The Hebden Bridge Fair Trade Directory was launched last Saturday by the town's Fair Trade Forum at a special event held in the Arts Festival office.
Local MP Chris McCafferty spoke about the importance of Fair Trade in combatting the exploitative effects of global commercial interests, and bringing about real improvements in the lives of the world's poorest peoples.
She said how proud she was that the townsfolk of Hebden Bridge had made this commitment, but that it was now so important that we all support the traders who have given over shelf space for Fair Trade goods, by choosing them in preference to other brands.
Forum Chairman Roger Munday added " If you don't see Fair Trade options on the supermarket shelves, ask for them. If the cafe menu doesn't list a fair trade tea or coffee, ask for one, or ask why not. Use Fair Trade or lose Fair Trade"
The Fair Trade Directory will be appearing in shops and public buildings in the next few days, and as well as listing all local businesses and organisations who have committed to the Fair Trade principle it gives a wealth of background information on the movement itself and on the Fair Trade Town concept.
- The Fair Trade Mark has been used by the Fair Trade Foundation to certify fairly traded products for 10 years. Originally two interlocking letter Fs, it is now the familiar green, blue and black symbol. In a recent survey 1 in 4 people recognised the Fair Trade Mark.
- In 1994, when the scheme was first introduced, just 3 products a tea, a coffee and a chocolate bar, carried the Mark. Now around 250 products are available, ranging from a whole range of teas and coffees through bananas, mangoes and other fruit, juices, preserves a, snack and chocolate bars and even a Christmas pudding! They now include 45 types of tea.
- In the last 5 years annual sales of Fair Trade goods in this country have rocketed from around £40m to an estimated £150m by the end of this year. This includes Fair Trade marked goods and products from other fairtrade sources such as Traidcraft.
- As an example, for every £1 you spend in the supermarket on ordinary cheap bananas the grower gets 1p. As a result many plantations are closing down, since this does not even cover their costs. Buying Fair Trade bananas means that the farmers cover their production costs, get out of the poverty trap, and can keep on growing them.
- 31 towns (including Hebden Bridge) have now become accredited by the Fair Trade Foundation as Fair Trade Towns. 80 more, including London, are aiming for this status.
- The Hebden Bridge Fair Trade Directory (available in shops, library, TIC etc) lists places where Fair Trade food and drink is sold or served, and gives lots more information about Fair Trade.
- The Fair Trade Foundation says "People are starting to see Fair Trade as part of their lifestyle. And this is only the beginning; Fair Trade is the food of the future"
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