Orkney continues to be a Fairtrade Zone thanks to the work of the Orkney Fair Trade Group. It was able to demonstrate to the Fairtrade Foundation a high level of commitment and progress, and a robust action plan for the future. The Group owes its success not only to its own hard work in promoting Fair Trade Goods but to the commitment from local businesses, festivals, schools, churches and community groups and Orkney Islands Council in supporting the initiative.
Fairtrade sets standards for companies, farmers and workers which means when you buy goods with the Fairtrade logo you can be assured that they have been produced fairly.
“For farmers and workers the standards include protection of workers’ rights and the environment, for companies they include the payment of the Fairtrade Minimum Price and an additional Fairtrade Premium to invest in business or community projects of the community’s choice.” (Fairtrade Foundation)
The Orkney Group, chaired by Gill Smee, was particularly commended for the engagement of Orkney Islands Council and its joint initiatives with the group, including last year’s Fairtrade Fortnight Members’ Breakfast and this year’s cathedral lighting and promotional mugs sales.
Fairtrade supports and empowers small scale farmers and workers by ensuring that they get minimum commitments on things like pricing. Westray Chutney is accredited as a Fairtrade product.
The Fairtrade Minimum Price supports many farmers growing products such as cocoa, coffee and bananas so that they become more income-secure and less vulnerable to poverty.
The Fairtrade Premium provides additional income to support improved farming techniques, co-operatives and collective assets. It also invests in improving health services and education for both adults and children.
Adam Gardner, Communities Campaigns Manager at the Fairtrade Foundation, said:
“We’re very pleased that Orkney has renewed its Fairtrade status and laid out clear exciting goals to take Fairtrade further.”
“Thanks to the ongoing support of the public and campaigners, an increasing number of farmers in developing countries are now selling their products on Fairtrade terms, bringing them a stable income, and the chance to trade their way out of poverty.”
The Fairtrade effort in Orkney is aimed at encouraging people to ‘buy fair and buy local’ – food produced in the county and fairly traded goods from overseas.
Orkney Islands Council Convenor, Cllr. Harvey Johnston, said:
“We’re very proud of all that has been enjoyed and achieved over the past two years and the reputation Orkney has built up for showcasing and promoting international Fairtrade alongside our own very high quality local goods. This is a place where we know and care where all our food comes from and how it’s produced and sold, and believe in supporting farming communities and small businesses at home and abroad.”
Gill Smee chair of the Orkney group thanked the Council for its support, and all the many people who’ve participated in different ways in the campaign for their help and encouragement.
Orkney Fair Trade Group and Orkney Islands Council celebrate the arrival of the new certificate of Fairtrade Zone status for Orkney