Global Expectations For Fair Trade
Global Expectations For Fair Trade
Sam Bills (Manager) gives expert video advice on: How does Fair Trade affect the global economy?; How can Fair Trade make the world a better place for everyone? and more...
Why is being 100 percent Fair Trade important for the world?
I think its an important vision for us to carry that someday Fair Trade would just be a given. That one day producers in all countries would have access to markets and the ability to work and to provide for their families and to earn a fair wage for their work. I think that by being 100 percent Fair Trade in that sense means that Fair Trade would work itself out of a job and I think that's the end for Fair Trade. It is important to get to a place where these kind of things are just a given, that companies think about people as much as they think about profit and that it's possible regardless of where a person is for them to work and receive a fair wage for it.
How can consumers affect positive change in the global market?
Well, as consumers, we have power to affect positive changes in the global market by virtue of the things that we purchase. And so I think asking questions is a very important part of consumers in affecting change. Businesses respond to consumers, and so when consumers demand that fair trade options be available, when they demand that companies pay attention to where the products that they sell are being made, the marketplace is going to respond to that. So consumers have a power to affect positive changes in the global market, and I think as consumers we need to take that power seriously and demand that the values that we have are represented by the companies that we support through our purchasing.
Is the Fair Trade movement global?
Well, I think the basic idea of the Fair Trade movement is that it's a global. It's connecting people in a global way. It's connecting countries with well-developed economies where people have a high purchasing power, with countries that are less developed and that can benefit from the power of purchases that are made in the marketplace. I think too, that the fair trade movement reflects the positive effect that globalization can have. Often globalization can be associated with some negative effects, in that globalization and the globalization of trade has at times exploited countries for the benefit of more developed countries. But I think globalization and this global connection that we have can have a positive power by connecting people, and I think that Fair Trade is a way to have a positive view of globalization, by connecting in a global way. It shows that we have the power to help people globally, which I think is an exciting reality that Fair Trade introduces.
How does Fair Trade affect the global economy?
Fair trade works within the global economy as globalization happens, as our relationships become even more broad, and the things we buy could be from any number of countries. I think that fair trade works within that idea of a global economy, and it uses that structure to ensure that positive things are coming out of the process of globalization. So that the global economy in and of itself, I don't think, is necessarily bad, or good, it's kind of a reality that we live in. As the global economy expands and as we have these connections with other countries, fair trade offers the opportunity to ensure that the people in these countries around the world that can benefit the most from globalization actually receive that benefit.
Who has been joining the Fair Trade movement?
The people who come in the Fair Trade movement, the people who are interested in it, who are joining it, come from a variety of backgrounds, and I think that's what is exciting and interesting about Fair Trade. Fair trade is a meeting place for people headed in a lot of different directions, so you have schools and a lot of universities who are now getting in on Fair Trade, and having Fair Trade campuses, and making sure that all of the gear with their campus name on it is produced to Fair Trade standards. So there are schools and there are churches who are joining the fair trade movement. I think that it also meets up with a lot of other similar kinds of movements, like the environmental movement and the no sweat shop movement. I know there are a lot people that come at Fair Trade from different ways, so it makes an interesting intersection where people with lots of different values can meet, and act to effect positive change for people in developing countries.
How can Fair Trade make the world a better place for everyone?
Fair Trade makes the world a better place for everyone because when Fair Trade happens everyone wins by making this connection between developed economies and countries that can benefit underdeveloped developing countries. There's both the benefit of helping to support people in those countries but there's also something that consumers win when they buy something that's Fair Trade. They are getting a great product, but then also in this process of connecting, there's something enriching and humanizing about that kind of Fair Trade purchase. And so I think that in the end by building these kinds of relationships we really are making the world a better place, in that both producers and the consumers win.
Are all companies ready to accept Fair Trade as a global standard?
I think that there are a lot of companies that are ready to accept Fair Trade as a global standard. I think that for a lot of companies the thing that will tip the edge for them is to hear what consumers want. And I think that in the end it's really something that will be driven by consumers and by asking questions and by making their desire for Fair Trade options known. I think that businesses that resist moving towards Fair Trade are maybe not aware of the issues. They're not asking the right questions and so what they need is consumers that they can respond to. And I think it's encouraging to see business that are moving towards using more environmentally sustainable practices. And I think the next wave will be driven by consumers. It will be businesses who are moving towards more Fair Trade kind of options.
Are International trade agreements a threat for the Fair Trade movement?
International trade agreements are in some ways working against some of what Fair Trade wants to work towards, and so in that sense I don't know if it's a threat, but in some instances the two do work in opposite ways. I think that especially free trade agreements that are often in theory good ideas but often offer freedom in the wrong places, because often the freedom goes to corporations who are able to use exploitative practices by working underneath government regulations about labour practices. I think that those kind of parts of international trade agreements create the situation in some ways that Fair Trade is trying to correct. So I don't know that those kind of agreements are a threat to Fair Trade, but I think there is a need for advocacy against the kind of trade agreements that exploit rather than empower, and in a movement towards the kind of relationships that Fair Trade establishes, which in some instances, international trade agreements have not had the same characteristics and principles as Fair Trade.