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Should We Buy Ethical Gifts for Friends and Family This Christmas?

London, United Kingdom, December 13, 2009 --( The volunteer run news channel WORLDbytes run by the education charity WORLDwrite has released coverage of a feisty debate with leading advocates and critics on ethical shopping today.

Perfect timing for those considering what to put on their Christmas shopping lists, Ethical Shopping: The Pros and Cons debates and questions the concept of ethical shopping. Should we worry about what to put in our shopping trolleys? The experts are at logger heads on this one.

Pauline Tiffen, founder, Cafedirect and The Divine Chocolate Company argues: “Any consumer, or any company, has to examine its motives and I would throw the question back: can anybody really be ethical when they are only acting on self-interests? Be smart, be clever and spot the companies that are trying to make a difference. If necessary go behind the labels.”

However Ceri Dingle, director of education charity WORLDwrite, says we shouldn’t buy into it: “There is a repugnant message of ‘you nasty ignorant poor shoppers’ who are just not aware enough to be doing the right thing... The altruism in ethical consumption is actually about having less, making less impact, don’t do as much, don’t produce as much, don’t impact upon the environment too much….it doesn’t help us or our peers globally whatsoever. Helping to maintain a semi-subsistence existence for our peers in the developing world through fair-trade is not something we should feel good about. Treating Africa as a farm used to be the preserve of colonialists its now trendy ethical shopping advocates who are at it.”

Dan Rees, director of the ethical Trading Initiative, argues: “The uncomfortable truth is that collectively we in the UK as consumers, in society and as an influential player on the global stage ... are a very, very long way from being able to claim that we are all ethical now.... We need to look beyond this concept of what we’re putting in our shopping baskets. It’s not just one or two ethically labelled products we should be asking for, it’s absolutely everything in the shop.”

The programme Ethical Shopping: Pros and Cons is available to watch at

Contact Information
Ceri Dingle
For more information and interviews contact:
Viv Regan
Tel: +44 (0)7939 449 604 or +44 (0)20 8985 5435

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