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Where now for Fairtrade?

Thomas Baldwin reflects on the impact of social and political change on the Fairtrade movement.

RACHEL Farey is in no doubt about the beneits of Fairtrade.

“There is a group called TARA, based in Delhi, that work with a lot of poor communities. We visited a few of their projects – health projects in the slums, schools – and in one school the teacher explained how her children in that school have now gone to university and are teachers themselves.

“That’s purely through the funding of TARA, running that school from funds provided by Fairtrade producers. And that story could be multiplied thousands of times across India and Bangladesh.” Fairtrade – the movement which promises developing world farmers and producers a fair price for their products, with the money reinvested in their communities – has been part of the landscape for around 40 years.

Although the movement generates scepticism from some quarters about exactly how much of a diference it makes, commercially it has become a huge success: developing from being a small niche, tea and cofee sold entirely through charity shops and stalls, to inluencing the behaviour of major brands and supermarkets.

Which is why it came as a surprise in autumn last year when Traidcraft – the highest-proile and one of the oldest Fairtrade groups, for many people synonymous with the whole movement – irst announced that it was ceasing trading then, after a burst of support, that it would continue in a much reduced form.

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About Life and Work

IN THIS ISSUE SOUTH OF THE BORDER - The Church of Scotland in England and the Channel Islands WHERE NOW FOR FAIRTRADE - The impact of social and political change on the Fairtrade movement 'HOPE FOR A CHANGE' - Scientist with interest in the Church in Asia