Shire renews its commitment to Fairtrade

Aberdeenshire Council has moved to increase the availability of Fairtrade products to employees, school pupils and visitors to its offices.

The Sustainability Sub-Committee recently approved a new resolution on Fairtrade for the council, fomalising its commitment to the principle of a fair deal for producers.

Councillors agreed the authority will give further support for the promotion of Fairtrade and widen the availability of products, including those in vending machines.

At a recent meeting, committee members were updated on Fairtrade measures in the area, including the progress achieved by towns seeking to gain Fairtrade status. A number of local towns have already achieved this – Banchory is the latest, Peterhead is renewing its status, and Stonehaven is applying to the Fairtrade Foundation for the first time. Alford also has Fairtrade status, as do a number of local schools.

Aberdeenshire became the 17th Fairtrade Zone in Scotland in January 2013, contributing towards the country becoming a Fairtrade nation.

An application is currently being made to renew the status, and part of this requires commitment from the council to lead the development of Fairtrade in the community.

To support this, members of the sub-committee approved a new resolution which means the council supports Fairtrade as an organisation.

They also agreed further support should be provided by promoting Fairtrade and the availability of products through the council’s catering contract.

The council’s caterer, Sodexo, will be asked to provide a selection of Fairtrade goods in vending machines at Council establishments and to actively promote the products.

Chair, Cllr Isobel Davidson said: “As one of the area’s major employers and a large education authority, a significant amount is spent by employees, pupils and the organisation on food and drink – it’s important we use this position to try to secure a good deal for those who are less well off than us.

“Our catering contract as an organisation is substantial and we believe that by making small changes we can help overseas producers and farmers get a fair return on their hard work. We will see Fairtrade products served in staff canteens, at meetings, in schools and in our offices.”