A rise in consumer demand to know the footprint behind products has seen Melbourne’s Moral Fairground fair-trade event achieve phenomenal growth, with organisers expecting some 75,000 visitors this year.
The event was started three years ago by Melbourne bankers Susanna Bevilacqua and Boby Vosinthavong, after they visited some of the poorest countries in South East Asia and witnessed the working conditions and environmental impact of mass consumerism.
Despite never organising an event before, Bevilacqua set out to seek corporate sponsorship and a venue, to build awareness and educate about ethical, socially responsible and environmentally aware businesses through a series of events. Within months she had Federation Square on board as a venue, and support from some of Australia’s most renowned brands – Oxfam, Cadbury and Lush – and signature event Fair@Square was born.
In the first year alone, more than 40 Australian businesses took part in the event which attracted 20,000 visitors. Just two years later, more than 80 businesses are involved in this year’s event and visitor numbers predicted to hit more than 75,000. For the first time, it will be supported by the City of Melbourne.
Mobium Group and FTAANZ research found 90 percent of adult consumers want retailers to offer eco-labelled products and more than 80 percent of Australians want clearer and simpler information on its benefit and impacts.
“The Fair@Square event offers a great opportunity for people to see the range of fair-trade products on display and meet with the growing number of social entrepreneurs who work directly with the producers to ensure quality products that are made sustainably,” Bevilacqua said.
The Fair@Square event aims to not only nurture that consumer interest but build on it, educating people as to why it’s so important to move to a more ethical way of life.
“It’s about not just doing what’s right by the environment, but doing what’s right by those who are sourcing the materials used, and ensuring people are treated fairly for the work they do, regardless where they live.”
The Fair@Square event will run from 2 to 4 December.