The importance of Fair Trade

Fair Trade is a small but growing movement that offers a progressive alternative to the conventional model of trade.

The problem:

"In the globalised world of the early twenty-first century, trade is one of the most powerful forces linking our lives. It is also a source of unprecedented wealth. Yet millions of the world’s poorest people are being left behind. Increased prosperity has gone hand in hand with mass poverty and the widening of already obscene inequalities between rich and poor. World trade has the potential to act as a powerful motor for the reduction of poverty, as well as for economic growth, but that potential is being lost. The problem is not that international trade is inherently opposed to the needs and interests of the poor, but that the rules that govern it are rigged in favour of the rich."

– From Oxfam's Rigged Rules and Double Standards: Ttrade, globalisation and the fight against poverty

» The Fairtrade foundation is the main organisation working to improve things. The website includes case studies of small farmers.

» The New Internationalist magazine has an online issue on Fair Trade from the dawn of the movement in 2000. Their 2006 article 'Fair enough?' assesses the challenges posed to Fair Trade's integrity by commercial forces.

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Jon Anderson
Jon Anderson
Environment Editor

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