Jo Swinson Champions Fairtrade Schools in East Dunbartonshire

Schools across East Dunbartonshire have been holding special activities to mark Fairtrade fortnight

Jo Swinson has today urged all local schools to sign up to the Fairtrade Schools scheme, during a visit to St Helen’s Primary in Bishopbriggs.

As part of Fairtrade Fortnight, which runs from 25 February to 9 March, Jo has written to schools in the constituency to urge them to begin the process to become a ‘Fairtrade School’. A number of schools in East Dunbartonshire are in the process of applying for Fairtrade school status, with Westerton and Milngavie Primaries having already been accredited.

Jo gave a presentation to 60 Primary 7 pupils from St Helen’s Primary in Bishopbriggs today about how Fairtrade helps farmers in developing countries.

Commenting, she said:

“The growth in Fairtrade initiatives in East Dunbartonshire is very impressive and the efforts to improve awareness in schools are particularly important.

“Despite huge increases in the sale of Fairtrade products in the UK, total sales in 2003 represented only 0.17% of total spending on food and drink. This highlights that there is so much more to be done and our local schools are a vital way to show all local people that we can make a difference.

“The Fairtrade Foundation has set an ambitious target for schools to participate in their scheme and I hope every school in East Dunbartonshire will lead the way and embrace this project.”

Fairtrade hopes to have a total of 2,000 primary and 500 secondary schools fully certified as ‘Fairtrade Schools’ by 2009. So far, 1,000 schools in the UK have registered with the scheme and Jo Swinson hopes to encourage schools in East Dunbartonshire to sign up during Fairtrade Fortnight.

Schools that want to apply for Fairtrade School status must first register their interest with the Fairtrade Foundation. As part of this registration they agree to work towards five criteria, including involving pupils in the schools fair-trade plan. After one year, the school is invited to apply for Fairtrade status with evidence of implementation of the five criteria.

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