Fair's Fair


Do you want the good or the rather less good news on the national Fair Trade (FT) scene? The Fair Trade logo is now well recognised and continues to grow in importance, especially in these days of economic uncertainty. Producers are benefiting.

The National Picture

Take tea, for example. By the time you are reading this, Waitrose will have completed the conversion of all its own brand teas to Fair Trade. The Coop, whose tea has been FT since 2008, has amongst other things, funded the construction of a new community centre with tea farming communities in Kenya. However, you must have heard In the news that some supermarkets are beginning to withdraw from selling guaranteed justly-traded goods and are replacing them with their own brand products purchased under a “fairly traded” label. This leaves producers more vulnerable because they are no longer in control over the price received. The supermarket decides what’s fair. We simply have to assume they will offer an honourable amount. Over 220,000 tea producers globally stand to be affected and have
expressed their dismay. The Fair trade Foundation has decided not to partner this new scheme.

The Local Scene

Here in Edinburgh, our Fair Trade city, we are fortunate in having readily available FT goods both in the general stores and in specialist shops like the One World shop (shortly moving back to the crypt of St John’s Church, Princes St) and the Hadeel shop on George St, an Aladdin’s cave of exquisite Palestinian craftwork. We continue to sell a variety of products on our FT stall in the Kirk Hall every second Sunday of the month from 11 am. This year we have even made a slight profit, mainly due to the generosity of shoppers who often ‘round up’ the price. This enables us to buy FT coffee, tea, sugar etc for use on Kirk premises and reminds Hall users of our commitment to fair prices for farmers and producers.

Event Day for your Diary

Last February we had a really successful FT coffee/soup morning run by the Sunday Club. The staff and children worked very hard. As well as creating a happy and informative morning, they were able to give donations to the Fair Trade Foundation and our own FT fund. They even got their pictures on the national website! On 4 February 2018 we will run a similar event to flag up Fair Trade Fortnight so do please note the date. There will be friendship, information, shopping and chat. A lot of hard working farmers and producers are depending on your continuing support for justice and fairness in trade. Keep looking for the logo as you shop.

Judy Arrowsmith

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