Fair enough

WHAT is available - and practical - to ensure you buy with a clear conscience? During Fairtrade Fortnight which runs until March 19, EMMA POMFRET investigates.

WHAT is available - and practical - to ensure you buy with a clear conscience? During Fairtrade Fortnight which runs until March 19, EMMA POMFRET investigates.

IT'S ethically sound and good for the environment, but you don't have to be a holier-than-thou type or a modern hippy with an allotment and a lifetime membership of the Green Party to embrace Fairtrade goods.

A huge variety of consumers from all over the world are making conscious lifestyle choices and helping to expand the value of Fairtrade by a staggering 40per cent every year. The range of Fairtrade products now includes everything from coffee, tea, chocolate, cocoa, sugar, bananas, and apples to jams, marmalade, chutney and sauces.

Even the first baby food bearing the Fairtrade logo was launched this week , made from organic mango, banana and quinoa grain from South America. It marks Britons' growing appetite for ethically-traded products, according to Sainsbury's.


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Sales of Fairtrade products rose from £140 million in 2004 to £195 million in 2005 and are forecast to increase again this year, the latest Government figures show.

“People are increasingly aware of global poverty, particularly following G8 and the Make Poverty History Campaign in 2005," explained Mel Young, editor-in-chief of New Consumer magazine.

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"We are looking for practical, simple ways to make a real difference to the lives of producers in the southern hemisphere, and Fairtrade is one proven way to alleviate poverty, benefiting millions of people so far."

Fairtrade For Woodbridge is a voluntary group of people who care about trade justice, including The Good Food Shop and Les Chocolats Belges in the Thoroughfare, and Jars of Cley café.

The group also marked Fairtrade fortnight by donating 20 fairtrade footballs to Farlinghaye High School as reported in the Evening Star.

Anthony Lumley from the group said: “One in two adults now recognise the fairtrade mark , and products are no longer for a niche market. There are over a thousand fairtrade products available now and you don't have to go to specialist shops either.”

In Ipswich, about 35 businesses have joined a list of fairtrade outlets and Ipswich Borough Council is keen for more to get on board. The town has been pursuing Fairtrade status since November, when a steering group was formed to help satisfy the criteria.

Mel said one of the easiest ways to do your bit is to look out for the 1,300 products which now have the Fairtrade Mark - including items of Fairtrade fashion with the recent launch of Fairtrade Cotton, as well as coffee, fresh fruit, sugar, honey, rice, chocolate, footballs, wine, flowers, jeans, jewellery and homewares.

"In a recent MORI poll more than two thirds of UK consumers said they are prepared to pay more for Fairtrade products," said Mel.

And even the bigger high street players such as Marks and Spencer and Topshop are now adding fairtrade fashion to their stores, while Virgin Trains is fast moving towards stocking only Fairtrade hot drinks.

"New consumers are choosing to use their collective purchasing power to support the companies whose values they share in and avoid the companies that are not considering these vital issues.

"Awareness of the Fairtrade mark has also seen remarkable growth in the UK, with almost half of the population in 2005 recognising the mark.

"This is picking up momentum in 2006 and it is making a real difference to many lives," he added.

In 1986, Max Havelaar launched the first Fairtrade consumer guarantee label on coffee sourced from Mexico, according to Mel.

"However, the origins of the Fairtrade movement can be traced back to the 1970s when supporters of the Nicaraguan Solidarity Campaign imported Nicaraguan coffee in an attempt to support the rural farmers.

"When commodity prices fall dramatically it has a catastrophic impact on the lives of millions of small scale producers, forcing many into debt and countless others to lose their land and their homes, creating extreme global poverty," he said.

In fact, the global fall in coffee prices of almost 50pc over the past three years has left an estimated 25 million smallholder coffee producers in the developing world forced to sell their coffee at less than it costs to produce, resulting in widespread poverty.

"Despite this, the four big roasters dominating the global coffee market - Kraft, Nestle, Procter & Gamble and Sara Lee - control the major brands and made profits worth over 1 billion dollars in 2001.

"Between them they buy almost half the world's coffee beans each year," he added.

"With Fairtrade, farmers are guaranteed a minimum price for their products. For example, smallholder coffee farmers gain access to long-term relationships - vital in a rapidly changing global market - and receive a 'social premium', which goes towards development projects such as providing basic facilities including health care or improved access to clean water."

N weblinks:

www.fairtrade.org.uk

www.one-ipswich.com

N Are you holding a Fairtrade event? Let the Star Newsdesk know on 01473 324788 or write to Newsdesk,

The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.

N

Today:

Tonight sees a Fairtrade Evening at St Nicholas Centre, in Cutler Street, Ipswich. The free event includes a talk by Maria Sergeant of Winfra Fairtrade Unit, St Vincent in the Windward Isles, dancing to the Samboomba Samba Band, a bar and quiz. It runs from 7.30pm to 11pm.

Tomorrow:

Christ Church in Tacket Street, Ipswich will hold a Fairtrade coffee morning on Saturday 10am to 12noon, with biscuits and cakes. There will be an opportunity to buy cakes and ingredients and all profits will go to the Traidcraft Exchange.

A tasting day will be held at The Fair Trade Shop in Orwell Place between 9.30am and 4.30pm on Saturday. Two varieties of Fairtrade fruit cakes, made from fair trade sultanas from South Africa and fairly traded sugar from Malawi, will be available to try.

The range of products with the Fairtrade mark has grown from three in 1994, (when the Fairtrade Mark was launched), to over 1,300 Fairtrade-certified products in the UK in 2006."In the Britain, 18pc of the roast and ground coffee market is now Fairtrade-certified, as is 3pc of overall coffee sales," Mel said. Fairtrade bananas now account for 5pc of the total UK banana market.

:: TRAIDCRAFT FAIR BREAK

A light, crispy chocolate biscuit with chocolate from Ghana and sugar from Malawi, lovingly made in Belgium.

Available: Waitrose and Traidcraft at www.traidcraft.co.uk

Price: 25p per biscuit.

:: GOLDEN MINI EGGS

Individually wrapped in gold packaging, these Divine milk chocolate eggs from the Kuapa Kokoo co-operative in Ghana provide a great gift for Easter.

Available: Oxfam, Divine Chocolate (www.divinechocolate.com) and independent retailers.

Price: £3.99 for 200g.

:: MACHU PICCHU COFFEE BEANS

Grown in the high Andes of Peru, this Fairtrade and organic coffee is light and nutty with a delicious aroma.

Available: All good supermarkets and the New Consumer Shop.

Price: £3.39 for 227g.

:: FAIRTRADE SPICES

Vanilla, turmeric, pepper, cinnamon and ginger are now available.

Available: All good supermarkets, independent stores such as Steenbergs at www.steenbergs.co.uk

Price: From £2.05.

:: EQUAL EXCHANGE TEA

This bright and refreshing organic Indian tea is grown and packed at source in India.

Available: All good independent wholefood stores.

Price: £1.99 for 80 teabags.

:: PERUVIAN CHULUCANAS VASE

This traditional Chulucanas pottery is handmade in northern Peru, from a selection of designs available from Shared Earth.

Available: Shared Earth at www.sharedearth.co.uk

Price: From £19.50.

:: CHARM BRACELET

Stunningly colourful glass beads strung on a copper chain, and handmade in India by a women's co-operative.

Available: People Tree at www.ptree.co.uk

Price: £12 with earrings available separately.

:: BALTI TOTE BAG

Soft and luxurious felt bag made from Mongolian felt, traditionally used by nomadic herders to protect their yurts in winter.

Available: Ganesha at www.ganesha.co.uk

Price: £45.

:: FAIRTRADE FOOTBALLS

This match-quality ball is hand-stitched in the Pakistan centre of Sialkot.

Available: Fair Deal Trading at www.fairdealtrading.com

Price: From £9.80.

:: NEW CONSUMER MAGAZINE

Subscribe to New Consumer, a Fairtrade and ethical lifestyle magazine for inspiration, information, products and action that make a difference direct to your door six times a year.

Plus you receive a 10pc discount at the New Consumer Shop, which stocks over 400 high quality Fairtrade and ethical lifestyle products.

Available at www.newconsumer.org/subscribe

Price: £15.

Did you know? The Fairtrade Mark appears on products as a guarantee that disadvantaged farmers are getting a better deal. They will receive a minimum price that covers the cost of production and an extra premium that is invested in the local community.

Globally, an estimated five million people - farmers, workers and their families - are already benefiting from the Fairtrade system.

Fairtrade is currently working in 58 developing countries, and Africa is the fastest growing region within the Fairtrade network with about 124 producers' organisations currently certified to Fairtrade standards.

One in two adults in the UK recognise the Fairtrade Mark according to a Mori poll.

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