The 'Scottish delegation': Representatives of the Scottish Fair Trade Forum, Bala Sport, JTS, Glasgow City Council and Fairtrade Town groups
Our director Martin Rhodes, volunteers Toiny Monaghan and Claire Johnson and intern Simone Peschek represented the Forum at the 9th Fair Trade Towns Conference, which took place from 4th-5th July in Bristol.
As Bristol is celebrating its 10 Year Anniversary as a Fairtrade City and is also European Green Capital this year, the conference focussed on ‘being green and fair’. Keynote speakers Harriet Lamb of Fairtrade International and Fatima Ismael of Soppexcca Co-operative Nicaragua stressed the importance of Fair Trade and how it links to sustainable development. As a result of its commitment to investing in the producers’ communities, Fair Trade helps educate young people and farmers about the causes and effects of climate change. Furthermore, over half of Fairtrade producers are also organic certified.
Greg Valerio, a Fair Trade Jewellery Pioneer, went on to address the issue of the use of mercury in the production of gold and the effects on people’s health. He highlighted the need to ‘drive the aspirational flow of values’ in order to make Fair Trade the norm. Hazel Culley of Marks and Spencer addressed the commitment of
the multinational retailer’s food section to Fair Trade, and Linda McAvan MEP talked about strengthening Fair Trade on an EU level.
The afternoon was filled with workshops on various topics, such as ‘Fair Trade Procurement’, ‘Sustainable Food’, ‘Fair Trade in the Classroom’ and ‘Regional Networking’, to name a few.
The second day of the conference was dedicated to the International Fair Trade Towns movement. With 1,703 Fair Trade Towns in 26 countries, the movement has spread considerably since the declaration of Garstang as the first Fair Trade Town in 2000. With campaigners from 21 countries joining the conference at the Science Centre in Bristol, the event was a great opportunity to share ideas and get inspired. Many thanks to Bristol Fairtrade for planning and organising such a fantastic conference!