‘Fair trade is just a fad…’

Last week we ran out of coffee in the office. Someone was quickly dispatched to go and buy the much-needed replacement, as the next delivery was not to arrive for another week. Unfortunately the purchase was neither good quality nor fair trade.

This was brought into sharp perspective for me when I re-watched the BBC3 episode of ‘Blood, Sweat, and Luxuries’ from last week. The series follows a group of spoilt, privileged and naive young Brits as they are put to work in the vilest of conditions in Asia and Africa in order to really find out where their luxury goods come from.

This week they were sent to work on a coffee plantation in rural Ethiopia, and were put to work alongside the locals, working in the same conditions and earning the same wage, which was to cover their food and rent for that week.

The programme is well worth watching, and despite the irritating personalities of some of the young people, others have been truly challenged and changed by the experience. One girl who had dismissed fair trade as simply a fad, was so outraged at the treatment of the local workers by multinational coffee companies that she declared that fair trade should become a universal standard.

Perhaps one day it will, but for now I will continue the small battle in my workplace to make sure that we are buying and drinking fair trade.

We cannot do everything, but we must not do nothing.

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Published in: on May 10, 2010 at 6:51 pm  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. loved your posting. Thanks for telling me about Blood Sweat and Luxuries, I only knew about the other 2. You post made a lot of sense and I agree that too many people lack understanding of this issue to really get involved. Perhaps they think it really is a fad.


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