Stock Fair Trade products in Supermarkets

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What does it mean to be an ethical consumer in a globalised world? - Fair trade

Globalisation is the process by which the world is becoming increasingly interconnected as a result of massively increased trade and cultural exchange. The biggest companies are no longer national businesses but multinational companies with branches in many countries. It makes trade more competitive because there are people everywhere producing the same goods/services and want people to buy from them and not the other businesses. Fair Trade is an organisation that gives consumers a choice to buy ethically sourced goods. The company aims to provide at least some equality to marginalised farmers when globalisation is at its peak and raise awareness against mass production and the consequences of the increased production in the food market.

What are the benefits of fair trade?

Fair Trade products are made in safe and healthy working conditions. Fair trade provides stable prices that cover the costs of sustainable production and pays the workers’ wages which able them to afford the necessities and look after their families. It gives marginalised farmers market access that enables buyers to trade with producers who would otherwise be excluded from market. It provides partnerships and empowerment of farmers and workers assistance to them understand more about market conditions and trends and to develop knowledge, skills and resources to exert more control and influence over their lives.  Fairtrade can improve food security which is closely linked to economic growth, stable incomes and reduced risk and vulnerability. If a farmer has a better income, it means he/she has more money to buy food and more money to invest in growing more crops. Fair trade is better for the environment. The farmers are encouraged to:

·        Protect their local environment through minimal and safe use of agrochemicals

·       Manage erosion problems and waste management properly.

·       Maintain soil fertility.

·       Avoid intentionally using genetically modified organisms (Fair Trade, 2018)

According to Fair trade Australia and New Zealand, 26 percent of all farmers and workers in Fairtrade are women. This contributes to the roughly 43 percent of women that are agricultural workers that produce 60-80 percent of the world’s food supply. These women make up only 10-20 percent of landowners in developing countries. To combat this, Fair trade incorporates women and girls into its programs in developing countries. They create a space and dynamic in which women are able to contribute and participate in decision-making processes. Fairtrade works with producer organisations to make sure women are not marginalised against and are given an equal vote in the democratic process governing the organisations. (Fair Trade, 2018) 

How do governments and businesses influence the effect of this issue?

Businesses influence the effect of fair trade because they are the ones who make it available for the consumers to buy their products. By putting the Fairtrade logo on their packaging, this encourages consumers because they want to look out for products that look after the environment and also the famers. This is beneficial also for businesses: “The UK leads the world in Fairtrade with more products and more awareness than anywhere else, and we have seen a rapid rise in sales in the last two decades.” Consumers have been supporting social issues than prioritising their personal gain.

According to Fair Trade USA, local governments are working together with cocoa manufacturers and farmers themselves to address the root causes of child labour in order to get kids off of farms and into schools. Fair Trade has proven to be one of the most effective tools for improvement. Governments support of Fairtrade can assist to abolish child labour on farms, reduce inequalities that women face and assist the small farmers with business knowledge and skills that cannot enter the market. Specifically, in 2014, Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced a $4.5 million commitment to boost fair trade in Australia to help develop markets for poor farmers in Indo Pacific countries.

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