World Trade Day 2012

World Fair Trade Day will be celebrated on 12 May 2012 and various events have been organised in over seventy countries.

2012 is set to be an important and exciting year for Scotland as we are very close to becoming one of the first countries in the world to achieve ‘Fair Trade Nation’ status.  The Scottish Fair Trade Forum have been campaigning tirelessly, along with a number of leading organisations across Scotland, to achieve this result and it is fantastic news that the goal is almost in sight.

Throughout Edinburgh and Scotland, 12 May will be marked with a variety of events, fun-packed competitions and activities to help raise awareness and encourage more communities to become fair trade friendly. 

Edinburgh University People and Planet Society have organised a free-to-enter football tournament on the Meadows, offering energetic and enthusiastic participants the chance to win a number of prizes as well as providing fair trade snacks for all. 

For budding photographers and artists, the Scottish Fair Trade Forum have launched a national snapshot photo competition. Exciting prizes will be awarded to the most creative and interesting pictures.   

I would also highly recommend visiting Edinburgh’s esteemed One World Shop, currently the largest fair trade outlet in Scotland, which has a long standing track record of promoting the fair trade message.  The One World Shop has been in operation since the early 1980’s and has committed itself to sourcing and selling the best fair trade products from across the world. 

I am a strong supporter of fair trade because it helps to improve the lives of workers in the developing world, ensuring that prices for goods are set above the cost of production which helps workers to make enough money to provide for their family.  This not only increases wages, but encourages growth in important social sectors such as health programmes, educational initiatives and improving the local environment. 

The fair trade sector is worth over £1.3bn – testament to the fact that more people are becoming more conscious of the fair trade movement and the efforts that organisations such as the Scottish Fair Trade Forum have put into raising awareness of it. 

It is heartening to see a range of retailers, such as local Scotmid stores, selling products with the fair trade symbol and the growth of such products not just across the retail sector but across society has been remarkable.  Over the last few years I’ve been impressed with the churches, schools and local companies promoting awareness of fair trade principles.

To mark World Fair Trade Day I lodged a parliamentary motion and welcome the cross party support it has already gathered.

I wholeheartedly hope that 2012 is the year that Scotland becomes one of the first Fair Trade Nations.  It’s a practical way to support communities by giving them the power to negotiate a fair price for their products – and the chocolate’s great too!