Ethical effort in Woodend

Margaret Leahy (left) is pictured with Woodend General's Louise Pannell and the store's range of Australian-made pottery.

A Woodend resident has recruited local businesses to join a campaign promoting the sale of ethically produced products.

Margaret Leahy is a member of ACRATH – Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans – an organisation committed to supporting and advocating for people in exploited and forced labour around the world.

She is encouraging people to be more conscious of how the products they buy are made.

“It’s an attempt to get shoppers to think about the conditions under which the products they’re buying are made,” Margaret said.

“It’s quite difficult to have products certified slavery free.

“Fairtrade International is one certification and Rainforest Alliance is another, but with clothing and other household products it’s very difficult to trace the supply chain.

“I have undertaken to work on this area with a number of Woodend traders by asking them to attempt to find at least one product in their range that is produced from a slavery free source and in a slavery free supply chain.

“The traders have been very receptive and keen to help raise awareness of the need to promote this issue.”

Seven businesses in Woodend have signed on to Margaret’s campaign to attempt, where possible, to source slavery free products.

One of those stores is Woodend General, which stocks as many locally made and Australian-made products as possible – including ceramics from Mud Australia, Adele Mercer, Kim Wallace and Red Fox Pottery – and a range of German kitchen products that are certified slavery free.

“Whether or not they’re made in Australia or overseas they’re all slavery free and as much as possible we source Fairtrade and ethically made products,” store owner Louise Pennell said.

“We’re all about encouraging people to buy once and buy well, and really consider their purchase.”

Other stores taking part in the campaign include Endangered, which stocks products by local producers and artisans, and Mort and Pestle, which has a number of lines of products made in humanitarian conditions, such as a range of African crockery.

To join the campaign contact Margaret on 0408 310 868 or email