THE world's biggest ever fair trade conference is being held in Newcastle upon Tyne.
250 delegates have come to Tyneside for the conference which starts on Monday 23rd June and ends Saturday (June 28th).
All delegates ? including 155 from developing countries ? are members of the International Federation for Alternative Trade (IFAT), a global network of fair trading organisations with members in over 55 countries.
The six-day event at the University of Newcastle aims to provide practical support to IFAT members, bringing them together for sharing, discussion and action. Delegates will explore fair trade issues through workshops and seminars on marketing, monitoring and advocacy.
The conference has been organised jointly by IFAT members Traidcraft and Shared Interest, fair trade organisations based in the heart of Tyneside. Shared Interest has provided accessible finance to fair trade organisations since 1990, while Traidcraft has been a leader of the fair trade movement for more than two decades.
Paul Chandler, Chief Executive of Traidcraft, said: "The success of the fair trade movement is amply demonstrated in its rising sales and the increasing impact we're having on government policy and business practice. This conference celebrates that achievement and commits us to challenging the systems that deny Southern partners the opportunity to trade on equal terms."
Stephanie Sturrock, Managing Director of Shared Interest, said: "Those attending are committed to making trade fair in practical ways. Their work is an inspiration to consumers and investors who want to make a difference at a global level."
Keynote speakers include Terry Hudghton, Head of Corporate Brand Management for the Co-operative Group; Dr Alan Knight, Head of Social Responsibility for Kingfisher Group; and Richard Adams, founder of Traidcraft and the Out of this World chain of ethical supermarkets.
The conference ends with the ?24 Hours for Trade Justice' nationwide event organised by supporters of Trade Justice in the UK. Conference delegates will "weigh in" with these supporters during their symbolic action for fairness on 28th.
For further information visit www.ifatconference2003.org