Fair Trade: A Mutually Beneficial System

1586 words - 6 pages

Fair Trade is a trading partnership that seeks greater equity in international trade by maximizing the benefits of the stakeholders involved (“WFTO”). Nearly all (93%) of the Starbucks Coffee Company coffee was ethically sourced through Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) practices, which include the fair trade system (“Responsibly Grown”). In January 2013, more than 1.2 billion profits from the sale of Kit Kats supported over 7,000 fair trade cocoa farmers through the Nestlé Cocoa Plan (“Kit Kat”). Fair trade products not only prevail in Hong Kong, but also around the globe like in America, Canada, England, and Australia. What makes fair trade products distinct from others is their meaningful impact on both their producers and consumers. Concerning producers, fair trade improves their lives and assists them in developing their communities. As for consumers, fair trade reassures them with high quality products and provides them a way to help protect the environment. Fair trade succeeds in achieving fairness by maximizing the benefits of fair trade producers and consumers in the perspectives of living quality, community development, product quality, and environmental protection respectively.
The lives of producers under the fair trade system have been improved with increased income. According to Hans Peter Egler, Head of Trade Promotion of The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SESO), producers with fair trade labels on their products enjoy a thirty percent income increase on average over those without a label (SECO). Data showing quantifiable monetary amounts objectively reveals a rise in earnings among fair trade producers. Additionally, over the last ten years of operation of the Fair Trade system, the producer’s fund has distributed US $1,260,000 of Fair Trade green coffee export revenues to some 4,000 affiliated small producers and their families, representing a substantial supplement to producer incomes (Ronchi). The more money producers have, the greater their purchasing power. They will have comparatively higher financial ability to buy daily necessities, thus enhancing their living quality. Some people argue that fair trade fails in achieving fairness, as all parties involved in it earn more. For instance, in addition to producers, middlemen who specialize in performing operations or rendering services that are directly involved in the purchase and sale of goods in the process of their flow from producer to final buyer of the fair trade system and fair trade products retailers are largely benefited from the system (Koschnick). However, instead of causing unfairness, the mutually benefited situation is the most vital contributor to the success of the fair trade system, as it provides stakeholders with profit motive and drives them to endeavor to keep the system sustainable. Accordingly, producers can continue enjoying the fruits of fair trade. There is a saying that goes, “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to...

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