West Lothian was awarded Fairtrade Zone status in recognition of the strong support for Fairtrade and the achievement of five qualifying goals, such as a wide availability of Fairtrade products in local shops and catering outlets, high levels of support from local people, businesses, the council, faith groups and schools.
The confirmation of the renewal from The Fairtrade Foundation means West Lothian will retain Fairtrade Zone status until at least 2021.
Fairtrade Fortnight 2019 will run from 25 February until 10 March. Fairtrade Fortnight is an action-packed highlight of the year, when campaigners, businesses, schools and places of worship show their support for the farmers and workers who grow our food in developing countries.
Chair of West Lothian Fairtrade Steering Group, Tom Conn said: "We are delighted to have retained our Fairtrade Zone status for West Lothian. It is a fantastic testament to the efforts of the Town and Village Groups. I would like to thank the group for their tireless efforts to promote Fairtrade. I would also like to praise local people in West Lothian who are showing their support to producers and workers and who are helping to make the world a fairer place by choosing Fairtrade products.
"The focus for 2019 is on cocoa with the Fairtrade Foundation noting that 'So many farmers rely on growing this much-loved product for their livelihood - and too many live below the poverty line.' As in previous years we will be actively promoting Fairtrade across the county throughout Fairtrade Fortnight and encouraging everyone to find out more and look out for Fairtrade goods.'
Fairtrade helps small-scale farmers ensure they earn stable incomes and have long-term contracts with companies. In addition, they earn the Fairtrade Premium, which they invest as the farmer-owned co-operative democratically chooses, in projects that will benefit their business or community.