Funerals going fair trade with bamboo coffins

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The first fairly traded coffins, handmade from bamboo and willow by workers in Bangladesh, are being made available in the UK, the Co-operative said.

The coffins, made at a site employing around 70 people in the Nilphamari district, close to where the raw bamboo is grown, will be offered at more than 900 Co-operative Funeralcare homes.

They have been endorsed by fair trade organisation Traidcraft, which said the initiative provided hope for people in a region blighted by extreme poverty.

The move comes amid increasing demand for alternative materials for coffins, such as bamboo and willow, as woodland burials become more popular.

The coffins have been assessed by Traidcraft, which visited the factory and growers to ensure the producers have decent working conditions and are paid a fair price, and that the suppliers of the raw materials receive fair payment.