1. ITV Report

Green Britons can now be buried in fair trade coffins

The coffins will be made at a site employing around 70 people in the Nilphamari district. Photo: The Co-Operative/PA Wire

Handmade bamboo and willow coffins from Bangladesh are being made available in the UK, carrying with them a fair trade status.

The move comes amid increasing demand for alternative materials for coffins as woodland burials become increasingly popular.

Co-operative Funeralcare, which will offer the coffins at more than 900 homes across the UK, said "green" funerals grew 20% in 2011, with one in 20 coffins now bespoke.

Campaigners said producers will be ensured decent working conditions and a fair price.

Fair trade organisation Traidcraft, which has officially endorsed the coffins, said the initiative was "providing hope for the future in a region of Bangladesh which has been blighted by extreme poverty."

The coffins will be made at a site employing around 70 people in the Nilphamari district.

The finished product for the ethically minded burial. Credit: The Co-Operative/PA Wire

Traidcraft visited the factory and growers to ensure the producers have decent working conditions and are paid a fair price, while ensuring the suppliers of the raw materials also receive a fair payment.

Co-operative Funeralcare's head of marketing, Lorinda Robinson, said the launch of the fairly traded coffins was a "natural, if unusual, progression" of the firm's support for fair trade.

The growing consumer choice of ethical products and rise of personalisation in funerals is driving interest in such products. The coffins are of the highest quality and the fairly traded coffin endorsement will guarantee that the producers in Bangladesh directly benefit, as Traidcraft independently verifies that they work in decent working conditions and receive a fair price.

– Lorinda Robinson