Hypocrisy of the ‘Fairtrade’!

Unlike those who gain publicity through Fairtrade, we have the integrity to address why unfair trade!
Councillor Husain Akhtar writes:
Unfortunately the Fairtrade is cleverly used as a high profile opportunity to show a surface feel for the diversity and empathy for the developing countries by touching on the effects rather than addressing the cause such as unfair tariff or import quota.
In Harrow, many in the two wards are really concerned about the socio-economic plight of the developing countries and have no desire for the superficial ‘fairtrade’ or ‘socialist’ markers.
Fairtrade is about more than trade. It is a test of the credibility of the World Trade Organisation, and its ability to deliver on its promises to developing countries to liberalize trade and secure a fair system of trade rules and practices.
Cotton is a prime example where rich countries’ trade policies depress world prices and cut into the livelihood of millions in developing countries (since cotton is a labour-intensive business) leading to a situation where, for example, the entire GDP of Burkina Faso, where 2 million people depend on growing cotton, is lower than subsidies that US cotton farmers benefit from.
Therefore, the ‘fairtrade’ should not just be promoting the goods and materials produced in the developing countries but must have the capacity to address some of the following issues:
    • Creating Opportunities for Economically Disadvantaged Producers – poverty reduction through trade forms and terms and by enabling producers to move from income insecurity and poverty to economic self-sufficiency and ownership
    • Transparency and Accountability – in management and commercial relations, being accountable to all stakeholders
    • Fair Trading Practices – recognizing the financial disadvantages producers and suppliers face
    • Payment of a Fair Price – that has been mutually agreed by all through dialogue and participation
    • Ensuring no Child Labour and Forced Labour is used in production
    • Ensuring Good Working Conditions – providing a safe and healthy working environment, and good working hours and conditions
    • Providing Capacity Building – to develop the skills and capabilities of the producers
    • Promoting Fair Trade – through honest advertising and marketing techniques
    • Respect for the Environment – using production technologies that seek to reduce energy consumption