We had a lovely customer visiting us this week from Belgium. As well as stocking up on some of our fabulous fair trade treats, he was also keen to show us his preferred method of payment - a Fair Trade Credit Card!
The New B card is issued in Belgium and works on a co-operative model with any profits being reinvested into sustainable projects. Our friend explained that they had been unable (so far) to get the financial administration in place to run as a credit card as we would know it here in the UK, so at the moment the card works a bit like a pre-paid card - you load credit on to it and then spend it wherever you wish.
There is loads more information on the website, though I did have to use Google Translate - my Belgian is a little rusty :) It seems like a very innovative model and one that could be welcomed here in the UK given our recent history of banks acting in a less than transparent manner. Time and again "people power" has shown itself to be an effective tool for change - and projects like New B could be the start of something big. If you see an example of an unusual fair trade project in action, let us know and we'll feature it on the blog.