Martin Rhodes from the Scottish Fair Trade Forum all delivered inspiring speeches about their respective countries’ journeys in achieving Fair Trade Nation status. These talks culminated in a discussion panel & Q&A on the theme of Fair Trade Nations.
Delegates were treated to lively performance by the Fair Trade group at St Elizabeth’s Primary School (Hamilton) who epitomised the local, national, global theme with a rendition of Burns, Scots and Fair Trade-inspired songs.
The attendees also had opportunity to browse and buy from a Fair Trade marketplace and attend breakout sessions on the themes of engaging with retailers; refreshing your group’s membership; opening up a Fair Trade shop & communications.
Tracy Mitchell was elected as the Scottish Representative to the National Campaigner Committee.
Photos of the event can be found on our Facebook page.