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Can someone please tell me if I should buy fair trade if I care about the planet?
It's the only way to be sure.
Fucked up my last 60s folk joke that's for sure.
Solid effort. And Pentagram are a design consultancy that does branding and adverts so there's scope for turning this around by adding another layer to the joke.
to social problems are a bit rubbish. Most of the environmental/social food certification systems, however well meaning, end up being a bit of greenwashed business that isn't backed up by much in practice.
I didn't have time to read this article, but I've studied a lot on it and it appeals more to the consumer's sense of well-being than it particularly makes a difference. It's driven by a capitalist urge to make profit, rather than to redistribute resources, and these schemes often marginalise the poorest producers even farther.
But in the end, I often buy them anyway. Especially when you look at the history of abuse in the production of bananas, or coffee, it's hard not to believe it's better than the alternative.
A big part of the myth of the neoliberal politics has been the market-promoted logic of consumer power, and consumer driven change, that if we buy more we can change things. In the end, it just ends up dulling people's urge to actually do things because they're conned into thinking they're already making a difference.
arguing that many market based schemes are worthless is correct, but so too are many regulations. Self certification is certainly problematic, but so are regulatory targets or standards which are not properly enforced or instead treated as a box ticking exercise. Everything depends on enforcement, which is costly and difficult.
Basically market based or certification schemes aren't a solution in and of themselves but they do have value as part of a package of measures. Just as regulations are frequently ineffective and can't be treated as a standalone solution.
I'm always confused by the logic that the state is somehow more effective than the private sector. No: they're both as ineffective and effective as each other, but it depends on how transparent they are and how they are monitored.
are willing to put blind faith in our political system and our state institutions given the horrific results they've been throwing out. And not just because of private sector involvement.
But equally yes, don't put blind faith in the private sector either.
is that whilst fairtrade is often used to greenwash companies, a solid growers co-operative that gradually gets more involved with distribution and retail will be a genuine force for good, and these things can take time to build. For a product to be certified fairtrade one of the conditions is that the growers form an association and pool some of the profits to be used for the association (I think I'm remembering correctly).
Now plenty of groups don't get further than this but some of those that started in the 90's have really kicked on, and whilst fairtrade is regularly used as a marketing angle the outcomes can be genuinely productive so it's always worth going with when the options available.
The other option is to seriously research each product you purchase on a regular basis and get a clear idea in your head of where you're happy buying it from. It's antithetical to our very short term approach to shopping and can be inconvient, but it is the best way to be sure that you're shopping is helping someone other than the retailers shareholders.