Fair trade 'more effective than giving to charity'

British consumers believe shopping ethically is a more effective way to relieve global poverty than donating to charity, according to a recent ICM poll.

The poll of 2,000 people, conducted on behalf of the Department for International Development, found that 74 per cent of respondents thought buying fair trade goods was an effective way to benefit those in the developing world. Sixty-five per cent cited donating money.

Douglas Alexander, Secretary of State for International Development, said: “Many people give regular donations to aid and development charities – which is marvellous – but research shows that more and more people are looking for additional ways they can make a difference.”

The poll also found that 61 per cent of people felt they had a personal responsibility to help relieve poverty and most cited charities as the biggest influence on their decision to take action.

Stefanie Pfeil, fundraising director at the anti-poverty charity War on Want, said ethical shopping was important but that people should continue to donate to charity.

“Consumers can help some poor people through buying products from ethical sources,” she said. “But fairly traded goods represent only a small proportion of all purchases. Shoppers can help people in developing countries by applying pressure to British retailers.

“Donations to charities such as ours support campaigns for binding UK legislation to stop corporate abuse.”

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