MSP Secures Fairtrade Debate to Launch Fairtrade Fortnight

George with his favourite Fairtrade chocolateGeorge Adam, Paisley’s Member of the Scottish Parliament, today [23/02/12] led a Members Debate in the Scottish Parliament on the new Fairtrade campaign ‘Take a Step in 2012’. Fairtrade Fortnight begins on the 27th February and runs until 11th March, and is the highlight of the Fairtrade calendar with many events happening all over Scotland.

George said, “I was delighted to secure a members debate on Fairtrade in the run up to Fairtrade Fortnight. I have been passionate about Fairtrade for years; it was actually hearing about child sweat-shops being used to manufacture some of the most popular clothes at the time, which eventually lead me onto finding out about Fairtrade. Nowadays, many top brands are Fairtrade, like Kit Kats and Cadbury’s Chocolate Buttons, which are a personal favorite of mine.

‘Fairtrade looks to guarantee fair prices for producers of many products, from coffee, tea, wine and cotton. Many of these producers are from third world countries and were exploited for years, being paid very poor prices. So the more people that turn to Fairtrade means more producers around the world will get a fair price for their produce, increasing their wage and raising their living standards.

‘Take a Step in 2012, is a campaign designed to make people aware that no matter how small a step they make for Fairtrade; even a small step is a good step. Whether you alert a friend to Fairtrade, change to Fairtrade coffee yourself, change your office to only use Fairtrade products, of turn your school into a Fairtrade one, these are all positive steps. Renfrewshire has been a Fairtrade Zone since 2009, with Paisley being a Fairtrade Town since 2007.

‘Council Leader Brian Lawson has done wonders for Fairtrade locally; I can vouch for this as I was on the Fairtrade Steering Group with him as a councilor, before I became the Co-Convener of the Cross Party Group on Fairtrade at the Scottish Parliament. 2012 is the also the year that Scotland hopes to become a Fairtrade country, like our Celtic cousin, Wales. The positive nature of the debate I had in Parliament can only bode well for Scotland’s chances and I would urge as many Buddies as possible to Take a Step, for Fairtrade, in 2012. “

The Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, who closed the debate said, “I echo the sentiments that have been expressed in the chamber and thank George Adam. An assessment panel will meet in the autumn to review our evidence and judge whether Scotland has achieved enough to become a Fairtrade nation. I am confident that we will have done so, but we have to strive to go beyond that.

‘Evidence suggests that fair trade sales are holding up, despite the recession. In 2010, sales of fair trade products soared by 40 per cent to an estimated retail value of £1.17 billion, and the Fairtrade Foundation is expected to reveal another increase in sales.”

For more information on Fairtrade Fortnight, Take a Step in 2012 or just Fairtrade in general, click Here. You can also watch the full debate on the BBC Democracy Live Website – click here.