Tuesday 16 February 2016
This Assembly often considers the international standards that Guernsey has chosen to meet. A measure of how successfully we incorporate those standards we choose to meet is that they become an integral part of our thinking and actions as a community.
Fairtrade has been an important part of Guernsey’s community for the last ten years. The Fairtrade Guernsey Steering Group was formed in 2005, and in March 2006 Guernsey was recognised as a Fairtrade island.
Today there are over 200 local businesses that are registered supporters of Fairtrade – meaning that we as a community have plenty of opportunities to shop in a sustainable and caring way.
The support for Fairtrade demonstrated by the Guernsey community and the Guernsey public was so notable that in 2007 – after less than two years as Fairtrade island – Fairtrade Guernsey accepted an outstanding achievement award.
The benefits of being a Fairtrade island are numerous. Local and visiting shoppers can help to improve the lives of the farmers and workers who produce the products that they buy. Too often farmers and producers are exploited by the low wages that they are paid, making a commitment to Fairtrade ensures that workers are paid a fair price for their goods. Fairtrade means that we can do our bit to promote and support an ethical supply chain.
In order to achieve Fairtrade status, the Fairtrade Foundation sets communities five targets. One of these was for the Assembly to approve a resolution that supported Fairtrade, making a formal commitment to the Fairtrade principles.
States departments were requested to take appropriate steps to support Fairtrade products in their purchasing policies.
The Education Department has gone beyond that, and is closely involved with the campaign to raise awareness of Fairtrade Guernsey. Since 2011 the current Education Department’s PSHCE Advisor has been a member of the Fairtrade Steering Group, enabling better communication between schools, the Department and the Fairtrade organisation. For the past seven years local schools have been participating in competitions and events organised by the Steering Group, and in 2012 over six hundred template designs were received for the ‘take a step’ competition.
I strongly support the continued excellent work of the Fairtrade Guernsey Steering Group, who do sterling work, and I am sure that Fairtrade fortnight running from 29 February to the 13 March in the island will be a success. Further to that I am sure that it will also mark the beginning of another decade of support for farmers and workers around the world.
Thank you Sir.