Perhaps the celebrity endorsement of fair trade has finally struck a cord, as UK sales of Fairtrade products increased by 50 per cent to £140m last year, according to new figures from the Fairtrade Foundation.
The figures were released by the foundation, which awards the Fairtrade mark, to coincide with the launch of Fairtrade Fortnight 2005, running from March 1 to March 13. More than 800 Fairtrade retail and catering products carrying the mark are available in the UK, supporting farmers across 49 developing countries.
Coffee remains the best seller, while clothing is starting to get more recognition with designers such as Katharine Hamnett speaking on behalf of farmers and manufacturers to stop using pesticides in cotton and opposing unethical Chinese production as a human rights issue.
Australian 'organic' wool and leather without harsh dyes are also making their way to designers' studio's, as awareness grows amongst a younger consumer who looks beyond the aesthetic of a garment.
Harriet Lamb, executive director of the Fairtrade Foundation, said: "The British public showed overwhelming generosity towards the people affected by the tsunami. In the same way, when they learn about Fairtrade and the positive benefits for farmers in the developing world, the response is equally dramatic.