February 23, 2007
Belfast Zoo goes ape for Fairtrade Windwards bananas

Windwards Bananas were the dish of the day this week for some very lucky animals in Belfast Zoo, Northern Ireland. A donation of Windwards Bananas brought some much-needed Caribbean spirit to a misty Monday morning in Belfast during the annual Fairtrade Fortnight launch.

Belfast Zoo Manager, Mark Challis, fully supports Fairtrade and was delighted to help heighten Fairtrade awareness. He said, “Price should not be the sole criteria we use to determine where we source our produce. We need to look at the environmental, social and ethical issues before making a final decision.{{more}} The Zoo is investigating sourcing Fairtrade produce for its animals when the tender comes up for renewal as we use a staggering 67,000 bananas each year.”

Dr Christopher Stange from Fairtrade Belfast added “By purchasing Fairtrade products you directly make a difference to the lives of farmers and workers in developing countries. Not only does Fairtrade guarantee producers a fair price, but as the consumer you receive a high quality product grown with the highest ethical and environmental considerations. Fairtrade ensures money goes directly back into the communities where it is needed most, helping to develop roads, build schools, supply computers and improve healthcare.

“With increased interest in ethical consumerism and corporate responsibility Fairtrade is going from strength to strength. Sainsbury’s and Waitrose have made the largest commitment world-wide to source only Fairtrade bananas in their stores by the end of the year. However more work is required to make Fairtrade mainstream and hopefully this news will encourage other retailers, including independents to follow.”

Jim Allister, MEP, has asked the European Commission to consider the importance of Fairtrade during the ongoing European trade agreement negotiations, in particular the import of bananas from the former colonies of the Windward Islands. Allister explained: “It is important to realise that when we purchase a foreign product in Northern Ireland, our actions have implications on those in poorer countries who produced it”.