THE Co-operative Bank has become the first commercial organisation to join the Trade Justice campaign, which is being organised by Christian Aid and others.
As part of its Customers Who Care initiative, The Co-operative Bank and its customers will this year be campaigning for Trade Justice for the world's poorest countries. The bank hands over 1.25p per £ 100 spent on its Visa credit and debit cards to the campaign.
2005 is set to be a crucial year in the fight against global poverty. The Government has made it clear that Africa and poverty will be top of its international agenda. It will also be 20 years since Live Aid, ten years of Comic Relief and five years since the United Nations committed to halve world poverty and hunger by 2015.
There is a growing consensus that developing countries will only reap the benefits of aid and debt relief if the rules of global trade are made to work in their favour.
The bank's move was supported by singer and activist Ronan Keating (who is pictured with Kate Daley, Campaigns Manager, Co-operative Bank). Along with other high profile celebrities he is encouraging individuals to vote for Trade Justice. These votes will then be presented to the Government later next year to show how many people have joined the call for Trade Justice.
Ms Daley said: "We believe that trade can play an important role in reducing poverty. However, rich countries continue to force poor countries to adopt free trade policies. We believe that to end poverty and protect the environment poor countries need Trade Justice not enforced free trade.
Martin Drewry, Head of Campaigns at Christian Aid said: "We are delighted that The Co-operative Bank and their customers are joining the campaign. Inappropriate free trade policies forced on the developing world by rich countries have failed to reduce poverty significantly and have devastated poor countries. That is why a more pragmatic approach is urgently needed."
The Co-operative Bank's Customers Who Care initiative has donated £ 3million to more than 80 charities and organisations since it was first launched in 1994.
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