Fairtrade, ethics and the big food companies
Posted by kathryn in Ethics & Sustainablity
Some of the big food companies are getting into Fairtrade. Cadbury UK have announced that every Dairy Milk bar will be made from Fairtrade chocolate. While McDonald’s and Starbucks have started using Fairtrade coffee.
Yesterday’s Guardian asks the question – should we celebrate?
The ethics were pretty simple in the early days of Fairtrade. It was a rebel brand; every penny spent was an easy poke in the eye for capitalism and that nasty, greedy Man. But, just as happened with organic, the Man saw that there was money in such fine thoughts, and started to stock Fairtrade. In the late 90s the twirly-whirly green and blue hippy label started appearing on the shelves in the Co-op and Sainsbury, and in 2005 even Nestlé, food campaigners’ great Satan, launched a Fairtrade coffee.
It’s an interesting question, central to the future of Fairtrade. We’ve already seen big companies buy up some of the smaller, ethically run businesses, only to start diluting and changing those core ethical practices (I’m thinking Ben & Jerry’s and The Body Shop here).
However for Fairtrade to grow, become mainstream and the standard way of doing business, this may only be possible with the involvement of the big food companies.
The full Guardian article is here – Capitalism chews over Fairtade.