Face up to the facts of buying fair products

Linlithgow Fairtrade group gain new certification (archive image)
Linlithgow Fairtrade group gain new certification (archive image)

Linlithgow is celebrating its 10th anniversary as a Fairtrade Town with a birthday party in the Star and Garter bistro today (Friday).

Fairtrade group members and friends of the Linlithgow Fairtrade partnership will enjoy a special birthday cake in the latest establishment in town to support Fairtrade.

When it was awarded Fairtrade Town status on January28, 2004, Linlithgow was only the fourth place in Scotland to achieve the accolade.

Now there are 62 Fairtrade towns and villages in Scotland and a further 36 areas are Fairtrade zones, counties or cities.

And on February 25 last year, Scotland became a Fairtrade nation – only the second country in the world to do so.

So now Linlithgow folk are Fairtrade at all levels – schools and churches, the town itself, the West Lothian zone and Scotland as a whole are all actively supporting and promoting Fairtrade.

A lot has changed in the past 10 years. In 2004 there were 180 Fairtrade products and, while several of the supermarkets stocked some Fairtrade items, they were generally hard-to-get and regarded as ‘‘specialist’’.

Ten years on, over 4500 products are Fairtrade certified and the range is enormous – fresh flowers, fruit, clothing, jewellery, beers and wines, soft drinks, sportswear and footballs, as well as tea, coffee and sugar !

All the town’s supermarkets and many shops sell Fairtrade products and its tea and coffee is served in 12 of the town’s cafes.

In the past two years, some of the big food manufacturers – including Cadbury’s and Nestlé – have switched to Fairtrade in some ranges.

Products are more abundant now – so keep an eye out for the logo.

But 10 years’ progress is not enough and the campaign to bring fairness and justice to trading practices goes on.

To mark Fairtrade Fortnight 2014, the Linlithgow Fairtrade Partnership is holding a Fair Fashion show at Linlithgow Academy on Friday, February 28.

Starting at 7pm, the event will feature some of the latest Fairtrade clothing and accessories available locally. It will also highlight the ‘‘clean clothes’’ campaign, which presses organisations working in the garments industry to provide fair pay and working conditions for their staff in places like Bangladesh.