Fairtrade has never claimed to be a panacea for everything from Climate change to poverty alleviation but what it does, is to raise consciousness in the masses, that there is an alternative model for business. Though Fairtrade originated as a charitable model, it’s method and mode of operation has changed over the years with more and more emphasis on training and development. Rather than focus only on the humane factors and kindness it has looked into the issues like labour rights, wages and local environmental issues.
Ideally there should be more involvement of independent bodies like researchers and non-governmental organisations to make Fairtrade more transparent, relevant and fit for purpose. In fact it is time to look beyond Fairtrade and it’s mark, and ensure that alternative structures and arrangement are in place for greater transparency and favourable outcomes. That is the reason why, here in Rangoli, our endeavour is to scrutinise the supply chain ourselves and not solely dependent on third party certifications.
Consumers are right to be socially minded when buying their food and gifts. But are we addressing the monetary gap which exists between the daily pay of an artisan or a tea-picker and equivalent salary of a Fairtrade executive sitting in his or her London office ? That is a more relevant ‘Fairtrade’ enquiry !