Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Fair trade week

(Sorry, can't find the credit for this photo:()

There is a book titled something along the lines of 50 reasons to buy Fair
Trade, and it perplexes me. There only needs to be one, big fat reason, by buying fair trade you are not shafting someone but paying a living wage to your producers.

Ten years ago the majority of chocolate in this country had been produced by child labour in West Africa , kids who work with wearing sores from there they had sliced their limbs with machetes as they worked. Is there a 5 second rule for child labour? If only one bite of your chocolate bar has passed through the hands of slave does it still count? does it still taste as good?

Fair trade has been really successful in raising the profile of ethically produced goods, and with it came the backlash. Some of it based on somebody having tasted something five years ago and never touching anything from the movement again. Some claim that the movement is over bureaucratic and so only open to large organisations. Also Fair trade can be used as a corporate green wash.

You know what I agree with some of these comments. If I want really want good chocolate I don't necessarily go for fair trade, and I definitely won't go for the Fair Trade Kit Kat - it breaks my heart (the kitKat bit) but this blog remains a resolutely Nestlé free zone!

A heartening story is about our local Mortimer Chocolate Company which currently is not Fair Trade but I will eat their chocolate found with ethical relish as find out more about it and it comes with its own very shiny halo.

Like all the best people Fair Trade is flawed in some respects, but it is still vitally important to bring attention to the political power in our wallets. It is not just about chocolate, tea and bananas. It also must be about quality (People Tree are you listening?) and not necessarily looking or smelling like a paid up member of the rafia mafia. Lets think about trade not aid, locally and internationally - and whether we decide to buy Fair Trade or start a more I depth quest to live ethically let's make a few more steps this week. In the meantime would you like another scoop from this delicious fondu?

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