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Could all nations be fair trade like Wales?

Smart Planet

Wales becomes the first Fair Trade Nation

This month Wales announced that it had become the world’s first fair trade nation. So what’s next — a fair trade United Kingdom, a fair trade Europe, or even a fair trade world?

For Wales to become a fair trade nation, it set up criteria (and then met them) with the help of the Fairtrade Foundation and charities such as Oxfam and Christian Aid. This included doing things like having Fairtrade campaign groups in 55 per cent of towns, using and promoting Fairtrade products like coffee, tea and biscuits in the meetings and offices of the Welsh Assembly and promoting Fairtrade awareness in faith groups and schools around Wales.

To expand this achievement to a bigger country would be a challenge, but not impossible, according to Andy Wilson, fair trade development officer from the Wales Fair Trade Forum. “In Wales we had and still have more than 1,000 grass-roots activists pressuring shops and councils to stock Fairtrade products,” he says. “It’s also about the government getting involved and the Welsh Assembly has been very supportive, so whichever country wanted to follow our lead would need a lot of support.”

Fair trade success could be translated to a larger scale but perhaps the easiest way for a nation to achieve Fairtrade status is through its citizens changing their buying behaviour. “Once people see the Fairtrade Mark as a sign of quality rather than a brand itself, then buying products that are approved will become second nature,” explains Andy. “For example, the chocolate producers in Ghana have the capacity to make every chocolate bar Fairtrade certified if the demand is out there — consumers have the power to make that happen.”

Scotland is already on its way to becoming a fair trade nation and the Wales Fair Trade Forum — set up specifically to help Wales become a fair trade nation — has had calls from as far away as the Middle East expressing interest in following its lead. You never know, the whole world might some day copy Wales’ example.


  1. This is fascinating news, especially if it is to be credited that a Middle East nation has expressed interest. I wonder if representatives of Wales have indicated a willingness to promote this concept within applicable forums with other nations. Is there someone to contact who might provide information as to how they might promote this? What specific information exists about the process by which Scotland is proceeding? It would be good to have access to the criteria in addition to what is alluded in the above article by which Wales can claim that it is a fair trade nation.

  2. Fantastic news!! This article inspires me, a British transplant to continue to promote Fair Trade in the USA…which is a bit behind Europe i must admit. Keep up the good work and pressure to have fair trade goods available everywhere!!

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