A FREE pocket-sized book supported by the Government calls on consumers to switch to ethical buying to help fight world poverty.
Highlighting the Co-operative Bank as the best ethical bank and championing goods with the Fairtrade mark as a positive step to help eradicate Third World debt the Rough Guide to a Better World book is available at Post Offices nationwide.
Instead of telling people to just buy Fairtrade goods, the 96-page book produced by the Department for International Development urges shoppers to go on the offensive by taking action against companies that do not have fair trade or ethical policies. From boycotts to writing letters, it lists a number of campaigning methods.
Redirecting money to better causes is also a main theme of the book. It tells readers to spend a portion of their shopping budget on Fairtrade branded products; choosing green electricity from renewable sources, or opening an ethical bank account.
It says "If Africa could increase its share of world trade by just one per cent it would generate five times more income than the continent currently receives in aid and debt relief".
Local and national government can also widen the appeal of Fairtrade, says the book. If they required all suppliers of food to furniture to be ethical then they would respond to demands.
A table informs readers how to discover if companies are truly ethical by asking certain questions and looking for the Fairtrade mark.
Besides buying ethically, the guide lists a number of ways people can help people in poorer countries by donating money or volunteering.
Bob Geldof, the rock singer and veteran campaigner against world poverty, has written the foreword and other contributors include personalities and people from developing countries telling their own stories.
Mr Geldof says: "We must pay close attention to those hidden worlds of decay, decline and death.
"They whisper to us through the unfair trade of the supermarket shelves and the exploited raw materials in our petrol stations, the occasional prurient newspaper story or through the piety of the political speech or the feel good pop concert. But we know they're there."
The guide also tells readers to avoid companies that work in the arms trade; with dangerous chemicals; and the tobacco industry.
Issues of global importance such as power consumption are covered too. Readers are advised to use less power, have double-glazed windows and get a free audit of power used in their homes.
Angela Smith, Labour/Co-op MP for Basildon and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, urged her constituents to obtain a copy of the guide.
She said: "Following a packed meeting in Basildon recently with Hilary Benn, Secretary of State for International Development, I know many local people want to buy fairly traded goods and support projects to develop farming and water supplies in the Third World."
The book can also be ordered or downloaded from
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