I thought I’d post some articles from the website of Craig Sams, founder of ‘Green and Blacks’, the first company to gain Fairtrade accreditation on one of their products. The Maya Gold Story tells the story, or for a shorter version see the text of a speech entitled Ten Years Of Fairtrade.
Young Methodists did an Olympic style run for fair trade, carrying a torch in relays between various English towns, haranguing supermarkets and shops to stock this first Fairtrade product. The senior confectionery buyer at Tesco phoned up: “Here, what’s this product all these vicars are phoning me about? You better come in and see me.” Fairtrade was on the map, with a product that (nicely) encapsulated its ideals. Cafédirect and Clipper soon signed up and the Fairtrade market went bananas.
The simple answer is that the FT Mark costs 2% of turnover if you are a standard organisation, although Traidcraft, Café Direct and Equal Exchange only pay 1% as they are perceived to be ‘giving something back.’ Over the past decade we’ve paid over £300,000 in FT fees, none of which has gone back to the Maya producers in Belize.
I can see the reasoning behind their choosing not to go for the Fairtrade mark on all of their products, though I can also see why sending 1-2% to a central source to (I assume) encourage new Fairtrade products is a good idea. I suppose this shows that it is important to know something about the ethical stance of a company as well as the special marks or whatever their products display.