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Sustainable Development and Harry Hill is Fairtrade Nuts

Aug 27, 2008
We live in the age of the celebrity endorsement, so much so that it is often impossible not to think about a certain footballer when shopping for our latest pair of pants, or a certain model when lathering our scalps with a particular brand of shampoo.

All this is, of course, well and good, but there are far fewer products actually devised and launched by celebrity folk, and even fewer still that are not intended to further boost the bank balances of these notable persons, but that are, instead, launched with purely altruistic intentions.

There is the precedent of Paul Newman, whose personal recipe salad dressing is universally known, but now the Brit, one time doctor and BAFTA award winning comedian Harry Hill is following suit with his own brand of Fair Trade peanuts.

Each pack is sure to cause a chuckle or two from the lucky purchaser - not only does the design feature Hill's burnished bald head next to four peanuts, a comparison sure to draw a chortle from even the most veteran snack enthusiast, but in addition the products title, Harry's Nuts, is playfully grammatically inexact; is the apostrophe designed to denote possession, informing the pub goer that this brand of nuts is owned by Hill, or, think on it if we dare, is the apostrophe present to denote the missing letter i, inferring that, in fact, Hill himself is Nuts (i.e. mad)?

The comedian is working in partnership with the brand Liberation! Nuts, a company founded through a partnership between Twin Trading and Equal Exchange, the people behind the Cafedirect coffee products. Liberation! Nuts are 42% owned by the farmers who produce the nuts, whilst the rest is made up of Fair Trade organisations. The company made 1.6 million in its first year of business, and Hill's partnership will no doubt ensure that the company meets the expectation placed in it to double in size next year, thereby guaranteeing a fair wage to those farmers who produce the nuts, a fact that is not to be scoffed at.

Fair Trade focuses on a balance between good quality products and fair pay for workers. Their wages are normally far higher than those offered by other multi-national companies, who normally pay the legally required minimum wage in whatever country they are operating in, but who do not investigate actual living costs. In addition, Fair Trade schemes tend to not just utilize labour, but to also engage that labour within future decision making processes, so that the premium raised is spent on relevant, community driven projects.

In addition to endorsing sustainable community development, relevant Fair Trade products carry the logo of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which lets the potential customer know that the product in question has been produced in accordance with the council's criteria on sustainable forest and plantation management techniques.

Harry Hill has cut a rather nice niche for himself as a purveyor of ethical pub snacks; I for one will be glad that the delicate task of picking out a well-meaning food stuff after five pints has been made significantly easier. However, duel props should, I think, be given to the world kick-up champion Graeme Lightbody, who recently helped to publicise the good work of the Fair Trade organisation by juggling an ethically produced football all the way across Glasgow.
About the Author
Martin Gavin is a writer for the green comparison website ecoswitch
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