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How Namibian charcoal workers pay a high price for the cheap British barbecue.

We have been quoted in the Independent Newspaper in an article about a report by FERN about the effects of imported charcoal from Namibia and the miserable conditions that charcoal workers suffer. Namibia produces over 60% of charoal imported into Britain and very little of it is from certified sources. Read the full newspaper article or Download a PDF of the Report by FERN here.

We responded to the Independent with the following letter, which they have published...

"Dear Editor, I was pleased to see the article in the Independent last Sunday highlighting the Playing with Fire article from FERN, which shines a light on the importation of charcoal into this country. I was, however, disappointed that the article suggested that the only definite assurance that the public could have of ethical charcoal purchase was the FSC standard. Research would have shown that charcoal produced in this country is entirely ethical and sustainable but rarely carries the FSC logo. The FSC scheme has a number of failings, as pointed out in the FERN report, but in addition its' cost is prohibitive to small UK producers. The fact that we do not register for this scheme does not in any way lessen our product. Other assurance schemes, namely Grown in Britain, can provide this for UK producers at an affordable cost. It is a shame that after reading your article consumers are led to believe that charcoal imported from Namibia carrying the FSC logo would be preferable to charcoal produced in this country.

Yours faithfully,   Jim Bettle - Dorset Charcoal"



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