English Edge



Fairtrade – Is two things, it is both an idea and an organization. The Fairtrade Foundation was established 1992, but its origins can be traced back to the 1940s in the United States, when an organization called Ten Thousand Villages began buying needle work from Puerto Rico.

The Idea of Fairtrade was sparked by an understanding that farmers, all over the world, are underpaid. In an effort to correct this problem, the Fairtrade idea was born. Here’s how it works: As the public learns about the poor coffee bean, cocoa bean, cotton farmers, they become aware that that these farmers are being taken advantaged-of. In 1992, the Fairtrade foundation stepped in and said: “Not so fast!”

As a solution the Fairtrade Foundation reached-out to companies like; Starbucks, Nestle, Cadbury and the like. They asked these companies to improve conditions for the farmers, provide higher wages and other benefits. For doing these things, the Fairtrade logo is placed on chocolate Cadbury Easter eggs, Nestle candy bar wrappers and Starbucks coffee cups. This tells consumers that these products that they are buying support farmers all over the world.

But, it’s not that simple. Many journalists and economists who study Fairtrade argue that the system doesn’t really work and that the extra money the farmers receive is far too small to help them in any meaningful way.