Proud to be a Fair Trade Nation: Celebrating Wales’ 15 years as Fair Trade Nation

June 27, 2023
Image of an event in 2019 at the Senedd. It shows Love Zimbabwe band playing on a stage in front of a crowd .
18.10.19 Fair Trade conference event at The Senedd Picture by Nick Treharne:

Time to celebrate being a Fair Trade Nation

On 11 July 2023 we are hosting a celebration event at the Senedd to mark Wales’ 15th year as a Fair Trade Nation! In 2008, Wales made history by becoming the world’s first Fair Trade Nation after a two year campaign led by the Wales Fair Trade Forum which established Wales as a country committed to global responsibility. 

The journey towards becoming a Fair Trade Nation began in 2003, when the Welsh Government launched a campaign to promote the use of Fairtrade products in Wales. This campaign was supported by a range of organisations, including the Wales Cooperative Centre, Oxfam Cymru, and the Welsh Centre for International Affairs.

Over the next few years, the campaign gained momentum, and more and more businesses, schools, and communities began to support Fairtrade.

In 2007, the Welsh Government passed the Fair Trade Nation Wales Measure, which set out the government’s commitment to promoting Fair Trade practices and supporting Fairtrade producers. This was a significant milestone on the road to becoming a Fair Trade Nation.

Being a Fair Trade Nation means being dynamic, the guidelines are relevant and specific to Wales, centering around values of community engagement and awareness, political engagement and support, availability and purchasing of Fair Trade, and improved trading relationships. 

Key Milestones

Fair Trade Wales was founded in 2009 to ‘support, grow and promote the Fair Trade movement in Wales’. Since then, we have campaigned for the rights of farmers and producers in low and middle income countries who are paid unfairly for the work they do and disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change. Here at Fair Trade Wales, we hope to be a catalyst for the Welsh Fair Trade movement, helping to envision the criteria of being a Fair Trade Nation and striving to be supportive and empowering in everything we do and the collaboration we have with grassroots groups.  

Fair Trade Ways were introduced to Wales in 2011. They create walking links between Fairtrade towns, encouraging people to visit places supporting Fair Trade, and giving campaigners a chance to promote Fair Trade. 

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.

In 2020, Wales joined the Trade Justice Movement showing its commitment to achieving trade justice and securing sustainable outcomes for both people and the environment.

We worked closely with the Senedd’s Social Justice and Equality Committee to strengthen the Bill on public procurement that would promote fair work in Wales. The outcome of our discussions was for the Welsh Government to provide stronger guidance for public bodies on globally responsible procurement.

Each year we enjoy celebrating Fairtrade Fortnight. For Fairtrade Fortnight 2023, the theme was food which we were able to celebrate at our flagship event: a Fairtrade vegan supper hosted in partnership with Oasis Cardiff.

We are excited to see what the future holds for Fair Trade in Wales and for the positive change we hope to be a part of in the coming years, with the help and continued support and hard work of our community groups and campaginers.

15 year celebration event 

The 15 year celebration event will be held at the Senedd, Cardiff where you’ll meet Fair Trade supporters from around Wales, experience live performances and interactive stalls You will also hear speeches from Fair Trade Wales and the Welsh Government.

Speakers include: Aileen Burmeister, Fair Trade Wales and Jane Hutt MS, Welsh Government Minister for Social Justice

If you would like to get involved:

The event starts at 11am, so arrive with enough time to get through the airport style security at the Senedd. The event will finish at 2pm, which leaves plenty of time for lunch, networking and visiting the interactive stalls.

Wales’ achievement as the world’s first Fair Trade Nation serves as an inspiration to other countries and organisations who are working towards creating a more just and sustainable world for all.  We are so excited to celebrate with you at the Senedd on 11 July, to help set a global precedent, and to continue to support Fair Trade practice in Wales.