Speech in the Scottish Parliament
4 March 2010
I, too, congratulate Bill Butler on securing the debate.
I hope that it will provide another impetus to the drive to gain fair trade nation status for Scotland.
That is a worthy goal and I look forward to our reaching it in the near future.
I remember the excitement that was generated when Aberdeen and Dundee were granted Fairtrade status in March 2004 on the same day—they both claim to have reached the line first
I congratulate the north-east towns of Montrose, Ellon and Inverurie, which have all gained Fairtrade status.
Five goals must be met for recognition—the five Cs of council, commerce, community, common consensus and captains.
As an important impetus for the councils, I ask the minister to write to all local authorities for regular updates on their work towards gaining Fairtrade status.
The Parliament must take a lead, not just in serving fair trade products, such as the Divine chocolate that is on sale in the building, but in ensuring that we exercise the greatest possible influence to change the culture so that fair trade becomes a first principle in all procurement, as Hugh O'Donnell outlined.
The responses from local authorities should be made available to members, who can then try to influence them to make the important choice to swap to fair trade.
Like other members, I was delighted to attend one of the many events that have taken place throughout Scotland and the UK during the Fairtrade fortnight.
On Saturday, in Dundee's Bonar hall, there was a strictly Fairtrade tea dance—the only one in Scotland.
It was a heady mix of delicious fair trade products and dance, which included street, salsa, tap and contemporary dance, with of course tea to follow.
There were demonstrations of the dancing as well as opportunities for participation.
The tea dance is an innovative way to introduce a wider audience to fair trade as well as to have fun.
It is really important that we get across the message of fair trade to as many people as possible, in as many ways as possible.
Councillor Richard McCready of Dundee Fair Trade Forum said:
"the serious message is that Fair-trade Tea still represents only 10% of the UK market and everyone (individually) needs to swap their cuppa to a Fair-trade Tea and then workplaces, schools, shops and local cafes need to make the switch to ensure that tea producers and workers in the developing world get a fair deal."
An event in Dundee tomorrow will look at fair trade's accomplishments and its effects on the lives of people in Palestine.
There will be a talk from Palestinian olive oil producers from the Fair Trade Development Center in Bethlehem.
I have watched Dundee's Fairtrade city campaign go from strength to strength since 2001, when the council was the first in Scotland to adopt a fair trade policy.
Now, the Dundee Fair Trade Forum has been established by the One World Centre.
I have always believed that individuals can make changes to their own lives, which, when added together, will have wide-ranging consequences
Fair trade is everyone's responsibility.
Each of us needs to act to help us meet the ambitious target of a million swaps to fair trade to help transform the lives of producers, as Bill Butler outlined.
It is the responsibility of the Scottish Parliament to be seen to take a lead in supporting Scotland to become a fair trade nation.
I welcome the establishment of the new cross-party group and I will be delighted to become a member of it.
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