Fair trade

Fair trade

In Europe, the fair trade business is booming. Last year, sales of fair trade goods totaled over 6 billion dollars, with sales climbing every year. This new market model lets consumers reconcile their pocketbook and their conscious. Why just buy things, when you can buy them justly? Fair trade advocates have made this pointed question their slogan. By slipping a product with the “fair trade” stamp in their shopping cart, consumers are making a choice fraught with meaning on the other side of the world. In Africa or Latin America, small farmers are supposedly being paid a decent wage to produce the raw material. In theory, they aren’t forced to kowtow to importers or distributors, as usually dictated by the global economy. But is that really true? Consumers are hungry for fair trade products and new brands continue to spring up: Max Havellarr, Rainforest, Artisans du Monde, etc. But what is really behind these labels?

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