Fairtrade downsides

Sara Marlin
Note by Sara Marlin, updated more than 1 year ago
Sara Marlin
Created by Sara Marlin about 3 years ago


Note on Fairtrade downsides, created by Sara Marlin on 04/10/2018.

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Fair trade often creates divides within communities as not all workers and farmers qualify to be part of a certified cooperative or group. Fairtrade does not ensure better wages. For instance, a report by SOAS, University of London, about Fairtrade in Uganda and Ethiopia found that wages in Fairtrade certified markets were very low. The report observed that there was inadequate monitoring of pay and conditions by certification schemes. Wages were usually lower than those in producers without the Fairtrade certification in the same area and working on the same crop. According to the same study, working conditions in Fairtrade certified cooperatives were often worse than in non-certified. Keeping the accreditation is expensive and may be out of reach for some local entrepreneurs. The impact of the movement is still reduced in scope as consumers can only buy a few fair trade products. It is difficult to make sure that abusive labor practices are not reintroduced after certifications are expired or abandoned. Once the initial changes allow producers to obtain the certification, they have little incentive to keep on investing in improving efficiency and working conditions. For some companies the goal of fair trade is simply to increase profit. So they may be using the fair trade acreditations as marketing tools to differentiate their products or, even worse, to regain reputation lost for other bad practices.

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