Thursday, 29 November 2012

Conscience Over Consumerism Set to Drive Record Numbers at Fair Trade Festival

A fair-trade and ethical festival, started four years ago by a Melbourne banker who was determined to make the world a fairer place, is expecting record numbers this year, as Australians increasingly choose to shop with a conscience.

Latest statistics by Fairtrade International show consumers around the globe spent AU$6.75 billion on Fairtrade Certified products last year – while back at home, sales of Fairtrade Certified products rose by 40% last year.

Susanna Bevilacqua, who launched Fair@Square - Australia’s largest fair trade and ethical festival - says in its first year they saw 20,000 visitors, and this year predictions are more than 80,000 people will come to the event at Federation Square in December.

And it seems business is taking note too. 

The event now has support from the likes of the City of Melbourne, Oxfam, Global Cafe Direct, Bendigo Bank and The Body Shop – to name a few.

Susanna says it’s humbling to see people genuinely wanting to buy products knowing they are making a difference in the world.

“Something as simple as a $50 hand-made recycled rug can help a mother in Cambodia put her child through school, clothe and feed her children, and prevent them from a life of human trafficking.”

Fairtrade ANZ operations manager Craig Chester says an event like Fair@Square is invaluable in regards to the impact it has on entire communities, simply through those attending purchasing great quality products.

“Fair@Square provides a great opportunity for people to hear about Fairtrade Certified, fair trade and ethical products.  The diverse range of products now available allows consumers great choice, and the impact of that purchasing can assist from educating children, to building basic, but essential, infrastructure within communities."

He says the future is looking bright too, with total estimated retail sales of Fairtrade Certified products in Australia last year reaching more than AU$165 million - and the market is building.

“Nearly one in two Australians now recognise the Fairtrade label which demonstrates this is not a niche movement, and that success is a direct result of everyone getting behind fair trade, regardless of their life stage or demographics.”

Fair@Square as an event has grown to such an extent, that this year it offers the chance to purchase products with a conscience from more than 80 stall holders.

There is also an ethical fashion show, live cooking demonstrations with the likes of renowned chef of the European Ian Curley, discussions about ethical and sustainable issues, a play tent, beauty tent and living tent – where you can see how recycled items are used in the home.

Fair@Square runs from 30 November to 2 December at Federation Square in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

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