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Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Fair trade company annouces share issue
Cafe Direct the UK's largest fair trade hot drinks company is launching a public share issue designed to raise £5 million ($9.1 million).

At the moment world coffee prices are extremely low and many developing country farmers are being forced to sell their produce at a loss.

Cafe Direct is unusual, however, in that it agrees to pay farmers a guaranteed minimum price, which can be 2 or 3 times the market price, and ensures that a percentage of profits go into long-term invesment in the organisations of producer partners...

For those interested in buying shares, the minimum investment for those interested in buying shares is £300 and you can find out more about the share prospectus by visiting the Triodos Bank website.

Note: The International Federation for Alternative Trade's (IFAT) definition of Fairtrade is:

'Fairtrade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency + respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalised producers. Fairtrade organisations are engaged actively in supporting producers, awareness raising and in campaigning for changes in the rules and practice of conventional international trade.'

The goals of Fairtrade are:

* To improve the livelihoods and wellbeing of producers by improving market access, strengthening the producer organisations, paying a better price and providing continuity in the trading relationship.

* To promote development opportunities for disadvantaged producers, especially women and indigenous people, and to protect people from exploitation in the production process.

* To help consumers exercise their purchasing power positively, by raising their awareness of the negative effects of international trade on producers.

* To set an example of partnership in trade through dialogue, transparency + respect.

* To campaign for changes in the rules + practice of conventional international trade.

* To protect human rights by promoting social justice, sound environmental practices + economic security.