Linda: New EU rules are good news for Fair Trade region Yorkshire

16 January 2014

Linda is the co-founder of the European Parliament’s Fair Trade working group and joined with fellow MEPs yesterday to vote in favour of new public procurement rules that will make it easier for public authorities to buy Fair Trade produce.

In the past, complex rules and legal challenges have hampered some public authorities from opting for a Fair Trade purchasing policy in their contracts.  In the Netherlands, a coffee company challenged one local authority in the courts because they had a Fair Trade tea and coffee policy. The new rules adopted today will apply right across Europe and allow a wider range of social and environmental considerations to be taken into account, meaning public authorities can opt for Fair Trade products.

Linda, who also chairs the European Parliament’s Fair Trade working group said;

"It is a pleasure to celebrate this achievement for Fair Trade and for fairer public procurement laws. Yorkshire is a Fair Trade region, and so these new laws will give a renewed boost to local authorities to choose Fair Trade.

With today’s positive step, I hope to see even more Fair Trade products in Yorkshire, going even further towards tackling poverty."

Compliance with environmental, social and labour obligations are now enshrined in the principles of procurement law, meaning that potential suppliers can be excluded if they fail to comply with sustainability standards or are found to be treating workers unfairly.

The EU Commissioner who drafted the new law, Michel Barnier, commented that;

“Trade has to be both free and fair. The two words must go together. That is the condition for successful and accepted globalisation which is genuinely in the interest of all, and in particular the poorest. The Fair Trade working group does extremely useful work in this area, promoting these policies and I fully support Linda McAvan and her team’s tireless work in this area.”

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