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21 Years of the UK Fair Trade Movement

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The UK’s Fair Trade Foundation has been going since 1992, originally set up by CAFOD, Christian Aid, Oxfam, Traidcraft, the World Development Movement and the National Federation of Women’s Institutes. In 1994 the organisation’s first three products arrived on the shelves of the shops. The world looks considerably different these days. Now there are at least 4,500 products proudly bearing the logo, as diverse as clothing, gifts, homewares, foods, drinks and cosmetics.

Impressive statistics

The statistics are impressive. From a standing start fifteen years ago the organisation is now recognised spontaneously by 72% of the British public. On the ground, where the movement has its greatest and most immediate effect on people’s lives, over seven million people across Africa, Asia and South America already benefit from fair, responsible practices and principles.

Fair trade mosques, towns and schools…

Did you know towns can achieve fair trade status? The first was Garstang in Lancashire, back in 2000. Now there are more than 450 towns, 100 universities, 3000 or more schools, a whopping 5041 churches and synagogues and one fair trade mosque. Which means the message is reaching entire communities, not just individual consumers. And it’s obviously inspiring large groups of people from different backgrounds to embrace the future of our environments, and the people who live in them, more closely than ever before.

Going fair trade bananas!

Love bananas? One in four bananas sold in Britain are fair trade. In fact we’re spending more on responsibly sourced goods than ever, a 5.5% increase on 2012 with several hundred million pounds spent every year. You’ll find fair trade goods on almost every conceivable kind of product, from hats, accessories and jewellery to salad bowls, glassware, shoes, chocolates, ceramics, furniture… the list really is endless.

No unfair exploitation

The trend is so strong that numerous dedicated businesses have been set up to sell goods that have been produced without exploiting people, animals or the environment. Once the territory of eccentrics and hippies, it has gone mainstream. Along with natural products, organic produce, recycled wares, locally produced items with low transport miles and goods made sustainably, the movement is fast becoming one of the main drivers for UK consumers. And as demand grows, the choice is becoming even wider.

Ethical gifts come to the fore

It’s only spring, but retailers are already making plans for Christmas 2013. If the trend continues there’s no doubt this year’s festive season will prove a bumper time for the ethical gifts sector, whose portfolio of products is growing at a steady pace along with the well-being and happiness of millions upon millions of people, everywhere on the planet. Here’s to the next 21 years… cheers!

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Source by David Robert Bowen
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