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Fairtrade Towns

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 5:15 pm on 6th March 2003.

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Photo of Susan Deacon Susan Deacon Labour 5:15 pm, 6th March 2003

I congratulate Linda Fabiani on securing the debate. It is good that the Parliament has an opportunity during Fairtrade fortnight to discuss fair trade. Over the four-year lifespan of the session, the Parliament has had a good record of marking Fairtrade fortnight through events and motions—I plug my motion on the subject.

Several important issues need to be drawn out in the debate and they are connected with much of what was said in Angus MacKay's members' business debate on ethical investment last week. I repeat what I said then: it is vital that we take every opportunity that we can to use our purchasing power—be it individual, collective or corporate—to reflect our views and values as best we can. Supporting fair trade is the most obvious way in which we as consumers can do that.

I remember when Fairtrade products had limited availability and quality and people often tholed them on principle instead of choosing them for their taste. However, in the past decade or two, the situation has moved on dramatically. Fairtrade products are widely available and, in the main, there is a huge range of high-quality products to choose from.

It is important that the Parliament should continue to promote fair trade and that we should do all that we can as individuals to support Fairtrade products. We should congratulate and encourage the many local authorities that have supported and encouraged fair trade activities in different ways over the years.