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App aims to give ethical Christmas shopping a fair go

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An app is giving shoppers the opportunity to make sure Christmas presents are ethically sourced.
Photo: 123RF

A free app developed in New Zealand is giving online shoppers the chance to avoid buying Christmas presents tainted by slave labour.

Find Fair is an internet browser extension – developed by the ethical shopping directory fair&good – which marks ethically produced products with an orange stamp of approval in online search results.

The co-founder of fair&good, Dr Susan Maiava, said New Zealanders spent an average of $1700 a year on products linked to child labour, forced labour, debt bondage or human trafficking.

“That’s over $30 a week, on things like clothing, electronic goods and food.

“I know New Zealanders don’t want to be complicit in this. So by shopping ethically, we’re giving New Zealanders the power to shop for good.”

According to research commissioned by fair&good, two-thirds of consumers surveyed found it difficult to know which products were ethically produced.

Find Fair, which was launched in November, makes it easy to identify ethically sourced goods.

Maiava said modern slavery has risen sharply in the last few years, due to the combined economic devastation from Covid and climate change.

“That’s tipped more people into poverty, and the desperation that comes with losing your livelihood makes you more vulnerable to getting caught up in a form of modern slavery.”

Globally there are 50 million people living in modern slavery – an increase of 10 million over the past five years, according to the 2021 Global Estimates of Modern Slavery Report. Nearly 60 percent live in the Asia-Pacific region.

Maiava, who has spent 40 years working in the development field, said ordinary consumers have “tremendous purchasing power”, which makes companies take notice.

Last year New Zealanders spent a record $5.2 billion at retail stores in the six weeks prior to Christmas and nearly $100 million on Boxing Day.

“Spending your money ethically is one of the most powerful tools we have to tackle modern slavery.

“By simply choosing to buy your Christmas gifts from ethical brands you can support human rights and have a positive impact on the lives of the people who make your presents.”

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