Monday, March 06, 2006

A two-week birthday celebration for Fairtrade

The Fairtrade label is 12 years old today. In order to commemorate the milestone Fairtrade Fortnight begins today in the UK. The concept was established to redress the anomaly that the growers of some of the most exclusive and high quality agricultural commodities are so poor that they do not even have access to clean water. On its 12th birthday Fairtrade is not just about coffee and chocolate anymore, there are over 1300 Fairtrade certified products in the UK from footballs to flowers to wine and beer. The products are now found in many mainstream retailers. Fairtrade is a follow on from the Boston-based for-profit company Equal Exchange founded way back in 1986.

The economic benefits of these initiatives are disputed by some economists who question the wisdom of selling above the global market price. Such controversy is somewhat academic however as even the most optimistic forecasts suggest the Fairtrade industry will remain at a niche level. The high-profile growth of the Fairtrade movement may mean that is most far reaching beneficial result will be a broad improvement in ethical corporate behaviour.


Blogger Petr said...

fair trade and Equal Exchange (which is a co-operative) are not about charity or philanthropy as your title states ... they are about the co-operative values such as self help .

I recently read a great quote ... "not charity but self help, not aid but empowerment"

anyhow great site ... keep blogging ...

5:27 a.m.  
Blogger Colm said...

Thanks for your comment Petr,
That is a fair comment and I agree with the distinction, although I didnt properly appreciate the distinction previously I would mention that in my links I have them filed in consumer options rather than charity or philanthropy.
I'm including 'development economics' in the description anyway.

8:44 a.m.  

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