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Press Conference: Monday 23rd February 10am (first day of Fairtrade Fortnight)

London College of Fashion Centre for Sustainability, 20 John Princes Street, London, W1G 0BJ

Credit to Fair Trade producers and businesses is under threat.

Safia Minney, founder of pioneering social business People Tree announces why there was an urgent need for her to set up the People Tree Foundation.

Fashion has a dirty side, yet many low-price, fast fashion brands are seeing sales growth, in the face of economic down turn. Despite media exposes in the last 2 years on labour abuses in garment factories and child labour in the developing world – customers are slow to take responsibility for their part in it and to hold companies accountable. Credit to producers and Fair Trade businesses is under threat in the present financial situation with no access to finance for the poor, and business to business credit (a larger version of microcredit, which has become so celebrated), e.g. 50% advance payments to producers, are a core value of Fair Trade.

There is widespread public support for fair trade, but so far most of the educational, general awareness building and campaigning work has been done in the area of trade and food commodities, not manufactured products like fashion.

Fair Trade companies work at a distinct competitive disadvantage, competing on an unlevel playing field, paying 30-100% higher prices than conventional trade. At the same time, Fair Trade companies are expected to cover the cost of technical assistance to small-scale producers. The recent interest in social businesses has meant there is also a pressure on them to document the model and scale it. It is simply not feasible, whilst competing with conventional companies, and impossible in an economic downturn, where cut-price product and risk-averse trade terms take precedence. The People Tree Foundation will raise funds to provide generic technical assistance to small-scale producer groups and farmer groups, to strengthen their capacity and business models, at the same time as starting to document the business model so that others may follow.

Safia Minney will be joined by Jo Wood who recently visited Bangladesh to see the stark contrast of garment workers in the slums to those employed through Fair Trade.

Due to restricted space and security it is essential to RSVP. Private one-to-one interviews can be arranged after the conference. These must be organised in advance.

Journalists attending will be given a complete EPK on departure.

Contact: Antony Waller T: 020 7739 9659 E:

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of People Tree in the following categories: Business & Finance, Retail & Fashion, for more information visit