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Kumamoto confab seeks to develop, spread "fair-trade towns" concept

Promoters of "fair trade towns" agreed Sunday to take an inclusive approach in developing and spreading the idea of an ethical consumption movement aimed at helping solve wealth inequalities at global, national and local levels. "Fair-trade towns movement has so far been somewhat about numbers -- about how many towns we can achieve...but it is time to heighten the quality of the movement," said organizer Tatsuya Watanabe, wrapping up the three-day International Fair Trade Towns Conference.

Japan's 1st "fair trade town" seeking to aid sustainability

The city government of Kumamoto hopes as the first "fair trade town" in Japan and Asia to contribute to global sustainability by hosting the first international conference of the campaign outside Europe, its mayor said Saturday. "I hope this will be a big opportunity to spread the fair trade town movement from Kumamoto to Asia and around the world," said Kumamoto Mayor Seishi Koyama as the International Fair Trade Towns Conference began in the southwestern Japan city as part of a three-day event from Friday.

Japan city hosts 1st int'l confab in Asia to promote "fair" trade

An international conference of "fair trade towns" opened with pre-events Friday in the southwestern Japan city of Kumamoto -- the first time the conference has taken place outside Europe -- as campaigners look to spur the growth of ethical consumption movement in Asia. "This is an opportunity for us to discuss how to bridge the North-South divide, protect the environment, and how diverse the fair-trade movement has become recently," said Shoko Akashi, who heads the steering committee in Kumamoto, at a press conference.

Japan city to host 1st int'l confab in Asia to promote "fair" trade

An international conference of "fair trade towns" is to be held over the weekend in a Japanese city -- the first time the conference has taken place outside Europe -- as campaigners look to spur the growth of ethical consumption movement in Asia. Nearly 500 participants and volunteers from 30 countries will gather in the southwest Japan city of Kumamoto for the annual International Fair Trade Towns Conference, which takes over the weekend after a series of related events Friday, according to the local organizer.

Britain's banana price wars come at a cost to growers

When a banana flown half-way round the world costs half the price of a locally-grown apple, many in Britain wonder whether Latin American banana producers are getting a fair deal. The British love eating bananas. Like milk or bread, it is considered a shopping essential, a reason why consumers choose one shop over another and a battleground in the supermarket price wars.

Falling coffee prices weigh on Brazil producers

The husks, baked dry and black in the hot Brazilian sun, crumble in the hand, revealing pale green beans. But those coffee beans could go to waste, as world prices falter. "It's good coffee — they should be drying it and getting it ready for export," says Celso Scanavachi, an engineer at the Coopinhal farm cooperative in Santo Espiritu do Pinhal, north of Sao Paulo. "The producer has abandoned 40 percent of the crop; the retail price doesn't cover the cost of harvesting," he says.

A look at resources for consumers who want to buy 'ethical' fashions

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Here are some resources for those who are interested in buying clothes that are "ethically produced:" —Fair Trade U.S.A. (fairtradeusa.org): The non-profit was founded in 1998 to audit products to make sure workers overseas are paid fair wages and work in safe conditions, and it's hoping to appeal to shoppers who care about where their clothing is made. In 2010, it expanded the list of products that it certifies beyond coffee, sugar and spices to include clothing. Check out its website to find fashions and partners such as PrAna, a yoga-inspired clothing line.

Fairtrade sales to grow as consumers demand better labelling

* UK Fairtrade sales up 19 pct in 2012 to 1.57 bln stg * Consumers seek better sourcing amid horsemeat scandal * Brands switching to the label a big driver for growth By Natalie Huet LONDON, Feb 28 (Reuters) - UK sales of ethically sourced Fairtrade products rose 19 percent last year and will continue to grow worldwide as firms seek to reassure consumers over food in the wake of Europe's horsemeat scandal, the head of the Fairtrade Foundation said.
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