Traidcraft and Fair Trade — [Mr Philip Hollobone in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:26 am on 18th December 2018.

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Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt Minister of State (Department for International Development) (Joint with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office), Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development) 10:26 am, 18th December 2018

I will indeed. Such reporting has increased the sense of responsibility not only of companies, but of consumers who ask the right questions and ensure that those delivering products recognise the need to respond to their concerns. Those reporting changes were fundamental.

The influence of Traidcraft and Fairtrade is felt not just in hundreds of churches and community centres across the country where their products are a mainstay, or in the growth of the wider fair trade market, but across millions of consumer decisions in the UK that are made with sustainability in mind. Jim Shannon spoke about values, and it is no surprise to those of us who have had contact with him to learn where his values come from. I cannot think of a better fit between an individual Member talking about his upbringing and the values he incorporates into his life, and what he does constantly in this House through his remarks and determination to secure the best of human rights, tolerance and fairness. It is a great mix, and I am not surprised at his connection with Fairtrade.

As the hon. Member for Blaydon said, Traidcraft has reached a crossroads in its journey, and with so many ways for consumers to express their values, it is rightly looking to explore new ways to improve the lives of poor people across the world. We wish Traidcraft well. The hon. Lady concluded her remarks by speaking of the ray of hope mentioned by the worker who also spoke of a new challenge, and undoubtedly that challenge will be faced with the same degree of determination that was possessed by those who set off on this course in the first place. I therefore hope we can have confidence for Traidcraft in future.

Wherever this challenge leads the organisation, it is important that the rest of us continue to strive for the principles that shine through its work—to ensure that trade is inclusive and sustainable, that any jobs created are quality ones, and that developing countries can truly grasp the opportunities of trade to reduce poverty and build a safer, healthier, and more prosperous world. In that, the work of the Department for International Development, alongside the Department for International Trade, is key, particularly at this critical moment in our history. DFID initiatives, such as the responsible, accountable and transparent enterprise programme—I will say more about that later in my remarks—work to promote responsible and sustainable business standards, and to identify and tackle modern slavery and child labour in global supply chains. With more than 40 million men, women and children trapped in modern slavery around the world, that is vital work. We must continue to tackle permissive environments that enable the criminality of modern slavery to thrive, which includes supporting businesses to clean up supply chains in key sectors where slavery persists.

Let me turn to some of the questions raised during the debate. Preet Kaur Gill and other colleagues spoke about the impact on this issue of our leaving the EU. As we leave the EU, the UK has a unique opportunity to shape our trade and development work for the benefit of developing countries, and I am proud of the work taking place across the whole of Government to ensure that development and global prosperity are at the heart of future UK trade .