At the Fairtrade meeting, last week, one of the members brought along a copy of the Shared Interest annual review. Shared Interest is the only 100% fairtrade lender in the world, and when the Hay group have some money in the bank, we invest it with Shared Interest, knowing that it will be going where it is needed most. It's their Twentieth Anniversary this year, and they are now active in sixty three countries.
Despite a difficult year in the present economic situation, the Annual Review does mention several success stories. The Hadrian's Wall area - ten miles each side of the Roman wall stretching from the east to the west coasts - is the first World Heritage Site, National Trail and international zone to be awarded Fairtrade status! That's a lot of towns, communities, businesses and schools all coming together to make it happen.
Shared Interest now also have a book out, about their achievements. Harriet Lamb, the Executive Director of Fairtrade Foundation, wrote the foreword, saying: "Never has the mission of Shared Interest been more relevant than today, as the organisation celebrates its twentieth anniversary. All around us lies the wreckage of conventional financing. The reluctant recession means tough times for us all. But if it's tough for us, it is desperate for smallholders and workers in developing countries."
They have also made video blogs on the Fairtrade Big Swap theme - swap your conventional item for a Fairtrade version. This led them away from the usual tea and coffee to such exotic Fairtrade items as socks and vodka!
Their website is now on the list of links on the sidebar.