Fair Trade: In whoose name?

June 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

Does Fair Trade work? Is Fair Trade good? These are just a couple of the questions that i’ve noticed on Fair Trade and Ethical trade forums recently. And to be honest that’s what we all really want to know. So I was curious to read  the Fairtrade Foundation’s literature review entitled ‘The Last 10 Years’.  It’s an incredibly interesting report which you can download for free from the Fairtrade Foundation’s website.What struck me is how few studies such as this one by FLO actually ask individuals working for co-operatives what they think  of Fair Trade.

‘In the majority of cases individual producer knowledge of Fairtrade was found to be limited’. (FLO, 2009)

If part of the aim of Fairtrade is to empower smallholders, and if Fair Trade is a political movement that campaigns for trade justice isn’t it important that those who work in Fair Trade at the very least understand what it is? And surely if Fair Trade is a political movement shouldn’t the people working in Fair Trade be actively involved, setting the agenda and driving through change.