Fair Trade Labels: A Good Step?
Anneke Zwart, Student (University), Netherlands, Moderator
Efforts to produce fair products have started long ago. In the late 18th century, attempts to boycott sugar from the West Indies were already made to fight against slavery. Today, the fair trade movement aims to provide a ‘fair price’ to those that are sometimes seen as the ‘victims’ of globalization, the poor.
In the past decade, the share of fair-trade labeled products that were sold increased significantly. But, how ‘fair’ are those fair-trade products really?
N.S. Sylla (2014) is skeptical in terms of fair trade labels and products. According to him, many fair-trade products represent marketing success instead of truly contributing to helping the poor out of poverty. He calculates that for each dollar paid for a fair-trade product by American consumers, only 3 cents extra is going to the country it came from compared to an unlabelled alternative. So, where did it go wrong?
Mr. Sylla argues that it went wrong once the fair trade movement entered ma...