World Fair Trade Day
As a country not only have we led the way by becoming the first Fair Trade nation, the Well-being of Future Generations Act makes us the first nation to legislate and place the sustainable development principle at the heart of decision-making to improve our economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being
‘Be an Agent for Change‘ the theme for this year’s World Fair Trade Day, Saturday, 13th May, in many ways reflects the aspirations of the Act, and encourages us all to make changes to the way we work and live.
To make sure we are all working towards a shared purpose, the Act puts in place seven well-being goals, one of these being a globally responsible Wales. This means we have to consider the impact of our actions at a global level, whether that’s our contribution to preventing climate change which has the biggest impact on the poorest people in other parts of the world, whether that’s how public services buy products which are going to support rather than destroy the income opportunities for producers elsewhere or whether that’s thinking about the positive contribution we can make to developing countries by sharing some of our skills, our workforce and our equipment.
Across Wales there are already some inspirational examples of local community groups and public bodies making changes that are ethical and sustainable. PONT a long running multi-disciplinary programme which works to help build skills in Mbale, Uganda has sent hundreds of doctors, teachers and others to help skill up communities in projects such as maintaining good health, providing education and tree-planting. Life for African Mothers a tiny charity run by Angie Gorman is taking on the dire maternal mortality rates in Sierra Leone, Chad and Liberia, providing training to midwives and coordinating the supply of life-saving drugs which keep mums and babies alive.
And as well as supporting this type of work our health boards, councils and government are building on our Fairtrade commitments. Recently, Ysbyty Cwm Rhondda in Llwynypia committed to serving Fair Trade refreshments at Bar Barista, Cathays High School switched its entire uniform to FairTrade cotton and the National Assembly for Wales and Welsh Government procurement policy now support and promote FairTrade products across all public sector contracts.
Imagine the long-lasting, positive changes that could benefit families, communities and countries here in Wales and abroad if all of our 44 public bodies changed their procurement policies by supporting local and Fair Trade produce.
In an increasingly connected world where we can access products and skills to interact socially across the globe, it is more important than ever that community sectors, schools, churches and our public bodies are thinking about what they can do to support Fair Trade and also to support our future generations to understand the value of their role as global citizens as well as global consumers.