Wednesday, April 4, 2007

How fair is fair trade?

Fred Pearce looks at the reality of fair trade coffee direct from mount Kilimandjaro. Is it fair to buy a pound of coffee for $1.46 from the small producer when the retail price in britain is $ 12? Is it fair to use the fair trade label when the difference in purchasing price between the "Fair Trade" labelled coffee and the regular coffee is only 20 cents per pounds (coffee market price is $1.26 per pound)? Is fair trade only a conscience white wash?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Fair Trade label has definitely become a marketing gimmick. Most buyers of Fair trade products falsely believe this label guarantees that the product was made under ideal working conditions.
However, the Fair Trade label only certifies that the ingredients of the product are GROWN under fair trade conditions. The label is often an excuse for retailers to charge premium prices! and consumers fall for it .

To make it more credible the supply chain should be exposed, perhaps on the product label. This may ultimately improve the conditions for all workers in involved in production. Often the fair trade farmers are merely a production force abused by the landowner and in many countries the farmers only receive 5 per cent of the profit
True Fair trade can be the way forward and the idea is catching on in Lebanon but with the current trend for importing products it will be tought to implement. Leaflets promoting Fairtrade with the slogan“ Whats in your cake? ” , were lying on a table next to a stand selling cookies covered with multi coloured icing. Well, the flour has been imported from US and the eggs from Syria and the food colouring from Germany …………...Fair trade?