14 years later… What’s next for the world’s first Fair Trade nation?

June 6, 2022

In 2008, Wales made history by becoming the world’s first Fair Trade nation. The two year campaign led by the Wales Fair Trade Forum helped to recognise Wales as a globally responsible nation. 14 years on, Fair Trade Wales continues to support producers, through supporting, growing and promoting the Fairtrade movement here in Wales. 

Key highlights of recent years

In 2019, we had the pleasure of hosting the 13th International Fair Trade Towns Conference (IFTTC) in Cardiff. The conference brought together producers, trade justice activists, volunteers, grassroot campaigners, schoolchildren, council representatives, and national organisations. The IFTTC involved discussions on climate change, refugees, living income and trade justice. Being the first Fair Trade nation and having an extensive network of activists in more than 30 active Fairtrade towns, this event helped demonstrate our shared commitment to a fairer world. 

Fairtrade Fortnight 2021 followed the important theme of climate justice. The climate crisis is an immediate and ever-increasing threat and those in climate vulnerable countries are already seeing its impacts from droughts and crop disease to floods, heatwaves and shrinking harvests.

Fair Trade Wales hosted a Climate Change Coffee Morning with Jenipher Wettaka Sambazi, a coffee producer from Uganda and Jenipher’s Coffi. People joined from Wales and beyond and we found out more about Jenipher’s life, how climate change is affecting her livelihood and how Fairtrade supports her. 

Sarah Philpott adapted her Chocolate and Tahini cake into a special Fairtrade Fortnight cake recipe using fairtrade ingredients and we made a recipe video showing you exactly how to make it. We also supported Swansea Fair Trade Forum and the Environment Centre with their panel event, ‘Climate Justice for a Fairer World’ featuring some amazing speakers across the sector including Jane Davidson, Paul Allen, Shenona Mitra, Robin Roth and Allan Saidi.

For International Coffee Day 2021, we hosted an event: Coffee, Climate & the Consumer – where amongst others, we heard from Lazarous Bwambale, a Fairtrade farmer from Uganda. Lazarous powerfully reminded us of the implications of climate change for those on the frontline. He stated that it is the responsibility of humans everywhere to change our behaviour to support farmers and workers fighting the effects of climate change. Buying Fairtrade encourages ethical and sustainable farming practices.

The theme for Fairtrade fortnight 2022 was climate justice, and we continued to talk about the importance of climate justice for farmers and workers in the communities where Fairtrade works. Our event, ‘Fair Fashion? A conversation on fashion, race, and climate justice’, provided an intersectional approach to understanding the complex challenges that farmers and workers in climate-vulnerable countries face, as well as why Fair Trade is so important in ensuring producers receive a fair living wage and fair practice in supply chains.

We also partnered with four Fairtrade shops in Wales and visited two of them. Building back after the pandemic through shopping locally and impacting globally was the message. However, many other communities also hosted their own events. Read what happened near you

Just after Fairtrade Fortnight, for Fashion Revolution Week we interviewed a Welsh textile designer and climate justice activist, Ophelia Dos Santos. Catch up on our conversation

Some more hope for the future!

Fair Trade Wales became a member of the UK trade justice movement which calls for trade justice in the UK’s trade deals by promoting just trade rules and regulations, that put people and our planet before profit.  

This year we launched Trade Justice Wales – a 12 month pilot project in partnership between Fair Trade Wales and the Wales Governance Council / WCVA Brexit Forum, and is funded by a Cardiff University Innovation for All award. Trade Justice Wales is a 12 month pilot to create a network of organisations and academics with an interest in different Trade Justice areas. Stakeholders will work together across a range of ethical areas to ensure that the UK’s new trade policy and trade agreements support Welsh ambitions for a green and just recovery in line with Well-being of Future Generations goals.

Lastly we would like to say a huge happy anniversary to Wales as a Fair Trade Nation!