DELIGHTED staff at a York business, which is a pioneer of Fair Trade, are celebrating a landmark anniversary.

Shared Earth has survived five recessions but is still going strong after 30 years in business.

The first Shared Earth shop opened on October 10, 1986, in Goodramgate, York, moving to its present location in Minster Gates in 1991.

The company now has three shops in total, with one other in York - Elysium in Bootham Bar - and another in Liverpool, and all three only sell Fair Trade products.

It is also a wholesaler of Fair Trade and eco products, selling to 1,000 other retailers in the UK and abroad, and it imports from 30 producer groups in Asia, Africa and South America.

Jeremy Piercy, who founded the business, said: “It’s a great feeling to know that you have kept a business going through many difficult years, when most of the shops around you have changed hands, often many times.

“This would not have been possible were it not for the wonderful support of our customers who obviously want to buy great handmade products, but they are also glad that their purchases are benefitting others and not just themselves.

“As a result of this call for a ‘fairer world’, many large chains and supermarkets have initiated ethical buying standards. These ensure that children are not exploited, artisans and factory workers have better working conditions, and raw materials are more sustainable. In this way Fair Trade has made a difference to millions of lives around the world, and I feel privileged to have been part of this process.”

Rachael Maskell MP for York Central attended a ceremony yesterday to celebrate Shared Earth’s achievements.

She said: “Jeremy Piercy and his team at Shared Earth are doing a fantastic job and I congratulate them on 30 years trading in York.”