Why Some Companies Are Against Fair Trade

Fair trade has been found to be beneficial and advantageous. Yet there are still companies that dislike the implementation of fair trade. Some companies involved in selling coffee, this area has been traditionally dominated by four major companies. These companies claim that the reason why coffee farmers continue to suffer is because of fair trade. They argue that the fair trade movement has allowed many farmers to enter the business of growing coffee. Thus, according to them, this has lead to the overproduction of coffee and ultimately to lower prices. They further argue that because fair trade sets a minimum price, high-cost producers are prevented from exiting the market. Without the minimum price, some producers would likely go out of business ensuring that the supply of coffee goes down and thereby increasing the price.

SkyscraperThe real problem lies  not in why they complain about the implementation of fair trade but in how they have managed to circumvent some of the rules and thus threatening to discredit the whole movement entirely. What these coffee companies did was to have their own ethical branding of their respective products. Thus consumers are unable to distinguish which are fair trade coffees and which are not due to the saturation.

Thus some fair trade organizations are developing a unique certification mark. Thus this ensures that the minimum price remains at $1.25 per pound and that the premium is still investment for social services. Still the fair trade organizations admit that ethical labeling has somewhat decreased the effectiveness of certification logo. The certification has been, for a long time, one of the major advantages that fair trade has over multinational corporations. But because of the ethical labeling this same uniqueness has been undermined. Thus by having their own implementation of fair trade, they have managed to deceive consumers.

One company for example has the FLO label on their products simply because it buys its coffee from producers that carry the fair trade certification. Another company has also managed to get a certification despite the fact that its ability to mass produce coffee has been one of the reasons why small coffee farmers are facing problems.

Multinational companies will always try to do what they can to gain the much needed competitive advantage. It is up to fair trade organizations to ensure that the implementation of fair trade corrects this error.

What do you think?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this tricky topic of the implementation of fair trade.
Cheers – Steph

Would you buy Fair Trade shoes?

Why should you buy fair trade shoes? By purchasing fair trade shoes, you are supporting the original producers of the materials that was used to make the shoes. Unlike other shoes, fair trade shoes assist in the development of the local communities of the suppliers by paying a fair wage and investing in local projects. By purchasing fair trade shoes it provides suitable working environments for the workers.

Blue Fair Trade Sandals, the more decorative style of Fair Trade Shoes.
Blue Fair Trade Sandals, the more decorative style of Fair Trade Shoes.

Fair trade products is about making decent working conditions, better prices, fair terms of trade and local sustainability for workers and farmers in the third (developing) world that are manufacturing fair trade products. By requiring fair trade shoe companies to pay sustainable prices for their goods, buying fair trade shoes addresses the injustices of conventional trade, which traditionally hurts the poorest, weakest shoe producers. It enables them to improve their position and have more control over their lives.

If you have ever bought Fair Trade shoes I’d love to hear from you and tell me what you think of them!

Who started Fair Trade?

The movement of fair trade started over sixty years ago with the founding of Ten Thousand Villages. The organization was the brainchild of Edna Ruth Byler, a businesswoman who was struck by the poverty that she witnessed when she went on a trip to Puerto Rico. She believed that artisans in developing countries can have sustainable economic opportunities if they were provided them with a viable marketplace in other rich countries.

Ten Thousand Villages builds long term buying relationships with artisans who then receive a fair price for their work and consumers have access to fair trade gifts, fair trade products, accessories and home décor from around the world. This is a win win for all!


Profits made on the back of child labour

Take a look at this disturbing report on child labour in an Australian newspaper.
A damning report on the Australian fashion industry shows 93 per cent of brands do not know where their cotton is sourced from, making it likely child labour and exploitation have been involved. The bulk of the world’s cotton is sourced from countries that force children to pick cotton harvests. -The Age



Where to find Fair Trade Shoes