Thursday, 5 March 2009

Press Release: First Southend-on-Sea Fairtrade Directory Launched

The first Southend Fairtrade Directory has been launched for 2009, giving up to date information on where to find Fairtrade products in our Borough. The official unveling took place at the Southend-on-Sea Civic Centre on Wednesday 4th March as part of Fairtrade Fortnight 2009.

The launch saw Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s Executive Councillor for Enterprise, Tourism and Regeneration, Councillor John Lamb trying out a ‘Smoothie Bike’. This was a sensational bike-powered smoothie blender – using Fairtrade ingredients of course! Councillor Lamb said: “We hope people throughout Southend right across the borough will share in Fairtrade Fortnight in a variety of ways. This is a very important stage in our bid to achieve Fairtrade status as a Borough. It is also great to unveil Southend’s new Fair Trade directory, supported by the Council.”

Readers will learn how buying Fairtrade products directly helps farmers and producers on the other side of the planet.

Latest figures show that Fairtrade sales continued to rise until mid-2008.
Sales of Fairtrade products for April to June 2008 grew by 55% from an estimated retail value of £113 million to £176m in the same period last year.
· Volume increased by 42% in food alone. (Volume is the best indicator of the amount of Fairtrade premiums that go back to producer groups to spend on community development projects, such as classrooms and clinics).
Sugar sales increased in volume by 467%, an increase in sales value from £10m to almost £24m.
Items made with Fairtrade cotton increased by 323% from 1.4 million units to 6 million units.
Tea grew in volume by 186%, an increase in sales value from just under £7m to almost £16m.
According to recent TNS figures, Fairtrade certified foods have increased their market penetration 61% to 70% over the last year (from 15.2 m households to 17.5 m). That means an extra 2.3 m households now purchase Fairtrade certified food products.

However, the figures have been welcomed with caution by Fairtrade campaigners who feel that the current economic climate may become tougher for Fairtrade producers as 2009 progresses.

The directory is sponsored by The Co-operative retail group. The impact of supermarkets on the High Street is greater than ever and the Co-op have been instrumental in giving consumers a Fairtrade choice on UK High Streets.

The Co-operative’s Fairtrade Development Manager, Brad Hill, said:
“We are proud to be once again sponsoring the Fairtrade Directories, which fulfil an important role raising local awareness and knowledge of Fairtrade and its benefits. The Co-operative has been a leading supporter of Fairtrade for many years, and continues to stock the widest available range of Fairtrade products. We are looking forward to continuing that commitment during 2009 and beyond.”

The 2009 directory will also showcase the huge range of Fairtrade products now on offer which cover everything from wine to soap.

Journalist and Broadcaster George Alagiah is patron of the Fairtrade Foundation and has written the foreword for the 2009 directory.

“For each of the 7.5 million people – the farmers, workers and their families – who currently benefit from Fairtrade, there are countless others who still languish in poverty. But you can make a difference. Fairtrade can create hope and opportunities, and enables people to work their way out of poverty. Choose Fairtrade and make it happen”.

The UK Fairtrade directories cover 16 areas across the UK. David Elcock, Member of the Leigh-on-Sea and Southend-on-Sea Borough Fairtrade Campaign says:

"Since March 2006 there has been a campaign to raise awareness of Fairtrade within the Borough of Southend-on-Sea. It's been great to see more and more business, traders, restaurants and individuals support the cause over the years. It's testament to the fact that our shopping choices do make a difference to the lives of less fortunate people across the world. Keep on choosing Fairtrade"
A copy of the directory can also be downloaded in PDF format by clicking here:
ENDS

CONTACTS:
For further information on local events please contact local Fairtrade Co-Ordinator
David Elcock
Tel: 07967 010261
info@fairtradeleigh.org.uk

For general press queries please contact Marc Leverton (of Faragher Jones)
marcleverton@yahoo.co.uk
Tel: 07952 928112

Fairtrade press images are available to download here:
The Fairtrade Foundation:
www.fairtrade.org.uk/resources

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