This year the Scottish Fair Trade Campaigner Conference was held in Perth. We were joined by Fair Trade campaigners from across Scotland and beyond who were keen to address the theme of this year’s conference ‘Fair Trade in Context: Challenges and Opportunities’.
To address this theme our keynote speakers discussed issues such as the implications of Brexit, changes in the use of the Fairtrade Mark, the growth in interest in the Fair Trade Nation and Region model, and how Fair Trade fits into the Scottish Government’s broader International Development Strategy.
The first speaker to address the delegates was Christopher Stange, Secretariat for the All Party Group on Fairtrade in the Northern Irish Assembly. Christopher kicked the conference off by telling the attendees about Northern Ireland’s journey to become a Fairtrade region.
This was followed by a challenging presentation on the implications of Brexit for the UK’s trade with the Global South by Sophie Hardefeldt from the Trade Justice Movement. Sophie outlined the main ways in which trade with the Global South will be affected and discussed what could be done to build a new approach to International Trade in the wake of Brexit.
Joanna Keating, Head of International Development at the Scottish Government then provided some context around the wider international work which the Scottish Government is carrying and outlined how Fair Trade fits into this work. Joanna paid tribute to the work which individual Fair Trade campaigners from all over Scotland carry out and the impact that this has.
Following this, we heard from Julia Nicoara, Head of Brand and Marketing at the Fairtrade Foundation who spoke about what’s next for Fairtrade and the Mark? She talked about how much of a difference Fairtrade is making to producers and to learn about the different ways in which the Fairtrade Foundation are working with businesses to deliver more producer impact.
Lastly, Martin Rhodes, Director of the Scottish Fair Trade Forum outlined the challenges and opportunities for Fair Trade in Scotland drawing on what the four previous speakers had said. Martin then facilitated a question and answer session which lead to lots of interesting discussion.
This was followed by lunch and our AGM where delegates learned about activities the Forum has undertaken over the past year as well as our plans for the future.
In the afternoon delegates took part in a Fair Trade walk around Perth city centre which was organised by the Perth and Kinross Fair Trade steering group. The route of the walk incorporated stops at different Fair Trade shops and churches.
After the walk conference attendees heard from two local Perth and Kinross schools; Muthill Primary and St. John’s Academy. The teachers and pupils told the audience about all the different ways they have gotten involved with Fair Trade and of course some of them couldn’t resist dressing up as Fair Trade bananas!
You can view the slides from each of the speaker’s presentations here:
Photos of the event can be found on our Facebook page.