March 23, 2009
Free trade encourages the unfettered exploitation of people and the planet. Fairtrade started to be recognized in the 1960s, with Fairtrade coffee and tea. The principle has always been great – fair trade growers and craftspeople receive a guaranteed price above the world market, plus a “Fairtrade premium” that is used to fund community projects and schools.
Over the last decade, Fairtrade has really taken off, with $3.6 billion in trade organized by over 700 registered Fairtrade organizations in 58 developing countries.
In Britain, the sugar giant Tate & Lyle switched all of its sugar production to fair trade; Sainsbury’s only sells Fairtrade bananas, and the Coo-op and M&S (huge retail chains) only sell Fairtrade tea and coffee - no other brands.
UK sale of Fairtrade goods increased by 72% in 2007, and Britain now buys almost 30% of the world’s total value. In Sweden, it grew by 116%.
The message is “Buy Fairtrade – and have faith!” It is totally reasonable to continue to visualize a world where all trade is Fairtrade, and “free trade” is seen as akin to slavery.
First published in EcoNews: A monthly newsletter funded by your donations that dreams of a world blessed by the harmony of nature, the pleasures of community, and the joys of personal fulfillment, guided and protected by our active citizenship.