British actor Colin Firth believes more celebrities should use their stardom to highlight good causes, especially the environment.

“I’m not against the idea of celebrities using what they have to raise awareness, " he said recently. “But you have to be very circumspect about how you employ it.”

Born in Hampshire, England, Firth has become the benchmark for the perfect English Gentleman in modern film, and is perhaps best known for his portrayal of Mr Darcy in Jane Austin’s Pride And Prejudice. It seems that for almost every role he takes on, from the almost tragically over-mothered Mark Darcy in Bridget Jones Diary to love-struck writer Jamie Bennett in Love Actually, female movie-goers fall over themselves to look up into his smoldering eyes.

In 2007, the actor opened Eco Age, an eco-friendly shop in Chiswick, London. The store, lit and heated by sunlight, is fully self-sustainable and offers shoppers the chance to buy commodities that are completely environmentally friendly.

Firth’s three-storey shop offers a huge array of eco items, ranging from a bamboo computer to recycled pencils, solar mobile phone and MP3 chargers, natural paint and wallpaper, environmental kitchen appliances, Estonian Christmas decorations, and coat hangers recycled from old chairs.

“It’s all about rethinking our habits,” said Firth just before the shop opened to the public. “A huge number of people support the idea of eco-living, but don’t know what to do next.”

Firth is also actively involved in Oxfam, Amnesty International, Make Trade Fair and Survival International.

He is the celebrity face of Progreso, the world’s first chain of fair-trade coffee shops.

Colin participated in the ‘Click’ add for Make Poverty History, clicking his fingers every three seconds to symbolize the death of a child in the developing world.

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