Blog Archives: Business

Fair Trade Argument 1: Free Trade is Fair Trade

For many of us Fair Traders we come across some skeptics. While their arguments may be strong, here is the first argument you can use to prove that Fair Trade is valuable. Happy reading and arguing :P

The argument of fair trade versus free trade is now obsolete. Fair trade is free trade, the difference being that, now, it is the consumers who are driving the market – forcing corporations to make ethical production and purchasing decisions all the way down to the extraction of raw materials. Your first argument for fair trade is thus “Free Trade is Fair Trade”.

Free trade suggests that markets should be allowed to choose their sources, and minimise costs without any limitations. Trade will continue to be free, but the only constraint a market will now have will be that which its consumers place on it. If you don’t do what your consumers want, you will fail. You can, you must, tell your company what to do – act and choose ethically.

And that is exactly what is happening. People all around the world are refusing to buy from companies with unethical practices, switching to those companies that truly care about the people involved in their products. The question that companies now face is: “If I am losing business to an ethical competitor, why haven’t I switched to an ethical source yet?”. The latest big change to Fair Trade sources is Cadbury’s switch to FLO certified cocoa for their Dairy Milk chocolate. Well done Cadbury! Check out this link for more info.

When iPod skins cost $0.19 to manufacture (including packaging) why do we pay $12 retail? Why not give the producer a fair price? I am still happy to pay the $12, but I don’t want the hidden cost to be the suffering of someone else.

Their argument: Normal market mechanisms determine a market under the free trade methodology. Companies make choices that lower the costs to the economy and the resources of the world. Free trade is efficient!

Your Argument: Consumers’ demands are a normal market mechanism, so Fair Trade is exactly that, a free trade market. It no longer means minimising costs, it means making sure the consumer is happy with the choices you make. Efficiency is important in our world, we just don’t have enough resources. But we don’t want billions of people to suffer just in the name of efficiency. We choose fair trade, we want ethical practices to be used, so if you don’t want to be ethical, then we won’t buy from you!

Make a Fair Trade Choice today.

Questions of the day: How does poverty make you feel? What do you think of the current solutions to poverty?