Fairtrade

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 4:30 pm on 8th March 2007.

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Photo of Patricia Ferguson Patricia Ferguson Labour 4:30 pm, 8th March 2007

We are currently considering the issue of exactly how far we can go and how we can frame that guidance. That is work in progress. Through the Fairtrade group and others, I will keep Parliament informed.

During my visit to Kilmarnock, I heard about the work of Loudoun and Stewarton academies. Pupils from Loudoun academy have created and run their own fair trade group to promote and sell Fairtrade products around the school and the local community. Pupils from Stewarton academy are equally enthusiastic about promoting fair trade and recently hosted their own fashion show to highlight the inequalities of global trade. Those young activists are the next generation of responsible citizens, and they are being empowered at a young age by learning about how they can make a difference to those living in poverty in the developing world.

Fairtrade fortnight is all about raising awareness around the country. We are working closely with stakeholders and considering how best we can support the development of a Scottish fair trade forum to drive the implementation of the fair trade nation criteria. Raising awareness of fair trade is crucial. I was interested to note that, as part of a recent survey, the Scottish public were asked whether they recognised the Fairtrade logo, how much they felt they knew about it and what they thought that it represented. Some 64 per cent of those who were asked recognised the Fairtrade logo, as opposed to 52 per cent in a similar United Kingdom survey. Additionally, 62 per cent correctly associated the logo with the phrase "a better deal for third world producers", compared with the UK figure of 51 per cent. Those are really encouraging figures that show just how quickly the fair trade movement is growing in Scotland.

This year, we have had some really positive messages of support for the fair trade nation campaign. I personally thank the Fratellis, Gail Porter, the Proclaimers and Edith Bowman for their contributions, which are in the fair trade nation brochure that we produced. Having such role models for our young people can be enormously helpful.