Fair trade funerals possible with ethical coffins

Funeral homes around the UK are offering for sale a selection of fairly-traded coffins.

Funeral homes around the UK are offering for sale a selection of fairly-traded coffins.

The bamboo coffins are available in 900 branches of The Co-operative Funeralcare, a part of the Co-operative Group, in conjunction with Fairtrade supplier Traidcraft.
Traidcraft — an independent fair trade organisation — has certified the hand crafted bamboo and willow coffins in Bangladesh at Oasis Coffins, which employs over 70 people and is located in the district of Nilphamari, near to where the raw material bamboo is grown.
Local people, both those working in the manufacturing facility and growing the bamboo, will directly benefit from the fairly traded coffin endorsement, which ensures decent working conditions, payment of a fair price and fair terms of payment to suppliers.

(Find out more about Salma, one of the worker's from Oasis Coffins who has had her life improved)

Research by The Co-operative Funeralcare shows that one in 20 coffins are now bespoke, driven by a growth in requests for alternative materials, while the Co-operative Group’s Ethical Consumer Markets Report revealed that green funerals had grown by 20 percent in 2011 from £6.9 million to £8.3M.
Lorinda Robinson, Head of Marketing, The Co-operative Funeralcare, said: “The growing consumer choice of ethical products and rise of personalisation in funerals is driving interest in such products.
“The Co-operative has a long tradition of leading the way on fair trade and the launch of the first-ever Traidcraft endorsed fairly traded coffin range at our funeral homes is a natural, if unusual, progression.
“The coffins are of the highest quality and the fairly traded coffin endorsement will guarantee that the producers in Bangladesh directly benefit, as Traidcraft independently verifies that they work in decent working conditions and receive a fair price.”
Larry Bush, Marketing Director, Traidcraft, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with The Co-operative in a brand new area of fair trade.  We have a strong track record of working together with the Co-operative Group to launch fair trade firsts.’
“We are particularly pleased to be involved in this initiative which is providing hope for the future in a region of Bangladesh which has been blighted by extreme poverty,”  he continued.

The fairly-traded coffins are produced in Bangladesh

Traidcraft conducted a rigorous assessment of the production operation, visiting the factory and growers in Bangladesh to check the coffins were made in accordance with its ten fair trade principles which look at economic opportunities, transparency, fair payment and prices, and ensuring good working conditions.

The bamboo and willow coffins will retail at £560 each and are available in more than 900 funeral homes operated by The Co-operative Funeralcare in the UK. The coffins are supplied by JC Atkinson and manufactured by Oasis Coffins.

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