Fair Trade’s Future
The Fair Trade movement is momentarily undergoing a massive change
from an alternative trading mechanism to becoming a part of the market.
interest and participation of multinationals such as Starbucks emphasizes
commercial opportunities. However small the Fair Trade share of these
companies - it's the Fair Trade name
that draws customers and increases profits.
The awareness of Fair Trade has risen dramatically which is mirrored
in a greater sale of these products. A standard argument against
Fair Trade used to be its relatively high prices, but many Fair
items have higher quality to justify the inflated prices. Fair
Trade has catalyzed a shift towards more ethical consumption
and trading. Therefore, Fair Trade is now consumer-driven and producer-focused,
relying less on activists.
Either the saturation point might be reached soon
or the interest might prove to be short-lived. Furthermore, attention
be drawn towards producing their own low-cost non-Fair Trade labeled
product chains to promote a different approach towards addressing consumer
concerns. Globally, Fair Trade is still minimal, representing approximately
0.01% of all goods exchanged internationally as J. Vidal states in ‘Fair
Trade sales hit £100m a year’, The Guardian, 28 February:
There are several problems that might arise, if the market for Fair
Trade products grows too fast. Firstly, capital is going to be needed
for marketing and certification. Secondly, problems with
the current structure will arise because Fair Trade governance is not
for fast change and growth. Most importantly, there is no legal definition
of Fair Trade and thus, no protection against products that falsely
claim to be Fair Trade.
In the future, it is imperative for the Fair Trade movement to continue
building a market share, examining new Fair Trade opportunities, and
strengthening advocacy in the political arena.
For the future Fair Trade should continue to work on:
• building the Fair Trade brand, associating it with quality and launching
• communicating with consumers, especially targeting mass-market audience
• encouraging grassroots campaigning
• encompassing more different production lines, even though their supply
chains might be more complicated
• reevaluating regional differences on the producer as well as consumer
• encouraging South-South Fair Trade
• coordinating all the different labeling organizations, restructuring
them so that they become less bureaucratic and more efficient
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Courtesy of Celine Pastore
Courtesy of Yunnan Jiang
The next generation is preparing to enter the world market...
Photographed by Marcia C. Schenck