Impact of fairtrade comes under scrutiny

By agency reporter
19 Feb 2008

Consumers worldwide spent £1.1 billion on Fairtrade products last year, a 42% increase on 2006.

Britain’s appetite for Fairtrade produce is higher than most – UK shoppers are the second largest global customers of fairly traded products. But is this news quite as positive as we’ve been led to believe? Does the Fairtrade initiative to put more money in the pockets of farmers in developing countries really make a difference when it comes to challenging prevailing international trading structures?

To mark Fairtrade Fortnight, JustShare, a coalition of churches and other development agencies seeking to engage with the City of London on issues of global and economic injustice, and Fairtrade educational charity Trading Visions, are hosting a special debate on the matter.

A panel of Fairtrade farmers, business and Church leaders will question whether Fairtrade is more a niche ethical sector, soothing the consciences of rich consumers and raising supermarket bank balances, than it is a real catalyst for change.

The JustShare discussion panel will feature Sophie Tranchell, Managing Director of Divine Chocolate; Kojo Aduhene-Tano and Paul Ayepah from the Kuapa Kokoo Fairtrade Cooperative in Ghana; Chris Davis from the Fairtrade Foundation; Company Director and consultant Mark Boleat; Adam Brett, Co-Founder of Tropical Wholefoods and Paul Palmer of the Cass Business School. The Chair will be Canon Ed Newell of the St Paul’s Institute.

The JustShare Fairtrade debate will be held on Monday 25th February at St Mary-le-Bow Church, Cheapside, London, EC2. The debate starts at 1.05pm and will end by 1.55pm. Fairtrade wine, chocolate and other light refreshments will be available afterwards. For further details visit http://www.justshare.org.uk

Celebrate Fair Trade Fortnight with a limited edition activist event kit. This kit contains over £20 worth of Fairtrade product samples. The price includes 48 hour delivery. All orders placed by 1pm (Monday to Friday) will be despatched that day. Just £13.50! To find out more click here

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