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Fair Trade Notes

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Fair Trade notes Ethical objections to Fair Trade - Griffiths, 2011?????

Fair Trade is a commercial brand, the Fairtrade Foundation have been v successful in persuading customers that it does ethical trading.
PS799m turnover in UK in 2009. Retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers are free to charge whatever they wish for Fairtrade products. Fairtrade does not monitor or control how much extra they charge, price comparisons for customers also virtually impossible. Valkila et al 2010 - consumers in Finland paid considerably more for Fairtrade certified coffee than for alternatives, but that only 11.5% of the extra paid went to the exporting country. Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International (2010) on average 1.53% of the retail price reaches the Third World as extra payment from FT membership. Much of the extra price paid goes as extra profit in rich countries - unethical (the money will make very little difference in these countries compared to the difference it would have made in the third world). Failure to disclose this - unfair trading. FT system required importers to pay the minimum price set by FT, pay a premium price, provide credit for prefinancing so that FT cooperatives can pay cash on delivery, enter into LT contracts. Some buyers pay the license fee but do not pay the exporters the money they are obliged to in order to call the product FT. in a position to tell exporters they will buy FT coffee at less than the proper price, and if they refuse, buy from another cooperative, and they will have to sell at an even lower price. Failure to provide credit. Importers may pay cash on delivery, or pay late, or just not honour their contracts if world prices move against them. Failure to control these problems effectively, the failure to admit to the problems, and adopting a system where these problems arise - they do not arise with normal charity to the third world. Retailers are under an ethical obligation to give consumers information about how much money reaches the third world.

Fair Trade and organic initiatives confronted with Bt cotton in Andhra Pradesh India: A paradox - Makita 2012


FT and organic initiatives being increasingly fused - about half of FT coffee is also organic. More appealing to Northern buyers.
? FT standards requiring environmentally sustainable practices have directly and indirectly encouraged participant farmers to adopt organic farming technology.
? Marginal and small farmers are at a disadvantage in terms of access to organic certification. Balance between biodiversity of their farms and focus on a specific FT crop.
? Cotton sector, use of GM Bt hybrid seeds to increase cotton yields and reduce chemical inputs. Banned under organic and FT certification. Howevs FT more lenient - would not be fair to punish farmers whose crops have been accidentally contaminated by pollen from GM crops.
? When such a new technology is introduced, how do farmers choose between the innovation, FT and organic farming?
? FT for the benefit of the South, organic for the North.
? Organic movement can theoretically benefit Southern producers in two ways - their small scale natural farming with unsophisticated technologies may be evaluated as a positive sales point by Northern buyers and consumers, and organic farming may revitalize the soil and farmers' health that have been exhausted and harmed by conventional farming with chemical inputs under the green revolution. Conclusion
? Fair trade's dilemma between helping poor farmers and promoting organic farming may have indirectly allowed the FT farmers to incline towards conventional farming with GM seeds.
? If the farmers' associateion had pursued organic certification only, many of the member farmers might have chosen to continue organic pratices in order to decrease production costs. Howevs not easy for small farmers to obtain and maintain organic certification and compete with larger farmers in organic markets. If the association had pursued FT certification only, FT on its own might not have attracted members' interest because the FT certification itself guarantees neither stable markets nor better prices.
? Confluence of the two initiatives seems necessary for Northern buyers and Southern producers.
? Organic concerned with how farmers operate their land, FT concerned with how farmers gain from the target crop. Gap between farming practice and income generation - this could be what allowed GM seeds to intrude in the livelihood of small farmers. Only way to full the gap is to provide converting farmers with financial support such as pre-organic price premium during the conversion period if organic cash crop production is to be used as a means of poverty alleviation.

Mainstreaming fair trade: adoption, assimilation, appropriation - Low and Davenport, 2006?????Fair trade builds on a tradition of faith-based and secular international relief agencies who sold handcrafts to support WW2 refugees, alternative trade organizations in the North began importing and retailing goods produced by small and marginalized groups in the South to support international development. Educates consumers, demonstrates a practical alternative to trade that better serves needs of people in the global South Johnston 2002 - FT does not challenge the ideology of consumerism. 'Maybe it's true that the best the world's poor can hope for is a better pimp for their products'. Alternative Trade (encompassing FT, aswell as eco-labelling and organic movements) has evolved into a global social movement that merges an alternative business model with explicit political objectives to 'transform traditionally exploitative global production and trade relations' (Zadek and Tiffen, 1996). Original 'Charity Trade' model (Oxfam, SERRV, Mennonite Central Committee) embodied principles of active religious duty, self-help and human dignity but did not seek to challenge the social relations of production and consumption. 'Development Trade', late 1950s in the Netherlands, Catholic activists selling cane sugar. More emerged across the North over 60s & 70s. Rise of indigenous NGOs - 'Equal Development Trade' (BRAC in Bangladesh, TARA in India). Use trade as income generation for marginal people and to fund community development initiatives. Reflected evolving thinking about bottom-up strategies. More structured links developed as Alternative Trade Orgs, North and South, began to meet on an irregular basis to discuss strategy and ideas, and to share experiences. Through 4 peak bodies (FINE) members agree the standards of practice and conduct that currently constitute FT. Labelling, branding. Incorporates environmentalism, from 1980s, stringent European health and safety rules governing imports and increasing consumer concern about a range of environmental issues. FT can be viewed as part of the 'ethical consumer' movement. ATO growth 70s & 80s, due to appealing to its 'natural' consumer constituencies: members of faith-based orgs, leftist political groups, and groups committed to third world justice. Growth of ATOs/sales stopped by end of 80s. Due to global free trade agenda and reduction in tariff barriers over a range

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