Equally at home in modern tales like Bridget Jones's Diary and costume dramas depicting days of yore like Girl With A Pearl Earring, Colin Firth makes a serious impact on screen. Whether it's his eyes, his accent or simply his good acting, you can't help but pay attention. Now he has people paying attention outside of the movie theaters with his big-hearted endeavors. With the opening of his new eco-friendly store and a huge supporter of fair trade projects, Colin's mission is to help the world, one purchase at a time.
A worldwide crisis that doesn't get much press, industries such as those growing and selling coffee earn top dollar for their products, yet pay the hardworking growers as little as possible. As far as Colin and others active in fair trade initiatives are concerned, it's about equal rights for everyone. So in 2002 Colin joined Oxfam, supporting their Make Trade Fair campaign. He's traveled to Ethiopia to personally meet the farmers and witness their hardships. He personally lobbied the head of the World Trade Organization in support of fair trade. And as an Oxfam board member, Colin uses his celebrity wiles to build awareness for a cause he's so committed to.
He's also Co-Director of a fair trade coffee house chain in the UK, Café Progresso, which allows the coffee growers to receive a guaranteed fair price for the coffee they supply. These growers also profit in that they actually own a share of the business. Right now there are two Café Progresso coffee shops in London, but they hope to use additional profits (not the ones given to the farmers) to open even more. And Colin is more than the pretty celebrity face who stays hidden in the shadows. He took health and safety training to work at the shops. So don't be too surprised if you look behind the counter to see an A-list movie star preparing your cappuccino.
Colin's newest endeavor pairs fair trade with an eco-friendly, socially responsible lifestyle. Co-created along with his wife, brother and friend, Eco (www.eco-age.com) is simply described as an 'ecological destination store.' Located in West London, the shop uses solar energy, stocks fair trade goods and staffs environmental experts to teach customers how to make their homes greener. The goal was also to create an exciting and pleasurable shopping experience so there will be plenty of events and exhibitions of ethical art. At Eco you can buy everything from green cleaners and energy saving appliances to recycled pencils and natural paint.
So next time you find yourself in London, I encourage you to support these worthwhile retail shops. Grab a fair trade latte at Café Progresso before browsing the green goods at Eco. You'll be helping the world, buying great stuff and, hey, you may even run into Colin.