FAIR TRADE and the Consumer Conscience

Fair Trade Corporate Social ResponsibilityWell, there’s been some challenging comments about Fair Trade thrown around  in the media in the last few weeks in Norway.  Does it actually deserve a response?  I think it does.

No matter how many Investors, Corporations or Wholesalers that try to get a slice of the pie, Fair Trade is making huge improvements in the lives of the farmers and workers that are involved. Fair Trade agreements insure that funds are given back to the community for vital social improvements. Schools and daycare for workers children are built where they have never been before. Salaries are guaranteed to be at a determined competitive wage and working conditions are significantly improved. There are improvements to farming techniques, harvesting and agricultural preservation.

But why should we support the poor and uneducated? Some people say we do it to ease a bad conscience, but I don’t believe I have the conscience to do otherwise!

If there are any questions about the EU and conflicting interest with Fair Trade, you can find that there are absolutely no truths to those feeble acquisitions.

“The Fairtrade Foundation has … warmly welcomed a ruling from the European Court of Justice that gives public procurers across Europe absolute legal clarity on public buyer’s right to demand Fairtrade or fairly traded goods.” May 10, 2012

“European Court of Justice stated that authorities tendering for new business can use criteria based on considerations of ‘an environmental or social nature.”

The Court also explicitly stated it is possible to refer in award criteria “to the fact that a product is of fair trade origin”. This means that public authorities can give preference to a bidder who includes Fair Trade criteria.

“What this ruling does is remove any lingering doubts about the legality of making production ethics a buying criteria.  Procurers are a naturally cautious bunch, therefore this new legal clarity now paves the way for all public food and cotton buying to be as ethical as possible.”

Read more about the EU ruling.

Fair trade – a definition
Fair trade: is defined at international level 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,
marginalized producers and workers – especially
in the South. Fair trade organizations (backed by
consumers) are engaged actively in supporting
producers, raising awareness, and campaigning
for changes in the rules and practice of
conventional international trade.
This definition comes from FINE, which brings
together the four main fair-trade networks, Fair
Trade Labeling Organizations International
(FLO), World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), the
former Network of European Worldshops
(NEWS!), and the European Fair Trade
Association (EFTA).

South American Crisis Supports Fair Trade Coffee

Consumers can provide some relief to Central American farmers by choosing to buy fair trade coffee certified by Fairtrade International (FLO), which provides a minimum guaranteed price and “social premiums” to build things like schools, roads, hospitals, and coffee facilities. Fair trade only reaches a tiny proportion of coffee farmers, however, around three per cent of the world’s products. More about South American Fair Trade Coffee.

Sheww, glad I got that off my chest!  Happy Friday!!!

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