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Why Consumers Purchase Fair Trade Products? Essay

1856 words - 8 pages

Fair trade is an initiative that was created by importing organisations in the United States and Europe with the purpose of fostering inclusion, capacity building as well as equal opportunities for agricultural and textile producers who had been marginalised in less developed nations (Huybrechts 2012). The whole concept of fair trade has seized the imagination of the public in a remarkable way. This is evidenced not only by increased sales of products or the rampant acknowledgement of the trade mark, rather from the almost global recognition and understanding of the term itself as well as immense advocacy at the grassroots through establishments as fair trade towns.
Fair trade has been defined by major fair-trade organisations as:
“A trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, securing the rights of, marginalised producers and workers, especially in the south. Fair trade organisations (backed by consumers) are engaged actively in supporting producers, awareness raising and in campaigning for changes in rules and practice of international trade”. (Huybrechts 2012, p.13)
Perceived from this angle, fair trade has turned out as an ‘alternative’ standard institutional arrangement to marshal and regulate production and trade in a range of sectors. Much marketing of fair trade products lean towards the principle of a fair price for producers, integrating both minimum prices enumerated in relation to each particular product line (Shaw et al. 2006). Additionally, the system attempts to embed principles of democratic decision-making and social and environmental stability across all stages of the supply chain. Participating producers must be organised within cooperatives or other organisations with democratic, participatory structures and must comply with a range of economic, social and environmental standards.
Fair trade consumers as noted by Bezencon and Blili (2010) have varied motivations to purchase products from fair trade organisations. By offering an alternative solution to free trade, fair trade tries to solve the failures of capitalism such as the information asymmetry and the unequal benefit between stakeholders for trading partnerships between developing and developing countries. Notably, Consumers appear to apportion more and more interest in the goods and services they consume. The origin and background of the products they buy are becoming particularly important to them. This explains the inclination towards ethical consumption which includes among others the purchase of fair trade products. With increased availability of trade fair products in mainstream markets ethical consumer choices also grows. The ability to make a positive impact as a consumer, in partnership with fair trade organisations is another dimension of fair trade’s popularity. With fair trade, the consumers...

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