Cultivating An Authentic Fair Trade


From Fair World Project, Fall 2013

By Chris Treter and Matt Earley

Fair trade falls short when the relationships along the chain are reduced to simple “trading partnerships.” Trade is the vehicle for the relationship, but the road it travels should lead to the foundation of real global communities, through which people connected by economic exchange can see each other and interact. This is the transformative piece of the ideal. True fair trade is often buried beneath “certifications” that do more for the marketing of coffee in the Global North than for the actual well-being of the farmer in the Global South. If we want to build an authentic model of fair trade that stands up to its name, we must work directly with small farmers and transform the term from a marketing device to a real movement based on building economic democracy. Certifications alone do not accomplish this and, at times, can actually “dumb down” the real work that we need to do in our companies and in our communities. Read more…