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FILM: Fair Trade In Action
DVD [£47.00 plus VAT]
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29 mins, 2008
What is fair trade? How does it work in practice? What difference is it making to people in the developing world? This is the story of fair trade fashion company People Tree
The UK fashion business is worth over £40 billion annually. But beneath the industry's glamorous façade, there's an inconvenient truth: most of the clothes are made in the developing world using sweatshop labour. People Tree set out to make a difference, by selling well-designed clothes produced in the developing world for a fair price. They're now selling through Top Shop and working with 50 producer groups in 15 different countries. UK turnover is £1.5 million.
All People Tree's garments are hand-made. This means it is all much more labour intensive and slower than in factories. But that's the whole point: to create as much employment as possible. Care for the environment is also part of People Tree's plan. They use natural dyes and avoid toxic or synthetic raw materials. They use organic cotton which means not relying on harmful pesticides - but they're not totally organic yet.
One woman working on People Tree's clothes in Bangladesh does seem to be benefiting from fair trade. She tells how working on producing fair trade clothes has improved her life, brought her more money and freed her from being stuck at home. But fair trade isn't an easy option. People Tree has little money for advertising and marketing and every day is a struggle. Fair trade is still only a small fraction of the fashion business - can it ever go mainstream?
DVD EXTRAS include interviews with a fair trade sceptic, a fair trade supporter and a fair trade fashion shop owner.
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