Fair Trade profits up, but who benefits?

Fair Trade is catching on. I go to the Co-op quite often to shop. This week I was looking for the “organic” label since my family over from Canada like to eat that way. I couldn’t see a single item but for “Fair Trade” there was plenty of choice.
The Co-op has been a leader in Birmingham for some years and helped when the Council declared itself a “Fair Trade” organisation. With expansion has come criticism, and as with organic produce prices are higher than non-branded equivalents. The question arising is how much of the mark-up goes to the producer and how much goes to massage company profits upwards. People are buying “Fair Trade” marked items presumably because they believe they are benefiting producers who face high levels of poverty.

The danger is that if the criticism sticks it can damage the movement as a whole. Where Fair Trade works it can be effective as some of those who it has helped have testified.

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