Pupils learn the basics of fair trade in Business School workshop

Youngsters at an Aberdeenshire primary school have been learning about the economic and societal benefits of fair trade with help from the University of Aberdeen Business School.

The primary 5 class at Fishermoss Primary School in Portlethen took part in an online workshop looking at the impact on farmers and other producers of everyday products like chocolate, fruit, sugar, coffee, honey and tea being produced and traded under the Fairtrade stamp.

The pupils discussed the concept of Fairtrade and the economic and environmental benefits it can bring to farmers and local communities, as well the role of consumers. They were then taught some of the basics of marketing before being set a practical challenge to prepare for a real Fairtrade event which will take place at the school later this year.

Pam Cumming, Schools Engagement Officer for the Business School, who led the workshop said: “Pupils learned that by buying products with the Fairtrade mark consumers can be sure that farmers and producers are getting fair prices for their products, have decent working conditions, can build stronger communities and have control over their futures. It also provides assurance that the producers and businesses have met internationally agreed standards.

“The class worked hard throughout the workshops, particularly in the practical session where they were tasked with thinking about how to raise awareness of Fairtrade, increase sales and also to prepare to organise and market their own event, what that might involve, what they would sell and the costs involved.

“We place a great deal of importance on inspiring, informing and educating local youngsters, letting them know what the University does, how we teach, what we teach – and nurturing that feeling in them that learning is fun. This kind of engagement is hugely beneficial, reaping benefits for us in both the short and the long term, which is why it forms an integral part of our commitment to the future success of the Aberdeen city region.”

Teacher Jessica Airlie said: “This was a super opportunity for the children to focus on developing lifelong skills for learning and work. Fairtrade is something that we, as a whole school, focus on spreading awareness about as part of our learning for sustainability. With help from Pam, our class have been focussing on planning and creating an event to share information about Fairtrade to our school community.

“The virtual workshop was very informative and lots of fun. It was lovely to hear lots of enthusiastic discussions about Fairtrade farmers and products, the impact marketing can have on consumers and future aspirations including attending university and becoming fair business owners.”