What does it mean to be socially responsible and ethical?
It means living consciously and being aware and informed of our impact on the world around us, both in our human to human communication and our human to eco-systems interaction. It is about maintaining the balance between our economic growth and the welfare of our wider community and the environment.
We are challenged on a daily basis in keeping this balance.
How do we live in the world and be part of the world while staying true to our brand?
How do we resist the growing presence of mass produced products made from chemically generated synthetic materials and fabrics at hugely reduced cost to their natural and authentic alternatives?
How do we ensure that chemical additives, preservatives, flavourants and colourants are not present in the food that we sell? These are rife within the food production industry and even the fresh produce, raw materials, ingredients and animal products from which these are made are subjected to chemical production methods
How do we reduce the use of plastic in a world seemingly drowning in discarded plastic?
How do we preserve and nurture heirloom arts and crafts and the income that they can generate for small businesses?
What contribution are we making to the wellbeing of our fellowmen, animal life, the soil, the air, the water systems and the oceans?
So what are we doing?
We have taken responsibility to ensure the integrity of the organic fresh produce offered at the market. In 2005 we introduced a PGS (Participatory Guarantee System) to better oversee the organic fresh produce being supplied to the market. PGS is a locally focused assurance system of organic production enabling market access for organic smallholder farmers without the onerous cost of third party organic certification. PGS is supported by IFOAM Organics International as a means of creating sustainable and inclusive businesses and markets. Regular appraisal visits are made to these farms by our PGS to assess their management practices and production records, and customers are welcomed as key participants on these visits. The farmers’ PGS certificates listing the produce that has been approved may be seen in the fresh produce stalls that they supply at the market.
Inspired by the success of our PGS work we created four stallholder forums
Artists, Crafters and Jewellers Guild.
The purpose of these forums is to ensure that the ethos of the market is recognised and respected in each product segment of the market, and that solutions are sought to the challenges facing the stallholders in each product segment. We believe that it is the work done in these forums that sets us apart from other markets and similar businesses.
Our farmer and stallholder forums have become a key focus area of development within the market. It is an evolving process through which we aim to focus our consciousness on striving for social responsibility.