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Fair trade, How legitimate Enterprises are to use it ? I need your help


Posted by francois c.

Hello
I'm posting this post because i know that there are a lot of "Eco-consumers" on this website, and i would need your help

I'm Francois-Xavier and I'm writing a dissertation on the use of fair trade by companies in order to analyse their real commitments and the legitimacy of their approaches.

I would like to know what do you think personally about, the new engagement of Starbucks or Nestle (to name only the biggest) in favor to fair trade products, and their will to try to be more responsible?
 
how do you perceive these associations? Do you think it is more windows dressing than something else? If yes why if not why?

How could you explain their sudden responsible commitment? what are the motives for you? And most importantly do this commitment is legitimate?
 
I appreciate you taking the time to read this post.
 
I look forward to hearing back from you 
thank you in advance for your help.
Kindest regards

 
Francois
 
Answers (3)
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There are elements of window dressing to the situation, Starbucks being an excellent example. I like to use coffee beans as an example. As a life member of the Sierra Club and former volunteer executive in the organization, I have a great deal of knowledge about Sierra Club coffee. It is fair trade and shade grown. This means that it is about as green as possible.

It costs very little more than conventional coffee.

That's the key point. Starbucks offers fair trade coffee but it is not the default product brewed in locations. There is no good reason for this situation. Starbucks is large enough and successful enough to mend its ways. Why doesn't it? My answer is green washing. The leadership of Starbucks knows that customers are worried about the environmental impacts of coffee harvesting around the world and labor conditions on cocoa farms but unwilling to consider changing their established procedures. They want the best of both worlds.

The good news is that large corporations can be compelled to improve. A few years ago, Staples refused to introduce recyled fiber into its paper products. After several years of protests and pressure from the environmental community, Staples changed and now is an industry leader in recycled products. While there is much more to be done, Staples took very significant steps while one of its competitors, Office Max, continues to lag.

In closing, a firm's commitment can be legitimate but the execution must be monitored vigilantly.

thanks you for your answer, it is very useful

In this dissertation fair trade is considered, as all alternative approaches in general to conventional international trade, which aims at addressing issues of partnership, dialogue, transparency, respect and equity unmet in an increasing deregulated global market place.

 

Thus it  encompasses Starbuck C.A.F.E principles coupled with Shared planet programs that make sure their coffee is ethically traded. They claim:

"Starbucks pays an average of 1.20 per pound, for all the coffee that we buy, with a fixed price, that's a 70% of what we buy", explained Sue Mecklenburg, vice president of Corporative Social Responsibility of Starbucks

This price is nearly equivalent to FAIRTRADE certified minimum price without the social premium.

Even if their program does not get the same recognition as FAIRTRADE certified it is a similar one.

 

I want to say that Starbuck initiatives seems to be far away from basic international practises anyway.

They have their own C.A.F.E standards, ( No single ethical or fair coffee system can take credit as the best alternative for the socially conscious consumer.  whether it is FAIRTRADE CERTIfied or C.AF.E Standards). Nestlé needs to rely on certified standards for one brand (partners blend) but does not do anything or at least communicate about the rest of its coffe purchase.

 Nestlé engagement, through Nescafé seems realy weak compare to starbucks one

How do you perceive both engagement? 

 

 

 

Your perceptions are accurate. Keep up the good work!
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