Cards Galore Awarded 'Scrooge' Prize
Firm gives the lowest amount to charities at Christmas
Christmas cards are still an important source of funding for many charities yet too often companies are making a commercial profit at their expense.
The Charities Advisory Trust has recently revealed some of the worst offenders with Cards Galore coming out top.
As charity card shops begin opening their doors in the Ealing area Jun Taoka, volunteer from Card Aid writes about ethical and unethical trading at this time of year.
It is an amazing achievement to think how far consumer awareness has risen in the past few years, with sales of certified Fairtrade products reaching £500million in 2008 compared to only £16million in 1998.
Certainly a large number of mass producers are paying attention to this growing consumer demand. In the UK, which now has the largest Fairtrade market, we are all inescapably consumers of mass produced goods that have been handled, assembled, prepared, packaged, and often delivered over large distances.
It is therefore as consumers that we become powerful agents with the ability to influence the social and environmental actions that take place to make so many of the goods that we buy on our supermarket shelves today. Ethical shopping is great; we, as consumers, can feel great knowing that we are making a real difference to the lives of those at the other end of the production chain, or in the environmental sustainability of the processes involved in the things we buy. Indeed, the figures that show the growing market for ethically produced goods is an encouraging indication that we are a nation with a growing consumer conscience.
But, how often do we believe goods to be ethical, eco-friendly or charitable, when in reality, they aren’t? Could it be that some companies seek an opportunity to continue to mask their unethical and cost cutting procedures masked by an uplifting face of advertising? It’s a shocking prospect that companies are taking our good faith to tap in to a moral market in order to maximise their sales.
Every year the Charities Advisory Trust reveals the ‘Scrooge Awards,’ listing commercial companies who profit from so called ‘charitable Christmas cards’ at the expense of charities, with the worst culprits having given as little as 2% to their charity in the past.
Charity cards used to be an important way of earning money for charities. People bought charity cards to show their friends that they were caring, decent people. Realising that it was a profitable market, high street retailers decided to muscle in on the charity card market as a way to boost their sales. With no legislation to control the amount going to charity, companies could give as little as 2% to charity and still label the card as a charity card. Years of campaigning by the Charities Advisory Trust has successfully pushed the charity donation to a minimum of 10% for most cards. But now, retailers are slashing prices. This undermines sales of real charity cards, those sold through the charities and through temporary charity Christmas card shops, where 40-60% of the purchase price goes to the charity work.
This year’s Scrooge Award goes to Cards Galore. Out of 36 designs on show, 35 gave below 10% to charity. Also, the cards with the lowest percentage going to charity were found at Cards Galore, with less than 4.5% going to British Heart Foundation. Harrods and Fenwicks follow closely behind with over half of their cards giving less than 10% to charity. Clearly the direction of profits on these so called charity cards is questionable.
Card Aid, an initiative of the Charities Advisory Trust, on the other hand guarantees that every penny of profit goes directly to charity. Over the past 25 years, Card Aid has helped raise millions of pounds for charitable causes.
If you want your actions to make a real positive difference this Christmas, then please pop in to one of our Card Aid shops. There are over 30 Card Aid shops in and around London now open stocking a wide range of high quality cards.
October 28th, 2009