SEVERAL cathedral gift-shops have adopted a new marketing trend that has been shunned by their opposite numbers in leading secular visitor attractions.
The outlet at Leicester was the first to switch its souvenir Belgian chocolate bars to a Fairtrade product, followed by the cathedrals in Liverpool, Peterborough, Salisbury, Lichfield, Exeter, Oxford, Canterbury, and St Paul’s, in London.
The British Museum and Chester Zoo were among those who rejected approaches from the Meaningful Chocolate Company to sell certified Fairtrade chocolate. Tate Modern said that the bars did not “fit its current plans”.
At Leicester — where the recently reinterred Richard III is featured on the new bar’s wrapper — the Dean, the Very Revd David Monteith, said: “We believe this is a vital contribution to the service we offer in creating a fairer world, where people are properly rewarded for the work they do.”
Meaningful Chocolate acted after it failed to find any top attraction selling the ethically produced bars. It spent 18 months working with the Fairtrade Foundation, to develop a fast-track way to provide supplies for key venues.
The firm’s director, David Marshall, said that they had received a “mixed response” when they spoke to the UK’s top attractions. Chester Zoo ignored them altogether, he said. “However, cathedrals and smaller museums have led the way in saying ‘Yes.’” Lincoln Castle was the first castle to sign up, and Castell Henllys, in Pembrokeshire, was the first ancient monument to switch.
King’s College, Cambridge, was the first college, and the Welsh Oriel Gallery the first gallery to change. The Scottish Parliament now stocks Fairtrade chocolate — the first national legislature in the world to do so, it is believed.
“It’s time that all tourist attractions switched souvenir chocolate to a certified Fairtrade blend,” Mr Marshall said. “Customers did something similar in the 1980s by convincing supermarkets to stock Fairtrade products or switch their own brands to Fairtrade.
“The Fair Tourism Bar Campaign, which we support, is aiming to make this the final year of unfair tourist chocolate in UK attractions. It can be done.”