Page last updated at 05:55 GMT, Friday, 6 June 2008 06:55 UK

Wales made fair trade 'pioneer'

Coffee beans
Fair trade goods include coffee, rugby balls and chocolate

Wales has been declared the world's first fair trade nation by campaigners, for the progress it has made increasing the availability of such goods.

A number of targets were set in 2006 by the Wales Fair Trade Forum (WFTF) in consultation with independent experts to reach the fair trade nation goal.

These included having fair trade groups in 55% of towns and every county working towards fair trade status.

First Minister Rhodri Morgan said the declaration was a "great honour".

The fair trade campaign seeks greater equity in international trade and offers better trading conditions and rights for marginalised producers and workers.

Fair trade guarantees set minimum price to farmers for their products, which covers the cost of sustainable production and adds a premium to be spent on social or economic projects.

Fair trade products include fruit and vegetables, footballs, chocolate and clothing.

There is still a long way to go before we can say everyone in Wales is committed to fair trade
Andy Wilson, Wales Fair Trade Forum

The campaign was launched by political leaders two years ago in a joint initiative with Scotland.

The campaign in Wales has seen the WFTF, which has received funding from the assembly government, encourage schools, businesses and other organisations to switch to fair trade products.

It also obtained a commitment from the assembly government to use fair trade goods.

More than 1,000 volunteers have helped to persuade 58 towns, 380 schools and groups in all 22 Welsh counties to commit to learning about fair trade and use fair trade products.

An independent panel of fair trade experts from Britain and Europe reviewed all of the evidence collated and congratulated Wales on its progress.

The WFTF is now planning to implement the second phase of its campaign which will focus on increasing buying and using fair trade products.


Andy Wilson of WFTF said it hoped the model pioneered by Wales would be adopted by other countries.

"Wales as far as the UK is concerned, is pioneering. But there is still a long way to go before we can say everyone in Wales is committed to fair trade," he said.

"We hope the work that has been done in Wales will benefit producers in the third world and in turn we will benefit from the stronger relationships we build with the developing world."

Up to 30 fair trade producers from across the globe will meet Sustainability Minister Jane Davidson, as well as activists and Welsh suppliers, in a summit in Newport later.

Mr Morgan said Wales' progress in adopting fair trade showed "how a small country like ours can make a difference".

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How fair is Fairtrade?
09 Mar 06 |  Business
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