Many congratulations to Scottish Fair Trade on the celebration of the 10th anniversary of Scotland as Fair Trade Nation.
It is an important milestone in the history of Fair Trade in Scotland.
The Fair Trade movement pioneered in the 60s has demonstrated that it is the sustainable business model that address issues of poverty, inequities, discrimination and climate change.
Issues that are pressing global problems today.
We cannot sustain or live a reality that does not address the human condition brought on by our existing political, social and economic structures and system.
Fair Trade is transformative and embedded in its values and practices is the potential to create a good life.
A life where all can have dignified livelihoods. Where there is no discrimination, no child labour.
Where there is gender equity. Where traditional skills and indigenous knowledge of artisans and farmers is respected, which assure social and economic security and wellbeing.
Where the environment is safe from destructive practices. Where profit is for purpose and not for a very select few.
Where co-operation replaces exploitation.
We can collectively influence governments, businesses and consumers to recognise Fair Trade which eventually sets in motion significant social change.
A major shift is needed from being niche to being the new mainstream business model that draws the attention of the larger public, the policy makers, academics and other influential players.
The pandemic has established that the virus does not recognise national boundaries and has closed social and economic distances.
It has highlighted the fault lines in our system. A system that has aggravated poverty, inequities, and devastation of the environment.
Fair Trade town, city and nation movement is a strong instrument for catalysing systemic change.
As we grow in numbers, backed with evidence of the impact of our work and when our voices get stronger, we can collectively make a change in the current social economic systems, in our often exploitative supply chains, and create a new reality where Fair trade enterprises are recognised as the relevant business models in our times.
Therein lies the future of Fair Trade.
I wish you the very best in your on-going journey, and thank you, thank you so much for your patience.
Roopa Mehta, President, World Fair Trade Organization
25 February 2023