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Remembering Roger: The Shared Interest Supporter Who Steered a Fairtrade Movement

Remembering Roger: The Shared Interest Supporter Who Steered a Fairtrade Movement
30 May 2023

We were saddened to learn of the death of Roger Sawtell, aged 95, a longterm supporter of Shared Interest. Roger was one of our founder members and served on our Council from 1990 to 1997. He also sat on the steering group set up by Traidcraft, to consider the formation of a financial organisation aiming to do business for mutual service rather than for investor profit. It was out of this notion that Shared Interest was born. 

During our 20th anniversary year, we asked Roger how he thought the organisation would develop over the next 20 years. This was his response:

“As for the future, my experience of around 40 years around the co-operative movement is that small co-operatives are more successful than large ones in holding to their objectives. E.F. Schumacher’s ‘Small is Beautiful’ remains a strong influence…Shared Interest would never have happened without some out-of-the-box thinking and determination by the founders.”

Woven Into Our History

In an obituary featured in The Guardian newspaper, Roger’s grandson wrote: “He was guided on that path by his Christian beliefs, but also by a meeting he had in 1967 with the economist EF Schumacher, which affected him deeply and helped to shape the rest of his working life….Throughout the 1970s he also served as chair of the Industrial Common Ownership Movement (now Co-operatives UK), and he wrote a book, ‘How to Change to Common Ownership’, which was published in 1975.” 

Roger remained a valued member for 33 years and is bound into Shared Interest history thanks to his inspirational involvement, particularly in those very early days. We send our deepest condolences to his family and friends and join them in commemorating the fascinating and influential life he led.

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