As Scotland’s shops reopen and World Fair Trade Day takes place on Saturday 8 May, check out these 5 places to shop for fair, ethical and sustainable products. #BuildBackFairer
1. JTS, Paisley
Nestled away on a business park in Paisley, this social enterprise and importer of fair, fine foods has been pioneering a new way of doing business since 2009.
Their bestselling fine food products include the famous Swazi Fire Chilli Sauce (one for fans of very extreme fire), Victoria Falls Rainbow Pepper Grinders (for fans of more fragrant seasoning) and Great Taste award winning Kilombero rice (for foodies looking to upgrade their regular carbs). All are guaranteed to add some colour and warmth to your meals whilst also providing sustainable incomes for farmers and workers throughout its supply chains.
JTS’s commitment to decent wages, fair prices, good working conditions and capacity-building for workers is front and centre in everything it does. Take this powerful testimonial of staff member Martin’s journey from warehouse packer to manager, its current fundraising appeal for an emerging women-led business in Malawi and its famous Rice Challenge supporting rice farmers in Malawi and food poverty in Scotland.
Recently JTS was awarded the gold star for ethical business by becoming a member of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO). This involved a strict audit demonstrating that it adheres to the 10 Principles of Fair Trade.
Ethical? This social enterprise’s credentials are, like some of its bestselling products, flamin’ hot!
2. The Emporium of Worldly Goods, Fort William
Heading to the Highlands this summer? Make sure to visit this sustainable and ethical shopping haven in Fort William.
The Emporium of Worldly Goods offers a wonderful selection of jewellery, gifts, clothing, fine foods and homewares from artisans around Scotland and the globe. All of the Emporium’s products have high ethical, social and environmentally-friendly credentials.
Sasha McKinlay, the owner, has said: ‘Our goal is, and has always been, to highlight that everyone deserves a fair wage and that quality products can be produced in an environmentally friendly way.’
As such, the shop is particularly good at sourcing and highlighting the sustainability of its products.
For World Fair Trade Day, the shop’s owner, Sasha McKinlay (pictured) chose this elegant handcrafted necklace made from sustainable materials by Daughter of the Ganges artisans in India. Daughter of the Ganges source products from WFTO member, CFM Market Linkages.
In its everyday practices, the Emporium leads by example: it uses recycled packaging, offers refillable cosmetics including unwrapped soaps and encourages customers to bring their own receptacles. It also runs workshops to show members of the community how to make products such as rugs from fairly traded materials. In 2019, the shop joined forces with its local schools and community groups to help Fort William achieve Fairtrade status.
The Emporium of Worldly Goods is not just a local shop: it is the go-to place in this Highland town for all things zero-waste, eco, natural, sustainable and Fair Trade. Drop in this summer and you won’t be disappointed.
3. One World Shop, Edinburgh
If you enjoyed browsing local shops before the pandemic and chatting to staff for product recommendations, the One World Shop in Edinburgh should be at the top of your list of local shops to visit as lockdown restrictions ease.
A pioneer of Fair Trade gift shops, this shop was set up and is run with people at its heart.
The shop’s mission to ‘reduce poverty in poor areas of the world through trading more fairly’ is achieved by sourcing and selling a beautiful selection of sustainable and fairly traded crafts, accessories and homeware. This makes it a great place for gift buying: you can pick a beautiful product and pass it on knowing that it has been made with respect for people and the planet.
Today, it continues to provide a high level of customer service with its staff and volunteers regularly seen chatting to customers on the shop floor, imparting their knowledge of all things sustainable, fair, vegan and ethical, and helping to choose the perfect gift. A scroll through its Google reviews confirms that this genuine approach, even when forced to trade online, sets the One World Shop apart: “It’s nice to know there is a human at the end of the website with a sense of humour” said one customer.
Pictured is One World Shop manager, Lorna, with a selection of products from WFTO member organisations.
4. Rainbow Turtle, Paisley
This rainbow-filled shop in Paisley has just reopened its doors and is a great place to stock up on everyday Fair Trade essentials such as tea, coffee, chocolate and other products with the WFTO label. Pictured is the shop’s director, Colum Scriven, with some of these WFTO products.
Rainbow Turtle was was founded in 2002 by a group of volunteers who wanted to raise awareness of Fair Trade and provide a place to buy Fair Trade products locally. The shop is now firmly established as the face of Fair Trade in Renfrewshire.
The Rainbow Turtle charity has played a key role in supporting its local Fairtrade Town campaign encouraging Renfrewshire Council and other big buyers to take on their fair share of fair buying and environmental protection.
The charity also delivers global citizenship workshops, equipping children with the knowledge we’ll need to tackle big challenges such as the climate emergency and trade justice.
The shop’s name is a perfect metaphor for its Fair Trade mission. The founders settled on the use of the rainbow to inspire hope, promise, inclusion and diversity in its customers and community. And the turtle? “When turtles are ‘bellyup’ they are at their most vulnerable to attack. It seems that the poorest people in the world will be forever vulnerable unless we turn trade values the right way up.”
5. Pacari Chocolate, online
The next time you reach for a chocolate treat, it’s worth taking a minute to consider where the cocoa has come from and the people who grew it.
Why? Because cocoa is in crisis right now. The global price of cocoa has dropped by 25% over the past few weeks, plunging farming communities in West Africa, where most of the world’s cocoa is grown, into crisis too. As a result, deforestation, child labour and poverty continue to be commonplace.
There are, however, chocolate companies proving that you can provide delicious chocolate whilst paying a guaranteed fair price, supporting livelihoods and protecting the environment.
And one of these pioneering companies is closer to home than you may think. Juan Santelices and his colleagues at Fair Business Alliance in Edinburgh are the UK representatives of the award-winning Pacari Chocolate brand.
Pacari is a family-run, Ecuadorian-based member of the World Fair Trade Organziation. Its chocolate is entirely produced and packaged in Ecuador thereby supporting more than 4,000 families, the local economy and protecting the environment. This ‘valued added at source business model’ is, in the words of the independent Ethical Consumer magazine, a much needed sourcing model to make chocolate ‘truly ethical.’ The model has also helped Pacari come out tops in Ethical Consumer’s most ethical chocolate rankings. Yes, that’s right: Pacari is rated the most ethical chocolate brand on the UK market!
If this unique ethical business model isn’t tempting enough, check out their tantalising organic product range which includes 100% raw cacao bars, single-origin products and dark chocolate infused with notes of passion fruit, all spice, Cuzco pink salt, goldenberries, rose, Andean mint and more.
Looking for more places to buy Fair Trade in Scotland? Check out our suppliers page.