ActionAid to tackle retail power in fair-trade drive

Development charity ActionAid is planning a major campaign to force UK ­retailers to increase prices paid to suppliers in developing countries.

The charity has commissioned a study into how the buying power of UK shops affects the livelihoods of farmers and factory workers overseas.

‘ActionAid will be looking at how big retailers sometimes use their buying power to negatively affect communities and workers in developing countries,' said senior media officer John Coventry.

The charity is planning to use data from the study to compile a report into supply chains between UK retailers and the Third World.

The report will then be used to launch the campaign early next year. Although still in its early planning stages, the campaign is expected to use media relations and viral marketing to target consumers and encourage them to put pressure on retailers.

ActionAid is also planning a lobbying phase to ­encourage the Government to change the rules covering supply chains between the developing and developed world.

But there are no plans to call for a boycott of individual stores. Coventry said workers in developing countries need the jobs provided by the UK market. ActionAid will instead focus on encouraging stores to change the way they do business with developing countries.

In June, Tory leader David Cameron came under fire from Christian Aid for praising UK firms that used cheap overseas labour. In September a survey by the Mail on Sunday claimed only £42m of the £200m spent in the UK on Fairtrade products filtered back to the developing world.

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