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Fair Trade, Eco and Ethical

Shared Earth Update

Shared Earth’s shops in York and Liverpool have now been open for nearly 3 weeks, and whilst the high street is quiet, it’s gradually getting better and we’re making enough money to pay our staff… just! Although some of our retail staff are still on furlough. Our Liverpool shop is doing well with mainly locals who are delighted to find us open again. York is not so good as we rely so much on tourists. We are selling hundreds of masks and have nearly 40,000 more on order from our Fair Trade suppliers in Sri Lanka – including a great rainbow design. For the discerning customer, who is of course passionate about the environment, we have special masks (already in stock) embroidered with the words ‘Protect Ourselves… Protect our Planet’.

Our wholesale customers are gradually starting to open again too and there is a general feeling that every week, things are getting better. As a business, Shared Earth is confident that it can outride the storm. The government’s support for small businesses has been a great help, and we have also benefitted from Oxfam’s generosity in making advance payments for its orders – Oxfam being our largest wholesale customer – despite not knowing when their goods will arrive in the UK.

However in many of the countries we buy from, things are not so good. Cases are sharply on the rise in India (an update will follow soon), Bangladesh, Peru, Kenya, even Madagascar, where there have only been 26 deaths. Two exceptions are Bali, which is hoping to open again for its vital tourist trade next month, and Thailand, where the government has left decisions to the experts – the medical profession – and where contact tracing has been quick and efficient.

Many of our suppliers overseas are doing a wonderful job supporting their artisans and their communities but all are desperate for orders so the artisans can get back to work and earn a living for themselves. Our ability to do this is based on what we can sell, so we urge you to continue supporting us – and the people who rely on us – by placing orders, however small.

As a member of the Parliamentary Review, we have written to about 100 MPs in the North and North West, and had answers from several, supporting especially our call for a recovery based on a new environmental awareness and concern. During the lockdown we have commissioned energy and insulation surveys on our shops and on our warehouse in Suffolk – insulation being an area in which thousands of jobs could be created if the will were there. About 30% of our carbon emissions are related to our homes and proper insulation can make a big difference. Acting on the recommendations in these surveys will be one of our priorities over the coming months.

Jeremy Piercy

MD, Shared Earth

Created On  6 Jul 2020 10:55 in Coronavirus  -  >>


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