School kids join Scots aid activists in fair trade lobby

By staff writers
November 18, 2006

School kids join Scots aid activists in fair trade lobby

-18/11/06

Leading aid agency SCIAF (the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund) took its latest trade campaign to the Scottish parliament this week - when pupils from St Augustineís High School in Edinburgh joined SCIAF supporters in presenting a giant map of signatures to members of the Scottish Executiveís Cross-Party Group on Fair Trade.

The Group includes Patricia Ferguson MSP, Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport; Dennis Canavan MSP; Mark Ballard MSP and Murdo Fraser MSP. Over a thousand Scots have already signed up, calling on First Minister Jack McConnell to take practical steps to honour his commitment to make Scotland a Fair Trade nation.

Chris Hegarty, SCIAF Advocacy Manager, declared: ìThe giant map of signatures illustrates how many people across Scotland are passionate about this campaign. Last year quarter of a million Scots came to Edinburgh to call for trade justice. Weíre returning today to remind our MSPs that itís time for action not words. ì

Earlier this year, first minister Jack McConnell stated his intention that Scotland should become a Fair Trade Nation. Fair trade products are a lifeline for many in developing countries, guaranteeing them decent wages and fair prices. In Scotland, the Executive has a procurement budget of around £8 billion per year which it spends on goods and products such as work clothes, food and equipment.

St Augustineís school is already committed to Fairtrade, as pupil Gillian McCaul explains: ìOur school tries to bring in as many Fairtrade products as possible from the canteen to the staff room.î

Another supporter stressed the relevance of the campaign for Scots, explaining: ìPeople in Scotland eat and drink goods from overseas so itís important we make sure the producers are treated well. They deserve a fair price and Fairtrade ensures that happens.î

SCIAF's Chris Hegarty continued: ìIf the Scottish Executive applied fair trade principles to a mere 0.5 per cent of its procurement budget, it would more than double the size of the fair trade market in this country. SCIAF supporters want the Executive to commit to making this change by the end of 2007.

He went on: ìThe Executive should also inform all local authorities, by the end of this year, that under EU law they have the right to buy fair trade goods. These two steps would represent real progress in making Scotland a Fair Trade Nation and, more importantly, would help to lift people from poverty overseas.î

SCIAF are urging supporters of fair trade to send a personal message by post or email to Jack McConnell.

School kids join Scots aid activists in fair trade lobby

-18/11/06

Leading aid agency SCIAF (the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund) took its latest trade campaign to the Scottish parliament this week - when pupils from St Augustineís High School in Edinburgh joined SCIAF supporters in presenting a giant map of signatures to members of the Scottish Executiveís Cross-Party Group on Fair Trade.

The Group includes Patricia Ferguson MSP, Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport; Dennis Canavan MSP; Mark Ballard MSP and Murdo Fraser MSP. Over a thousand Scots have already signed up, calling on First Minister Jack McConnell to take practical steps to honour his commitment to make Scotland a Fair Trade nation.

Chris Hegarty, SCIAF Advocacy Manager, declared: ìThe giant map of signatures illustrates how many people across Scotland are passionate about this campaign. Last year quarter of a million Scots came to Edinburgh to call for trade justice. Weíre returning today to remind our MSPs that itís time for action not words. ì

Earlier this year, first minister Jack McConnell stated his intention that Scotland should become a Fair Trade Nation. Fair trade products are a lifeline for many in developing countries, guaranteeing them decent wages and fair prices. In Scotland, the Executive has a procurement budget of around £8 billion per year which it spends on goods and products such as work clothes, food and equipment.

St Augustineís school is already committed to Fairtrade, as pupil Gillian McCaul explains: ìOur school tries to bring in as many Fairtrade products as possible from the canteen to the staff room.î

Another supporter stressed the relevance of the campaign for Scots, explaining: ìPeople in Scotland eat and drink goods from overseas so itís important we make sure the producers are treated well. They deserve a fair price and Fairtrade ensures that happens.î

SCIAF's Chris Hegarty continued: ìIf the Scottish Executive applied fair trade principles to a mere 0.5 per cent of its procurement budget, it would more than double the size of the fair trade market in this country. SCIAF supporters want the Executive to commit to making this change by the end of 2007.

He went on: ìThe Executive should also inform all local authorities, by the end of this year, that under EU law they have the right to buy fair trade goods. These two steps would represent real progress in making Scotland a Fair Trade Nation and, more importantly, would help to lift people from poverty overseas.î

SCIAF are urging supporters of fair trade to send a personal message by post or email to Jack McConnell.

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.