Monday, June 02, 2008
Fair trade is an organized social movement and market-based approach to alleviating global poverty and promoting sustainability. The movement advocates the payment of a fair price as well as social and environmental standards in areas related to the production of a wide variety of goods. It focuses in particular on exports from developing countries to developed countries, most notably handicrafts, coffee, cocoa, sugar, tea, bananas, honey, cotton, wine, fresh fruit, and flowers.
Fair trade's strategic intent is to deliberately work with marginalized producers and workers in order to help them move from a position of vulnerability to security and economic self-sufficiency. It also aims at empowering them to become stakeholders in their own organizations and actively play a wider role in the global arena to achieve greater equity in international trade.
Fair trade proponents include a wide array of international religious, development aid, social and environmental organizations such as Oxfam, Amnesty International, and Caritas International.
Like most developmental efforts, fair trade has proven itself controversial and has drawn criticism from both ends of the political spectrum. Some economists and conservative think tanks see fair trade as a type of subsidy. Segments of the left criticize fair trade for not adequately challenging the current trading system.
In 2007, Fair trade certified sales amounted to approximately €2.3 billion (US $3.62 billion) worldwide, a 47% year-to-year increase. While this represents less than one hundredth of a percentage point of world trade in physical merchandise, fair trade products generally account for 0.5-5% of all sales in their product categories in Europe and North America. In May 2008, over 1.5 million disadvantaged producers worldwide were directly benefiting from fair trade while an additional 5 million benefited from fair trade funded infrastructure and community development projects. (all the information was extracted from wikipedia).
This is now also found in Malta and is situated in Valletta, so for the Maltese next time you go to Valletta take a trip down st. Paul's Street and have a look at what they offer.