Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Fair trade exposed as not so fair

A study by researchers at London University in England has found that fair trade for products such as coffee may not be fair to the very people consumers intend to help.

For example, they found that 30 per cent of the fair-trade workers in Ethiopia earned less than 60 per cent of the median wage while 95 per cent of the commercial companies’ workers earned as much as, or more more than, the median wage.

The best-paid workers were producing non-fair-trade commodities, the researchers report.

They spent four years and 1,000 days in Uganda and Ethiopia looking into the lives of workers; their data covers 1,700 respondents.

Their study has been published by the School of Oriental and African Studies at London University.

The report is another reminder that it's not enough to simply spend money on charities; you need to check out their performance.