04 August 2010

"I thought fair trade meant cheaper?"

In 2007, this ethical designer carrying bag was priced at £5 ($7) in Sainsbury's supermarkets. Advertised as a replacement for plastic grocery bags, it's also fair trade and organically made with unbleached cotton, with profits going to an environmental group.

 This non-plastic grocery bag sold for over £225 on eBay
First it went on sale at a boutique, Keira Knightly was photographed with one, it was distributed as a goodie at chic Oscar parties and it sold out immediately, with bags then being flogged on eBay for over £225 ($298). Shortly after another 20,000 were released at 450 supermarkets across the country. Women stood in line from 2 a.m. onwards to get their hands on this must-have accessory which was all gone by 9 a.m.
The only problem is the bags were made in China, using cheap labour. And the bag was neither organic nor fair trade.

But one company that I think gets it is Fair Trade A Day. It's all in the name. They feature one fair trade product per day with the idea that fair trade products were meant to be affordable. They can do this because they buy in bulk.

This has the potential to be the only weapon you need in your Christmas shopping arsenal this year. Let me know if you spot any more impostors.