27 June 2007 | Paul Snell
Gordon Brown is being called on to improve the public sector's record on ethical sourcing.
Charity Oxfam has produced a "manifesto" for Brown, who takes over as prime minister today, for him to carry out during his first 100 days in office. The proposals include starting a Treasury review of public procurement guidelines to "create a more enabling environment for ethical trading and fair trade".
The manifesto also urges Brown to declare the UK's intent not to impose higher export tariffs on goods from countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. The EU has already made a tentative offer to scrap tariffs and quotas on a number of goods, such as fruit and cereals, from these countries (News, 26 April).
The Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), an alliance of companies that includes Boots, Marks & Spencer and The Body Shop, supports the manifesto.
Dan Rees, ETI director, said: "The private sector is used to the government preaching to them about sustainability. It's now time for the government to catch up with the private sector in ethical sourcing. Until the public sector starts practising what it preaches any progress we make will continue to be limited."