Wales celebrates anniversary of being declared a Fair Trade Nation

Fair Trade Wales, with the support of community groups, are marking the anniversary of when Wales’ became a Fair Trade Nation. 

On the 6th of June 2008, Wales became the world’s first Fair Trade Nation. Today, Fair Trade Wales, the organisation representing the Fair Trade movement in Wales, alongside its community groups will be marking the anniversary. However, with the spectre of COVID-19 overshadowing this year’s celebrations, tea-parties and chocolate cakes, volunteers across the country have joined together to make an online video.

Wales became the world’s first Fair Trade Nation in 2008, a huge achievement that only took place because of the many volunteers and community groups across the country that raised awareness and campaigned for it. The anniversary coincides with Volunteers Week, and the video highlights that the most important people in the Fair Trade movement are those volunteering in their local communities.

The ethical products and services sector in the UK has grown by more than £40bn since 2008, with households now spending an average of £1,263 per year on ethical goods and 82% of UK consumers care about Fairtrade. Alongside the minimum price that covers costs of production, producers also receive a Fairtrade Premium, an additional sum of money that workers and farmers use collectively to improve their social, economic and environmental conditions. In 2018, almost €34 million in Fairtrade Premium was generated by the UK market for Fairtrade producers.

The Fair Trade movement has been responding to the Covid-19 crisis. Banana producers in Ecuador are investing their premium to buy vital medical equipment, coffee farmers in Peru are providing food security to people remaining at home, and Fair Trade sports ball producers are now making more than 10,000 face masks for their local communities, for example. Two new funds have been announced by the global Fair Trade movement to help support Fairtrade producers with immediate needs and also towards their resilience to keep going as businesses in the future.

Eluned Morgan MS, Minister for International Relations and Welsh Language, said:

“We are proud that Wales is the world’s first Fair Trade Nation. Wales is full of people that give time and energy to building a better, fairer world for future generations and showcasing this to the world is an important part of our international strategy.

We are committed to building our reputation as a globally responsible nation. In March, we launched the Coffee 2020 Climate Change Partnership, which will support over 3,000 Fair Trade coffee farmers in Uganda, and our Wales and Africa programme continues to provide small grants to Fair Trade groups across Wales to build partnerships with producers in Africa.”

Aileen Burmeister, National Coordinator for Fair Trade Wales said:

“Now more than ever, we can see the positive impact of Fair Trade and we want to thank all the volunteers across Wales who continue to raise awareness about Fair Trade.

“Fair Trade producers are being impacted by Covid-19 restrictions, and we all know that farmers and workers globally are facing huge levels of uncertainty about their future. Global stock markets are falling, meaning that farmers and workers are receiving far less for their produce. It is in these times that we can really see how important the Fairtrade minimum price is.

“We can all do our part by trying to buy Fairtrade products where we can, sharing Fair Trade stories, and getting involved with local Fair Trade activities. There are over 30 active Fair Trade groups across Wales, who work hard raising awareness, organising events, giving talks and of course enjoying Fairtrade cake and a cuppa. These activities make a difference to the 1.7 million Fairtrade farmers and workers across the world.”

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