Thursday, November 27, 2008

The global fair

"Transfair claims that it is ethically superior vis-à-vis usual trade practices. In a paper aimed at the press, Transfair affirms that ‘‘fair trade tackles the problems (of the world trading system, driven by profit maximisation for the few, regardless of labour standards, human rights and the environment) by putting people before profit’’.

Transfair also affirms that it offers its producing partners in the countries of the South ‘‘a fair price, long term cooperation, good working conditions, democratic working processes, and respect and promotion of human rights’’.

Transfair defines fair trade as ‘‘a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalised producers and workers - especially in the South’’.

But in some cases, its critics say, exactly the opposite happens.

On the one hand, Transfair established cooperation contracts in 2006 with the German discount supermarket Lidl -- which has been accused of selling dumped goods and of violating their own workers' rights. Dumped goods are goods sold at less than what it cost to produce them.

On the other hand, Transfair is also cooperating with international corporations such as Nestlé which has faced charges of exploiting water sources around the world without paying attention to the rights of local populations or the environment." (Thanks Marcy)

From IPSnews. I will say more about social responsibility and trade in my post about the agribusiness conference I am attending in Cairo.

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