Essi, 23 lives in Glasgow and volunteers at the Scottish Fair Trade Forum.
1. When did you first find out about Fair Trade?
I was quite young when I first learned about Fair Trade – maybe around twelve years old. I vaguely remember reading in a magazine about banana industry and thinking that it seemed unfair that people on the other side of the world have to work in poor conditions just so my family in Finland can buy cheap bananas. However, I only joined Scottish Fair Trade Forum last October and since then I have definitely learned a lot more about Fair Trade.
2. Why do you think Fair Trade is important?
There are some serious problems with free trade and globalisation and Fair Trade can help in addressing some of these problems. Thinking about garment industry for example, it is often children who are working in the cotton fields, and they might not have access to education because of this. It is often women who work in the factories making clothes, and they have very little rights: for example, if they get pregnant they might get fired as employers do not provide any opportunities for maternity leave or childcare. Women and children are often the losers of free trade and globalisation. In solving this complex problem, Fair Trade is a big step towards the right direction to make the way we trade more just and sustainable. Buying Fair Trade products is a simple, concrete thing people in Europe can do to support farmers and workers in the Global South.
3. What are you doing for Fairtrade Fortnight?
This year I am supporting the organisation of different Fair Trade events. On 1 March we organised a schools event which was attended by around 100 pupils and their teachers, as well as Ms Pamela L’Intelligent, garment worker from Craft Aid Mauritius and Humza Yousaf MSP, Minister for Europe and International Development. It was great fun organising this event!