Driven primarily by consumer demand, the fair-trade movement is gaining popularity - as well as mainstream market share.
Chris Martin of the band Coldplay describes himself as a 'third-rate Bono' - a celebrity-turned activist, following in the footsteps of U2's lead singer, who campaigns for trade justice, debt relief and increased development aid when he's not making music. Martin's particular cause is using his fame to promote fair trade - the selling of products that provide a decent return to poor producers in the developing world. He has visited small farmers in Ghana and Haiti and, not unnaturally, says he would sooner talk about the issue in interviews than 'the colour of my socks'.
The fair-trade movement provides a straightforward, practical way for customers to support ethical trading practices with their wallets. Driven primarily by consumer demand, the movement is gaining popularity - and mainstream market share - for high-quality goods produced through ethical payment and working conditions. Fair-trade teas, coffees, chocolate and other foods are now stocked by large supermarket chains as well as speciality shops around the world. Ethically traded clothing, jewellery, gifts, arts and home furnishings can be bought from fair-trade companies, non-profit organizations and online from the producers themselves. Music lovers can even purchase CDs and concert DVDs from a fair-trade media company that guarantees at least half the revenue to the developing-country artists who recorded them.
By paying above market rates, the movement shields Southern producers from volatile market prices and allows them to cover their costs, support their households and reinvest in their communities. Many fair-trade buyers' groups also provide vocational training for producers and their families and fund local development projects.While fair trade economically enfranchises individual farmers and artisans, the growing trade-justice movement aims to reform the rules and institutions governing world trade. Globalization has encouraged economic integration: the World Trade Organization (WTO) records that global trade volume grew by 9 per cent last year and was worth over $9 trillion.
Low-income countries account for just 3 per cent of world trade, though they have more than 40 per cent of the world's population. By contrast, just seven nations (the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and Japan), with one tenth the world's population, account for half of all exports collectively.
According to Oxfam's Make Trade Fair campaign, 128 million people would be lifted out of poverty if Africa, East Asia, South Asia and Latin America were able to increase their share of world exports by just 1 per cent each. In Africa alone, this 1 per cent increase would generate $70 billion - five times what the continent receives in aid.
Make Trade Fair Campaign World Trade Organization PDF Version
|Our moment... our time||'The best thing we could ever do'||Entrepreneurial energy||Rapid power||Widening horizons||Eco-Minds|
|Tunza answers your questions||Greenhouse effect||Developing sustainably... together||Holmes' fire||Paid in smiles||North-South cooperation|
|Trading futures||Netting the ether||Father of invention||Seeds of change||Cultivating health||Seven wonders|
|Tomorrow's world||About Tunza||Contents||Edition française||Versión española|