The final item of business today is a members’ business debate on motion S4M-07331, in the name of Graeme Dey, on Scotland more aware of fair trade. The debate will be concluded without any questions being put.
That the Parliament welcomes the findings of a new poll suggesting that almost nine in 10 people in Scotland are aware of fair trade; believes that this reflects the country’s status as a fair trade nation; notes the findings that the number of people aware of the concept has increased from 64% in 2006 to 87% in 2013; understands that the poll of over 1,000 adults also suggested that more than a third of people in Scotland regularly purchase fairly traded products, compared with one in five in 2011; is pleased that, by being one of the first countries to achieve Fair Trade Nation status, Scotland is now considered by the Scottish Fair Trade Forum to be at the forefront of what it considers this ethical movement, and commends the community-based groups in Angus and elsewhere in Scotland that are helping to promote fair trade products and that aim to ensure a better deal for developing countries.
A recent poll revealed that almost nine out of 10 Scots are aware of fair trade. That remarkable level of awareness is one that would, in most cases, trump awareness of who their constituency MSP is, let alone of those of us who are charged with representing them via the regional list.
That high-level recognition of fair trade and what it stands for should not surprise us. Earlier this year, Scotland was one of the first countries in the world to become a Fairtrade nation—a fantastic achievement that would not have been possible without the dedication and commitment of people of all ages and backgrounds throughout Scotland. Whatever else achieving Fairtrade nation status does, it surely highlights the shared vision that we Scots have of Scotland as a good global citizen that is committed to playing its part in addressing poverty.
Scottish support for fair trade products and the ethical business practices that fair trade promotes, is growing. That reflects an increased understanding of the concept of fair trade—awareness levels have arisen from 64 per cent of the population in 2006, to 88 per cent earlier this year. It is pleasing to note that a third of Scots are believed to purchase fair trade products regularly, compared to just 20 per cent as recently as two years ago.
The fair trade movement has come a long way since its beginnings in the 1960s—it has certainly long since shed its one-time image as the preserve of middle-aged, middle-class do-gooders. It is to the credit of Scotland and this country’s inherent sense of fairness that we are at the forefront of that movement.
Hundreds of community-based groups have sprung up in our towns, villages, cities, schools, colleges, universities and places of worship to promote fair trade. Whether that is because they have bought into the ethos of the movement or are simply responding to demand—or it is a bit of both—supermarkets are active in providing opportunities for ethical shopping, with the market doubling every two years.
Sainsbury’s, which lays claim to being the United Kingdom’s largest fair trade retailer, with a 22 per cent share of the market, reports that its sales of fair trade goods rose 5 per cent last year to £288 million. That figure includes sales of 650 million bananas, which has generated £4 million of fair trade money that is going to help small farming communities in the Dominican Republic, Colombia, St Lucia, Panama, Peru and Ghana. In keeping with the rise in the fair trade movement in Scotland, Sainsbury’s aims to sell £1 billion of fairly traded products annually by 2020.
In order that I cannot be accused of promoting one supermarket chain, I mention that Morrisons, Asda, Lidl, the Co-operative and the Spar in my constituency are all fair trade engaged.
My motion was principally about noting the achievements of communities and organisations across Scotland, specifically in the area that I represent, in buying into fair trade and what it stands for. The Angus zone, which covers all of the county, achieved Fairtrade status in 2012, nine years after the local council first agreed to support the concept and four years after Montrose, in my colleague Nigel Don’s neighbouring constituency, became the first Angus Fairtrade town.
Within the zone, two of the four towns in my constituency have secured Fairtrade status, with a third, Kirriemuir, currently working towards that goal. The achievements of Arbroath and Carnoustie in getting there were recognised by Angus Council, which awarded them civic receptions in November 2012 and February 2013 respectively. Fittingly, Carnoustie’s reception took place on 25 February—the same day as Scotland became a Fairtrade nation.
It is remarkable to witness the speed at which participation in fair trade can grow. Take the example of Arbroath, where five of the 12 places of worship have now gained Fairtrade status. Only one school, Arbroath high, was involved at the outset, but now two primaries, Inverbrothock and Muirfield, are in the fold, with Warddykes primary and Arbroath academy seeking to follow suit. Angus College is also participating through its catering outlet, Cafe 56, and its charity shop. All the Co-ops in the town have Fairtrade status, along with Boots the chemist and a variety of cafes, a guesthouse, the Arbroath Choral Society, the local credit union and the furniture recycling project.
In Carnoustie, three out of the four schools are now actively involved in the local fair trade movement. Carlogie primary operates a fair trade cafe once a month out of the Panbride church hall, and Woodlands primary holds a fair trade cafe once a term. Both of them have achieved Fairtrade school status. Carnoustie high school, although it is not a Fairtrade school, has also found creative ways to be supportive of the ethical buying scheme. Pupils have their own fair trade forum and can buy Fairtrade products from the tuck shop, and one pupil is being invited to sit on a local committee to provide a youthful perspective on fair trade. All Church of Scotland premises in the town are involved with the fair trade group.
As well as promoting ethical purchasing, the Carnoustie fair trade movement is about buying local produce, thus reducing the carbon footprint and helping to boost Scotland’s industry. In a bid to get the message across, the Carnoustie committee has arranged fashion shows and tasting events. A number of the businesses in the town have pledged their support to the cause.
Kirriemuir’s Fairtrade forum has been up and running since November last year, and it will shortly be submitting its application for Fairtrade town status. The Glens and Kirriemuir old parish church is already a Fairtrade church. The forum’s efforts are being further supported by Webster’s high school and the two primaries, Northmuir and Southmuir. The fair trade message continues to be spread in Kirriemuir, with activists attending the Cortachy highland games just outside the town and a local heat being staged for the upcoming Angus bake-off competition, which is being staged on 14 September at Forfar mart as part of the taste of Angus festival.
I have no doubt that the efforts of those organisations and the various Angus events promoting fair trade have contributed to the positive association that Scots now make with the movement, and that they will, in time, result in more towns like Kirriemuir being added to the growing list of areas in Scotland that hold Fairtrade status.
Fair trade is becoming accessible to everyone. With thousands of Fairtrade-certified products for sale through retail and catering outlets across the country, anyone can show their support for ethical business during their weekly shop. Fair trade is about being the better nation that we aspire to be. By consciously supporting better prices, decent working conditions and fairer terms of trade for farmers and workers around the world, with each purchase that we make we are expressing our support for the same social justice to be upheld in our own country and in our communities. Although the gesture might seem relatively small, the people of Scotland recognise the moral value of buying fairly traded products, and I am proud to represent a constituency that demonstrates a strong commitment to increasing participation in the movement within our Fairtrade nation.
I note the degree of cross-party support that the motion has attracted. Clearly, support for fair trade and all that it stands for is as widespread in the Parliament as it is across Scotland. I thank all 40 members who signed the motion and allowed the debate to take place.
I begin with my thanks to Graeme Dey for securing the debate and for his efforts in supporting fair trade here in Scotland. I suspect that most of us in the chamber are conscious that, above all, fair trade is a grassroots movement, which harnesses the power of each one of us, as small consumers, and turns it into a globally powerful force for change. I am particularly pleased that we have now reached the stage at which we have harnessed the power of Scotland as a country and joined Wales to promote fair trade at national level.
In a moment, I will look at some of the actions that we can take at national level through the Scottish Government and Parliament. In doing so, however, I do not want to lose sight of our individual contributions. It is only a few years since fair trade was the preserve of Oxfam shops, churches, and members of a few justice and peace groups. I have had the privilege of chairing the East Renfrewshire fair trade steering group through much of the past decade and am only too aware of the fantastic efforts of the committed few. It is thanks to those enlightened, liberal-minded and socially aware citizens that companies as diverse as Cadbury, Marks and Spencer, and Tate & Lyle can now parade their fair trade credentials alongside the most important ethical trader of them all.
I refer, of course, to the Co-op, which is still at the forefront of the fair trade movement and takes a more ethical approach to business, employment and community support. Although fair trade has made the jump to the commercial mainstream, it still requires our individual efforts to promote fair practices and tackle unfair and exploitative trading relationships.
Many members will be familiar with an issue that still has to reach public awareness, especially the nine out of 10 whom Graeme Dey highlighted in his motion. I am talking about fairly traded footballs. It has been estimated that 70 per cent of the world’s hand-stitched sports balls, including footballs, are manufactured in one district in Pakistan, often by children. Until recently, the industry has been characterised by low pay, poor working conditions and children being forced into work because adult wages are insufficient to support a family. Now, thanks to the fair trade movement, there are a dozen fair trade certified producers from the same region, and through the fair trade premium, local people have benefited from a water purification system, from the introduction of basic health insurance, and from a new micro credit fund.
I was delighted when East Renfrewshire Council, my local authority, alongside the chambers of commerce and others, earlier this year promoted a fair trade football competition for the second time. I know that my West Scotland colleague Neil Bibby has been even more ambitious and has arranged a major five-a-side competition in Paisley. I can tell members that that has, in turn, led to an even more attractive fixture: MSPs against MPs at Celtic Park this Sunday. Who says that supporting fair trade cannot be enjoyable? Anyone who has not put their name down yet for the game—I am looking particularly at the Minister for external Affairs and International Development, who I know would be a useful addition to the team—can contact Neil Bibby. I am sure that the minister’s talents will be appreciated, as well as his support for fair trade.
Despite the growing success and increased awareness of fair trade, many challenges still face us. A couple of years ago, our local committee in East Renfrewshire promoted a fair trade school dinners competition among local pupils. I have to say that it was a great success, and hundreds of thoughtful and very tasty menus were drawn up by local children. The council’s school catering department was very supportive, but it also became clear early on that it was torn by conflicting official policy and guidance. As much as the department wanted to support fair trade, it thought that the higher priority was procurement policy, which in turn placed a premium on price over ethical purchasing. That is why, yet again, I draw the minister’s attention to the forthcoming procurement bill, to the Scottish Government’s purchasing power, and its role as exemplar of best practice.
Yes—individual citizens can all make a difference, as can MSPs, but the Parliament can take action to promote Scotland as a fair trade country.
I add my thanks and congratulations to Graeme Dey on securing this important debate for Parliament. I also thank him because it means that we get to talk up our constituencies and the work that they are doing. As Ken Macintosh said, fair trade is a grass-roots movement, so it is appropriate for us to take such an opportunity.
I also give Graeme Dey and other members my apologies; I have to leave as soon as I have made my speech.
In Strathkelvin and Bearsden, my constituency, fair trade has a long history. The Balmore Coach House, which has been on the go for more than 20 years, has now raised more than £1 million by selling fair trade goods. East Dunbartonshire achieved Fairtrade zone status a few years ago, and that status was renewed this year. Lenzie is now a Fairtrade town, having achieved that status this year, and on 3 October we will celebrate that achievement with a savour the flavour evening with the Co-op.
That reminds me that Bearsden and Milngavie have a very strong and hard-working team who are working towards that status. I am reminded because one of the first events in Bearsden and Milngavie was a savour the flavour event and I ended up as the chef’s assistant for the evening. Nobody got food poisoning, everything was made with fair trade food from Sainsbury’s and I was given an apron in appreciation, which I definitely appreciated.
I was interested to hear Graeme Dey talking about a fashion show, because I thought that Bearsden and Milngavie were the first to do a fair trade fashion show, but we were not; we were the second.
This June, East Dunbartonshire cycle co-op, which has a festival every year in Bishopbriggs, decided to make it a Fairtrade cycle festival. It managed to do that and get the accreditation for it, so well done to it.
I will pick up on two other issues. One is about procurement and follows on from what Ken Macintosh said. I have a constituent who is working really hard on fair trade school uniforms. She has got into quite a few local schools where people buy the sweatshirts and so on through the parent teacher associations. However, like Ken Macintosh, she sees the procurement bill as her way to get the whole issue debated in Parliament and perhaps to get people to realise that there are reasons other than pennies and pounds to consider when deciding where to purchase from; there is a moral reason, too.
We have another groundbreaking area in East Dunbartonshire: we have the first suite of fair trade nurseries. That is a useful point to finish on because if we can talk to two and three-year-olds in a way that they understand and ensure that their snacks are made with fairly traded products, then we ensure that young folk can understand the message, which is where it all starts, is it not?
Ken Macintosh talked about young kids in Pakistan making footballs. When children are two or three years old, they can begin to understand that if it is presented to them in their kind of language.
Fair trade makes us as individuals feel good but, more important, it is about what we as a country can do to support parts of the world that do not have the riches that we have.
I, too, thank Graeme Dey for lodging the motion and achieving a members’ business debate on what is a very important subject.
It is also very timely, given the publication in the summer of the Scottish fair trade forum survey, which showed not only an increase in awareness of the concept of fair trade, but a rise in the purchase of fair trade products in Scotland. All that has been achieved in the very year that Scotland was awarded Fairtrade status, making it the second nation in the United Kingdom to gain that accolade and one of the first worldwide.
With all Scottish cities and 62 towns across the country holding similar recognition, I think that we can all be proud of what Scots have worked towards in a relatively short time. As a regional MSP for North East Scotland, I was pleased that the motion refers to Angus. It is commendable that for more than a decade the council there, of whatever political persuasion, has promoted the idea of fair trade across the county.
Montrose became the first Fairtrade town in 2008, followed by Montrose academy becoming the first Fairtrade school in the area. The range of shops, restaurants, cafes, hotels and supermarkets supporting the fair trade initiative in Angus stretches, as we have heard, from Kirriemuir to Carnoustie and from Forfar to Arbroath. The range of products on offer is diverse, ranging from coffee and rice to cotton and sports balls, sold in order to benefit projects in places such as Pakistan, Kenya and Malawi—the latter, as we know, being a country that Scotland has had ties with for centuries.
My home city of Aberdeen was the first city in Scotland to achieve Fairtrade status back in 2004 and it is interesting to note that that award was made to the “people of Aberdeen” in recognition of the businesses, schools, faith groups and individuals who worked so hard to gain the prestigious rating.
On the commitment of groups and organisations to gaining Fairtrade status, the process is not automatic or by any means easy. Renewal for towns and cities takes place every two years and, in the case of Aberdeen, the next date when the fair trade steering group will have to list its achievements is next year—2014. I wish it well, but given the fact that schools in my area such as Dyce academy and Airyhall primary have already successfully achieved Fairtrade school status, with other bodies working towards similar goals, I think that I can be assured that Aberdeen will go from strength to strength.
My local church in Aberdeen, which is Cults parish church, has for a number of years had a Traidcraft stall situated in the hall after the service every Sunday. The stall offers a wide range of fairly traded products, such as food items, cards and gifts.
The commitment shown by supermarkets, which sometimes come in for perhaps undue criticism, should also be acknowledged. As a customer, I find the fair trade bananas sold at Asda to be of exceptional quality, as is some of the fair trade ground coffee. In my local Co-op, where I often buy wine at weekends, the fair trade Pinot Grigio is as good as any one might get anywhere.
I was also interested to learn of Sainsbury’s work to promote fair trade through its ambassador programme, whereby some 500 individuals within the UK spread awareness of fair trade initiatives throughout local communities. Sainsbury’s ambitious 20 by 20 strategy aims to increase sales of fairly traded produce by £1 billion by 2020. That will mean an expansion in the range of fair trade goods that are available to customers.
Such targets mean that organisations are, we hope, not simply relying on what they have already achieved. We must not be complacent; we must aim to work even harder to gain a better deal for developing countries around the globe. A simple thing, such as choosing to buy a fair trade bar of chocolate instead of a regular bar, should be easy and can make a big difference to families and communities in other parts of the world.
In conclusion, we need to encourage still more people to think of where their shopping comes from and to consider buying, where possible, goods that are fairly traded.
I thank Graeme Dey for securing the debate. I speak as the co-convener, along with James Kelly, of the cross-party group on fair trade, which single-handedly secured Fairtrade nation status for Scotland—we decided that we would take the full credit after all the meetings that we convened during that year when we were working towards gaining Fairtrade nation status.
Nine out of 10 people in Scotland are now aware of fair trade. That is quite incredible, given that even 10 years ago walking into a store and being able to buy fair trade coffee was next to impossible. People had to go to a church-based store or a specialist store such as the Rainbow Turtle shop in Paisley, which has been going for 10 years. The Rainbow Turtle used to be the only shop that stocked all fair trade goods—in fact, it stocks quite a lot of stuff that goes into my constituency office.
Another point to remember is that, although people are aware of the Fairtrade brand, it is not just a brand, like a brand of soap powder or something else, but something that can make a difference to people’s lives. Fairtrade nation status is a declaration of intent: it says that we want to live in a world where we can make a difference to other people—we need to remember that. It is great that people know what the brand is, but we cannot finish just at Fairtrade nation status.
I remember that, way back when I was a councillor on Renfrewshire Council, Liz Cotton of Paisley’s Rainbow Turtle shop was concerned that we would not move any further once we had achieved Fairtrade county status for Renfrewshire. Since that day, I have remembered that point. Getting the plaque or sign is not the destination; the reason why we want to achieve it is to make a difference in the lives of the people we are talking about.
As the minister will be aware, this year and last year we had some people over from a Malawi co-operative that makes rice. Their produce is not technically Fairtrade as it has not been given the Fairtrade brand—that is another debate, because it is actually quite expensive for people to go through that process—but the way in which the co-operative works together makes a big difference in their community. At our meeting with those people, both the minister and I were shocked that, when they talked about something as simple as mechanisation, they were talking about basically getting oxen to help with the field—they were not talking about some state-of-the-art equipment. One of the gentlemen, who had seen some abandoned farming equipment when they drove through Scotland, said that they would use such equipment in a second. To them, that would have made an unbelievable difference to their lifestyle and to what they were trying to achieve.
In today’s debate, we need to remember that although things have gone really well, this is only the beginning. We need to keep moving. As I said, Fairtrade nation status is a declaration of intent and a statement of the values that we have as a nation—we want to work with fellow nations in the world to make a difference. Young people get involved in such campaigns because they can see that they make a difference. There is not the cynicism involved in other types of politics; young people know that they can work hard to make a difference, and their idealism is attracted to that.
Some of us have probably got a wee bit cynical as we have got older and the years have gone on, but I want to hold on to that part of my idealism. I want to think that Scotland can stand on its own and be important for fair trade.
As I said, achieving Fairtrade nation status is not the end and the campaign continues. We are not just looking for brand recognition, because the issue is far more important than that—it is about wanting to make a change in the world and to make a difference in people’s lives.
As a regular attendee of the cross-party group in the Scottish Parliament on fair trade and a member of the Scottish Co-operative Party parliamentary group, I, too, thank Graeme Dey for bringing this members’ business debate to the chamber. Along with many other people, I am delighted that, this February, Scotland became one of the first Fairtrade nations. Scotland is now considered to be at the forefront of the ethical fair trade movement, which we must seek to foster and further. The Scottish Government initially set a target that 50 per cent of the population should know about fair trade, with the ultimate goal of reaching 75 per cent. However, the target has been exceeded, with an incredible 81 per cent, which should encourage policymakers and local communities to raise their expectations further.
Individuals, communities, schools, churches and local businesses across Scotland will help to take the movement forward. As a quick aside, I mention that, at the fair trade fashion show in Selkirk, there was an MSP on the catwalk. I am not at liberty to say who it was, although I can say that it was not me. Another success is the South Lanarkshire Fairtrade zone. The award of that status acknowledges that 81 retailers and catering outlets sell a minimum of two fair trade products, as well as the fact that there is an active steering group. That should be recognised.
Individuals, too, have demonstrated their ability to catalyse change. At Abington primary school, where I used to work, a primary 4 pupil felt so compelled by the fair trade principles that he convinced the school to host a fair trade event and, off his own bat, asked his local shop to stock fair trade goods.
Scotland’s dedication to ensuring that developing countries get a fair deal for their goods has exceeded expectations, but we must continue to move forward. My contention is that the environmental standards that are required of fair trade producers are such that we do not have to worry so much about the carbon footprint and food miles as we perhaps would with other products and standards. So I particularly welcome the import of such goods, and I have less concern for the food miles that are involved.
Earlier this year, I attended a fair trade event, which was supported by the Dumfries and Galloway fair trade group, at the Cream o’ Galloway visitor centre near Castle Douglas in my region. For me, the visit drew into sharp focus the synergies between local and global ethical working. As many members will know, Cream o’ Galloway is an organic farm that sells local produce, including delicious ice cream, and which now has a vibrant visitor centre.
At the event, I met Justine Watalunga, a fair trade coffee farmer from Uganda who was touring the United Kingdom as part of Fairtrade fortnight. She is part of the Gumutindo coffee co-operative, which brings together more than 3,000 coffee farmers. She highlighted how involvement in fair trade has brought additional income and allowed women in her community to come together to start a nursery and primary school for local children. That inspirational model of democratic local decision making is also part of the fair trade movement. For me, the local-global synergy was symbolised by a very good cup of coffee from Justine’s farm with cream from right where we were at Cream o’ Galloway.
There are issues for us to address as we look to the future of fair trade. I believe that, as parliamentarians, we should do everything possible to promote fair trade. In a recent answer to my colleague Kezia Dugdale’s question about the forthcoming procurement reform bill, Nicola Sturgeon stated:
“the Scottish Fair Trade Forum has agreed to work with the Scottish Government to progress the uptake of fair and ethically traded goods and services through public procurement.”—[Official Report, Written Answers, 18 June 2013; S4W-15613.]
Can the minister highlight any ways in which that has been taken forward?
The cross-party group has discussed concerns about product description when only some of the ingredients are fair trade. We have also discussed the arrangements by which supermarkets promote and sell fair trade products, and issues to do with mark-up. Those are difficult issues, but they should not be ducked.
I want to end by posing a question that, in my view, the global community, especially more developed countries such as ours, should address. Although fair trade is a laudable model that is to be supported, how do we contribute to addressing the imbalance in global trade structures and in global economic and financial institutions? What about the Ugandan coffee farmer in the farm next to Justine’s who does not benefit from fair trade?
I am honoured to close the debate and I thank Graeme Dey for bringing it to the chamber. Of course, Graeme Dey’s constituency, Angus South, achieved Fairtrade zone status last year. I also thank all the members who spoke about fair trade events that take place in their local schools, churches and supermarkets.
The Scottish Government is proud to have supported the Scottish Fair Trade Forum since 2007. It was a real pleasure for me to be able to announce in February that Scotland had achieved Fairtrade nation status following the report, “Can Scotland call itself a Fair Trade Nation?” Two themes that were picked up on by Ken Macintosh and Fiona McLeod were important when I made that announcement. One was footballs. We used footballs that came from Sialkot in Pakistan—many of Mr Macintosh’s constituents will come from that district—when we had a kickabout at a school in the east end of Glasgow. Playing football with 10 and 11-year-olds made me feel quite old, because I was puffed out after the first 10 or 15 minutes. Using the footballs was a great, fun way of getting the message across, just as Fiona McLeod said. When I talked to the kids about fair trade footballs and asked whether they had any questions, a kid put up his hand and said, “Can we get the ball, sir, and start playing?” They got the message.
I thank Ken Macintosh for raising the issue. The important thing about the footballs is that in a day and age when a footballer can be sold for £100 million and no one bats an eyelid, nobody gives enough thought to the football that that £100 million foot will be kicking. Given that football is our national sport, there is a lot more that we can do in that respect. Graham Spiers, the columnist, wrote a good article about that, which I commend to everybody. He set the Government and the Parliament the challenge to see what else we can do on that front.
The Scottish Fair Trade Forum was instrumental in driving forward the agenda to achieve the Fairtrade nation accolade. Wales was the first country to achieve that accolade, but I am pleased that we can now say that we are the other Fairtrade nation in the world. I was at an event in Perth at the weekend, where Carwyn Jones, the First Minister of Wales, sent a great video message congratulating Scotland on achieving Fairtrade nation status.
I am delighted by the opinion poll that Graeme Dey and other members highlighted, which shows that the number of people in Scotland who support fair trade continues to rise. I accept George Adam’s point that fair trade is about more than just a brand, but the recognition of the brand is phenomenal. At the event in Perth, one of the people receiving an award was Tracy Mitchell, who got involved in fair trade when her two-year-old daughter recognised and pointed to the Fairtrade sign at the supermarket. She started getting involved in making her child’s nursery a Fairtrade nursery. The brand has great recognition, but we can undoubtedly still do more.
One of the great things that everybody mentioned was the number of different people involved in the fair trade movement, which is one of the best things about fair trade. That extends from businesses, such as tea and chocolate companies, right down to local schools. Thousands and thousands of people are determined to ensure that we send the message from Scotland that we do not believe in the inequality of the supply chain and that we want to do something to change and fix that so that we have a much better, more equal and more prosperous society for all.
Scotland is a caring nation that is determined to ensure that producers in the developing world are paid a fair price for their goods. As I said, that was demonstrated in villages, towns and cities across the entire country. Primary 6 children of Carlogie primary school in Carnoustie, which Mr Dey mentioned, run Fairlogie, a successful fair trade cafe and tuck shop that benefits the local community and helps to raise awareness. The children of St Elizabeth’s primary school in Hamilton, whom I met at the weekend as well, have a rap song that they have recorded as a single, which is played across many schools. I will not attempt to sing it.
Members: Go on.
No, it would do this debate a disservice if I were even to attempt it.
St Elizabeth’s primary received a community award, which recognises the work that the children put into that song.
Like Nanette Milne, I want to make a special mention of churches. I think that the churches in Scotland can give themselves a thoroughly well-earned pat on the back for their efforts with regard to fair trade and the Fairtrade movement. It would not be an exaggeration to say that, without their efforts, we would not have achieved Fairtrade nation status when we did, and it would have been a lot more difficult without their efforts, so I want to put that very much on record.
Claudia Beamish and others mentioned legislation, and I agree that legislation can most definitely play an important role. Third sector organisations and non-governmental organisations from Oxfam and the Scottish Fairtrade Forum all the way through to the many hundreds that are working with the Fairtrade movement have had discussions with the Deputy First Minister and, previously, Alex Neil, who formerly led on the procurement bill. Indeed, local MSPs, including myself, have held meetings to try to feed into the procurement bill process.
I will endeavour to get a response to Claudia Beamish with an update on that issue, which I know is being considered. In truth, there is a difficulty with naming particular brands in legislation, but we can perhaps find a way of getting a positive outcome by addressing the issue of the underlying principles.
I was delighted that Claudia Beamish mentioned Justine from Uganda. Having met Justine at the Fairtrade status announcement, as well as having met farmers from Malawi and people who are involved in the Fairtrade movement in Indonesia, I know that hearing from people about the difference that fair trade makes to their lives brings the issue to life. For all the people who are involved in fair trade, there are still a lot of people who see the products on the shelves with the Fairtrade label and do not put out their hands to pick up those products. As George Adam said, we still have a heck of a lot of work to do. It is important that we consider ourselves to be at the beginning, not the end. Further, let us face it: at that event in Perth, I had Fairtrade candy floss, brownies, crisps and chocolate—never has doing good work ever tasted and felt so good, so it is an easy thing for us all to do.
I am proud, like all the members here, of everything that we have achieved in Scotland and of the way in which people have worked together in communities across the country to help us to achieve this fantastic status. I believe that countries the size of Scotland can set an example for the rest of the world, as George Adam said, and that, through our commitment to fairness and equality, we can be a standard bearer for other nations in the world.
I am delighted to make the important announcement that, on Sunday, I will be playing in a football match on the hallowed turf of Celtic Park—[Applause.]
I knew that at least one person would applaud that. More than that, I am delighted that MSPs, MPs, councillors, elected representatives of all parties, all colours and all hues have played their part, and I think that they should give themselves a pat on the back for that, because we are leading by example. However, the thanks really go to the people of Scotland, as Nanette Milne said.
I am delighted that we have had this debate. We have achieved a fantastic status, but there is much more work to be done.
Meeting closed at 17:44.