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Fair Trade Products

Volume 400: debated on Monday 3 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her policy is on the purchase for departmental use, of fair trade products. [99241]

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury on 9 December, Official Report, column 92W. The Government are committed to supporting ethical trading wherever possible within the boundaries set by the public procurement rules and provides significant support to the Fair Trade Foundation's efforts in promoting the supply and marketing of fair trade products.This is reflected from Defra's Green Guide for Buyers, http://www.sustainable-development.gov.uk/sdig/improving/partf/greenbuy/index.htm, and the work that departmental officials are undertaking with Defra's catering contractors to the purchasing approach within my private office. In consultation with them Defra has produced a catering action sheet that, among other things, calls for promotion of fair trade or ethically produced food by, where appropriate, reflecting such needs in non-discriminatory specifications in line with user requirements. Defra has been negotiating with its catering contractors to put fair trade tea and coffee on their menus and to supply such drinks whenever official hospitality is provided. These arrangements should be in place shortly in Defra canteens in the following locations: Guildford, Reading, York, London and the Central Science Laboratory.