Take a step towards Fairtrade products

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City Labour councillors and spokesperson Andrew Pakes are urging residents to make the switch to ethically produced goods for Fairtrade Fortnight, which started on Monday.

The theme for this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight is ‘take a step’ asking shoppers to do their bit to support ethically traded products. Fairtrade Fortnight runs from 27 February to 11 March 2012.

Andrew Pakes was joined by Labour & Co-operative Councillor Pete Marland, Cllr Hannah O’Neill, Parish Chair Cllr Veronica Belcher and campaigners at the newly refurbished Co-operative store on Newton road in West Bletchley on Saturday (25 February) to mark the start of Fairtrade Fortnight.

The Co-operative is the largest retailer of fairtrade goods in the UK stocking around 260 different ethical products from coffee to wine, chocolate and fruit. Over 4,500 products have been licensed to carry the Fairtrade Mark in the UK. Fairtrade sales reached an estimated £1.17 billion in 2010, a 40 percent increase on the previous year.

Andrew will also be meeting farmers from the Kuapa Kokoo co-operative in Ghana – part-owners of the Divine Chocolate range - in London on Wednesday (29th February) as part of a delegation organised by the Co-operative.

Andrew Pakes, Labour & Co-operative Parliamentary spokesperson for Milton Keynes said: “It is important we all do our bit to choose ethically produced goods and Fairtrade Fortnight is a great opportunity to try something different. We have a long tradition of supporting Fairtrade and international development in Milton Keynes. I hope people will look out for the fairtrade logo when they are shopping.”

Councillor Pete Marland, who is the first Labour & Co-operative councillor on Milton Keynes Council said: “Fair Trade helps support 7 million people in the developing world. Our shopping habits can make a real difference to the World’s poorest people. Already the UK’s demand for African fruit and vegetables benefits a million farmers and their families. By acting together and making a choice to buy fairtrade we can make a real difference.”