CO-OP Party Chairman and 2003 Congress President Gareth Thomas was given the opportunity to praise the Movement's contribution to the expansion of Fairtrade in the House of Commons.
In his role as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for International Development, Mr Thomas (pictured right, in the Commons), Labour/Co-op MP for Harrow West, answered questions on Fairtrade Fortnight put by Conservative MP Tony Baldry and another Labour/Co-op member, George Foulkes.
Mr Thomas praised the Co-op's lead on stocking Fairtrade products and helping the fair trade market to grow.
He said: "Fairtrade Fortnight provides an excellent opportunity for us, as individual consumers, to do our individual bit to help promote fairer trade.
"I can confirm that, by the end of 2003, shoppers were spending more than £ 2 million per week at the checkout on products with the Fairtrade mark.
"Furthermore, the Co-op ? which has always been the leading supplier of Fairtrade products ? pledged to double the size of its own brand range of such products by the end of this year. If other suppliers follow the Co-op lead, we can expect the fair trade market to continue to grow, which is good news."
Mr Baldry, MP for Banbury, told the House: "Although it is good news that shoppers spend some £ 2 million on Fairtrade products each week, there is still some way to go.
"For example, only about four or five per cent of bananas purchased are Fairtrade ones. Fairtrade Fortnight is a good opportunity to make clear that there is a modest way for every consumer to help farmers in developing countries by buying Fairtrade products such as cocoa, chocolate and bananas, whenever possible."
Meanwhile Brad Hill, the Co-operative Group's Co-op Brand Marketing Development Manager, attended a Trade Justice Forum hosted by Tory leader Michael Howard at Conservative Central Office.
Mr Hill took part in a round table discussion chaired by Mr Howard, which included representatives from the Fairtrade Foundation, Oxfam and anti-poverty campaigner Sir Bob Geldof.
In this article
- Business ethics
- Employment Relation
- Fair trade
- Fairtrade certification
- Fairtrade fortnight
- FLO International
- Food industry
- Gareth Thomas
- George Foulkes
- House of Commons
- International Fairtrade Certification Mark
- International trade
- Party chairman
- Secretary of State
- Social Issues
- The Fairtrade Foundation
- Tony Baldry