"Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. Byrequiring companies to pay sustainable prices, Fairtrade addresses the injustices of conventional trade, which traditionally discriminates against thepoorest, weakest producers. It enables them to improve their position and havemore control over their lives." http://www.fairtrade.com.au/about
Fair Trade is not without its critics. Because of its focus on small farmers andcraftspeople, the fair trade movement has been accused of trapping its suppliers in poverty rather than helping to develop more economically-efficient modes of production. For some, buying Fair Trade produces feels like tokenism.The eradication of extreme poverty, they argue, can only be accomplishedthrough modern market forces.
Do fair trading practices lead to dependency or self-sufficiency? Is Fair Trade only a marketing ploy that makes customers in developed countries feel better about their good fortune? Does Fair Trade really bring families and communities out of poverty, or does it just raise theirwages by a margin that has no long-term effect? Questions like these form part of a larger debate about aid programs in general. Evidence for success is often anecdotal and contradictory. Still, many farmers and workers in developing countries, as well as a number of organizations dedicated to helping them achieve economic stability and progress, believe that Fair Trade works.
Make someinquiries of your own. Should you buy Fair Trade chocolate, coffee, tea, bananas, and cotton garments? If you find the movement's arguments convincing, how can you make Fair Trade purchases and encourage others to do the same? An international label identifies products that meet the standards of the Fairtrade Foundation.