a cup of Fair Trade
While reading about the Fair Trade debate I am more and more intrigued by the scale and history of the organization. There are many beliefs about what Fair Trade means and how it can be enacted. It often means that a direct trade relationship is formed and it is in some ways a larger safety net for farmers than a one on one relationship can offer. Ideally roasters would be able to provide this kind of business option on their own but acknowledging that this is not always possible in such a volatile market Fair Trade can be the link that holds them together. While much needs to be considered, analyzed and improved about the system as I mentioned in my last post. It is a potentially very positive option for farmers. The recent changes in opening the possibility of fair trade to more farmers must be met slowly and analytically. There are many test projects in the works that I will definitely be paying attention to and hope to be a part of.
Yet, the lack of awareness about Fair Trade among consumers must be addressed. With more awareness and knowledge by consumers of what Fair Trade means combined with quality products the market will grow. For example, though Starbucks and Nestle are both purveyors of Fair Trade coffee many people are not aware of this fact and it does not affect why they buy certain products. Fair Trade must become an integral part of decision making and therefore must be made obvious to the buyer. Fair Trade does not have power as an exclusive marketing tool but as a comprehensive better option that includes quality and relationships.
If you are interested in more information on this subject this article showcasing the findings of a recent study about fair trade is a very important read by Michael Sheridan.