06 September 2023

Aberdeenshire Council renews support for Fairtrade

Aberdeenshire Council has renewed its commitment to Fairtrade for the region after the authority’s Sustainability Committee approved the application for Fairtrade status on Wednesday 30 August.

The application was sent to the Fairtrade Foundation for approval, which was awarded on Friday 1 September and continues Aberdeenshire’s Fairtrade status for the next three years.

Fairtrade is a way to ensure that farmers and producers get fair prices for their products and raw materials. That, in turn, allows them to improve their living standards, invest in their communities and businesses, protect our shared environment, and improve workers’ rights and working conditions.

Back in 2013, Aberdeenshire became the 17th Fairtrade Zone, a contribution that supported Scotland in becoming a Fairtrade nation.

Even throughout the challenges of the pandemic, great work has been done to help promote Fairtrade across the region in the past three years.

The Aberdeenshire Fairtrade Steering Group promotes Fairtrade in their community areas. It is chaired by an Aberdeenshire Council officer and comprised of dedicated volunteers from across groups and across the region to share knowledge, ideas, opportunities, and challenges.

The group has organised online events, held stalls in their community, created promotional material, paid membership to—and worked closely with—the Scottish Fair Trade Forum and other fair trade groups and supported the development of a Fairtrade e-learning module for the public sector.

Reflecting on the meeting, Sustainability Committee Chair Councillor Sarah Dickinson said: “There is a lot of work that goes into the activity behind this application and all the events that really drive engagement with Fairtrade and support for it. My thanks go out to all those involved for helping to promote something that is improving the lives of farmers and workers locally and nationally.”

Vice Chair Councillor Jim Gifford said: “I would encourage everyone to look out for the Fairtrade mark on your next shopping trip. It is one of the most widely recognised ethical marks in the world and certifies that a product meets Fairtrade economic, social, and environmental standards.”

Looking ahead, Fairtrade town trails are being discussed by the group to share information about area links to Fairtrade and guide people to what is on offer locally through the use of QR codes.

Other plans include building even stronger collaborative relationships with organisations such as the Co-op and Aberdeen City group and further engaging with primary, secondary, and higher education establishments, businesses, and places of worship about Fairtrade.

The group is also looking at developing area-based case studies to show local successes and ideas that include locally-grown vegetable meal kits for selling in local stores as another way to engage communities.