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    10 March, 2008

    Fairtrade Fortnight

    Arguably another legacy of Robert Owen is Fairtrade Fortnight (25 February to 9 March 2008), supported by the Co-operative Movement amongst others. Along with Sustainability Minister Jane Davidson I attended a Fairtrade breakfast at the Bethlehem Welsh Presbyterian Church in Treorchy on Saturday 1 March 2008, where the first anniversary of Rhondda Cynon Taf becoming a Fairtrade county was celebrated. We met Martha Musonza-Holman, originally from Zimbabwe but now living in Wales, who sells Fair Trade crafts produced in Zimbabwe. She spoke passionately about the benefits of Fairtrade.

    Last week Jane reminded the Assembly that two years ago the Welsh Assembly Government started supporting the campaign to make Wales the world’s first Fair Trade Country, which is led by the Wales Fair Trade Forum. Since then we have seen enormous progress. Over 1,000 volunteers across Wales have also been working hard to support the campaign. A panel of international fair trade sector representatives will be meeting in April 2008 to assess whether Wales has achieved Fair Trade Country status.

    Two years ago only 8 local authorities in Wales had Fairtrade status or were actively seeking it. Now all 22 local authorities in Wales have active Fairtrade groups.

    Two years ago only 11 towns had active Fairtrade groups, encouraging local shops and cafes to stock Fairtrade products and raising awareness of Fairtrade in the local community. Now 57 towns have active groups.

    Two years ago there were no Fairtrade schools in Wales and only a handful trying to become Fairtrade. Now 247 schools across Wales have registered to become Fairtrade schools – which is over half of all the schools that have registered in the whole of the UK.

    Just 1 year ago a survey showed that only 44% of people in Wales recognised the Fairtrade mark. By November last year that figure had risen to 61%.

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    Promoted by Leighton Andrews AM, National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff CF99 1NA.

    Author's editorial policy: This blog does not publish anonymous comments, unless they are really witty and I like them. If you have something to say, then have the courage of your convictions and use your name or an identifiable alias. Even then I reserve the right not to publish comments that are malicious, defamatory, stupid, pointlessly cynical or boring. Any of the statements or comments made above should be regarded as personal and not necessarily those of the National Assembly for Wales, any constituent part or connected body.