Fairtrade Towns

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 5:29 pm on 6th March 2003.

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Photo of Sandra White Sandra White Scottish National Party 5:29 pm, 6th March 2003

I congratulate Linda Fabiani on her long commitment to fair trade. I agree with Susan Deacon's point that, many years ago, when people bought Fairtrade goods, they could not always eat them. I remember that when I bought such products, my children thought, "What is that?" Thankfully, things have moved on and the products are much better now.

Last week, I went to a Fairtrade shop in Dennistoun called GreenCity Wholefoods, which will celebrate its 25th year in business in May. I was amazed by the quality and quantity of the food that the shop sells and supplies to other shops in Glasgow and Scotland. That shows us how near to home Fairtrade products have come. Many years ago, people had to travel to get them, but now they are available in cities such as Glasgow.

A fair trade organisation has been operating for many years—we all know it as the Co-op. The principles of the Co-operative were basically the same as the present fair trade principles. I am not being flippant, but perhaps because there used to be Co-ops on every corner we took them for granted. The Co-op started the type of fair trade society that, I hope, will begin to emerge throughout Scotland and the world.

The issue is serious: it is about stopping the exploitation of people in what is called the third world. Such people want to make a decent living for their families and do not want to be exploited. I congratulate Linda Fabiani on the motion. If, by debating it and receiving answers from the minister on how, as Phil Gallie says, there can be better advertising of and a more positive spin put on fair trade, we will have achieved something.

The debate has done wonders and Parliament should be congratulated on accepting that something can be done about the exploitation of people in third world countries. I hope that there will be more motions and answers from the Executive on fair trade and on the treatment of people throughout the world.