Scotland's commitment to global fair trade needs ‘radical approach’ after sales decline

Scotland's commitment to global fair trade  has been called into question after recent years saw a "dramatic decline" in sales and concerns the Government is not taking it seriously enough.

The Fair Trade foundation celebrated its 25th anniversary last year

Campaigners have hit out at the approach to "ethical trading" in public procurement contracts with calls for a a revived "radical approach" to tackling inequality through trade.

Fair trade aims to ensure that producers in poorer nations get a fair price for goods like cocoa and coffee allowing them to make a sustainable living.

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But there needs to be more visibility and access to fair trade products in Scottish shops, according to the report entitled What future for Fair Trade in Scotland?

Almost £68 million of fair trade products were sold in Scotland in 2019, but fair trade grocery product sales have "declined dramatically" since a number of major brands withdrew from kitemark specification licensing, the reports states.

It adds: "Despite being reassessed as a Fair Trade Nation in 2017, there was a tangible sense of frustration expressed by Scottish Fair Trade campaigners, Fair Trade Organisations and partner organisations through the review’s primary research.

"It was felt that at Scottish Parliament and Government levels there was little developmental commitment to changing the way trade works, how businesses operate or in applying fair and ethical trading to the way in which public services procure goods."

The International Fair Trade Charter (2018) describes Fair Trade as a movement which ‘works to transform trade in order to achieve justice, equity and sustainability for people and planet.’

Scotland has a "long history" of campaigning for fair trade and the Scottish Government has ambitions for the country to be regarded as a "good global citizen."

Nicola Sturgeon's recent New year message also to help build a "fairer society" is inextricably linked to the approach to "fair and responsible" trading arrangements, the report adds.