22 January 2010


According to a recent story in the Melbourne 'Age', underwear is the latest in a series of new products on the Australian Fairtrade market - one of the fastest growing in the world, with sales up 80 per cent last year to $23 million.

Until now most sales of Fairtrade products have been of coffee, tea and chocolate - and the Fairtrade share of the chocolate market received a recent boost with the announcement by Cadburys that its Dairy Milk bars would carry the Fairtrade label by Easter – but with the Fairtrade Labeling Organizations International broadening its reach to include cotton in its Fairtrade Certification program in 2005, the purchase of Fairtrade clothing is now possible.

Although cotton has been used for clothing by humans for thousands of years, in the last two hundred years it has been associated with some of the more serious abuses of human rights and the environment these include slavery on US cotton plantations, child labour in British cotton mills, the diversion of water resources, pollution from fertiliser run-off (cotton uses 25% of the world’s insecticides) and distortion of the world trading system by heavy subsidies to cotton growers in the developed world.

Fair Trade certified organically grown Fair Trade cotton has brought fairer prices fro cotton growers in Africa and India and encouraged better farming practices.

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