Message From Susy Welcome to Edition 15 of Fair News. A lot is happening in the lead up to Fair@Square. Some exciting news is that we are aiming to


Message From Susy

Welcome to Edition 15 of Fair News.
A lot is happening in the lead up to Fair@Square.

Some exciting news is that we are aiming to make our events as sustainable as possible and during Fair@Square 2012 will be planned and managed using a Sustainable Event Management Systems aiming to conform to the principles of ISO 20121 - The International Standard for Sustainable Event Management.
We are proceeding with Independent Third Party Certification to ISO 20121 through Bureau Veritas Certification.

We are also in the midst of our PR campaign and we will be attempting for the World Record for the longest row of hand-woven rugs.
The full length of the river terrace along the Yarra River at Federation Square will be covered in rugs as a demonstration of how mothers in Cambodia are desperately trying to keep their children from a life on the streets. Read the full Story

We are also looking forward to Instant Karma Roses doing a soft launch of their fairtrade certified roses at Fair@Square this year. Read their story and meet the founders at the Fair Talk tent at Fair@Square.

Our Fair Fashion Show Tickets are now available for sale. A great opportunity to see the latest in sustainable and ethical fashion, have some fun, meet other like-minded people and by the way we won't let you go home empty handed, we have great gift bags and door prizes.



Jen and Ric are co-founders of Instant Karma Roses, the first fairtrade certified importer of roses, both wholesale and retail, which will launch this December.

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Jen and Ric

Q. What made you decide to get into the fair trade flower business?
A. Jen has experience with running a flower business in the USA. That business dealt partly with fairtrade flowers. So she knows a little already about how that market works. I have had a long-standing interest in social justice. Seeing that there are no fairtrade roses available in Australia yet we thought, why not? Although the statistics are not entirely clear, we can conservatively estimate that at least 12% of the cut flowers sold in this country are imported, a third of which are roses from Africa and South America. With that in mind, why not make fairtrade certified roses available to the public? It is also a good opportunity to put our ethics to practice.

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fairtrade certified roses

Q. The fairtrade label was introduced in Australia about 10 years ago but the focus has been predominantly on coffee, chocolate and tea, how do you think people are going to react to fairtrade certified roses?
A.We are very encouraged already by people’s reaction to this idea of offering fairtrade certified roses. I think Instant Karma Roses will do well out of the gates because there is a good percentage of people out there who have the same interest in evening the odds for emerging economies, who want to help the struggling producers of these roses. I also think if we can spread the word about fairtrade certified products and what they do for the communities around the third world, then we can reach those who just don’t know yet how much of an impact their purchase of roses makes. That would be good for everyone.

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Q. What are some of the challenges you think you will face going forward?
A.We think the greatest challenges will be the logistics of moving a perishable product through the arduous process of overseas shipment and quarantine. The logistics of buying as much as we will be selling before we really have the distribution channels set up. Aside from those technical challenges, there is the constant task of reminding consumers that our product exists. And of course there will be consumers who say, “I’ll buy Australian. Besides, isn’t that better for the environment (ie- the carbon footprint left by flying roses halfway around the world)?” It’s about educating people about where their roses really come from as well, due to the lack of country of origin labeling requirements. We’ll just have to keep repeating the message that there is still a significant amount of roses being imported each year because Australian production can’t fulfill the demand. So why not go with the ethically-grown, imported roses?

Q. Tell us about the fairtrade certified roses you are going to import?
A. Our roses will be coming from Shalimar farms in Kenya. It is a massive farm that grows a wide variety of flowers. Most of the flowers are not fairtrade certified. However, the roses bought by Instant Karma Roses for import will be exclusively fairtrade certified. The communities immediately around this farm benefit from fair trade. Many of them are women with children. Kenya is a major producer of flowers, much of which are not fairtrade certified. Because of the disparity between emerging economies and western markets, most of these producers in Kenya never see a profit anything close to matching the work they put into production. Those producers who deal in fairtrade certified roses around Shalimar farm at least have better healthcare and work conditions. We want to be a part of that.

Q. What is your vision for your new venture and how will people be able to purchase fairtrade certified roses?
A. Instant Karma Roses will be launching a website in December of this year. It will offer roses both wholesale (Australia-wide) and retail (delivery within Melbourne suburbs only). In addition, we will be stocking an assortment of roses at various retail locations around Melbourne. This will include small like-minded ethically-inclined businesses, both fair-trade certified and non-fairtrade certified. Of course, the exact number and identity of retailers has not at this early date been determined. However we are encouraged by the number of businesses expressing interest.

We have a few more spots available for this year's Fair@Square. Contact Kelsey our lovely Exhibitor Manager for any query you have in regards to joining us at the event this year.


Meet some of our supporters

Bendigo Bank aims to be customer-connected but it’s also driven to generate positive community outcomes. Bendigo Bank thinks outside the square and partners with its customers in building a better community and to achieve this we have created a range of specialised banking products.

3zzz logo 2010

3zzz is Australia’s largest Community Ethnic Broadcaster serving over 100 Ethnic Communities in more than 75 languages. It broadcasts on 92.3fm, Digital ZZZ Ethnic and streams online.

ecostore logo 010411 hi res

ecostore Australia are proud to be sponsors of this year’s Fair@Square festival. Since 1993, our plant and mineral based formulations have focused on the health and wellbeing of people and the planet.


five:am – purely organic yoghurt that preserves the environment through every aspect of production. It’s just as much about what’s not in our food as what’s in it.

Green Lifestyle Type 300dpi

Green Lifestyle is the recent reinvention of Australia’s long-loved and leading green publication, G magazine.


Global Cafe Direct works with fair trade communities in South East Asia and South America to bring together the creme de la creme of the growers' Arabica coffee beans. Global Cafe Direct is also Australian Certified Organic, the beans are grown by the co-operatives without the use of synthetic chemicals or fertilisers, and most importantly, the Fairtrade label ensures a fair go for the coffee-growing communities in the developing world.

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