Today I bring you a quote from Fairtrade:
Thresholds defined within the Cosmetics policy for a product to be eligible for Fairtrade labelling have been set at the following wet weight formulation levels:
· Minimum 2% for ‘wash off' products (on a whole product basis) e.g. shampoos and soaps
· Minimum 5% for ‘leave on' products (on a whole product basis) e.g. face masks and scrubs
These thresholds open up the potential market for Fairtrade labelling to 53% of the total cosmetics market because they are applicable to the best selling volume lines (where higher thresholds would not) and permit a wide range of cosmetics products to be formulated containing Fairtrade ingredients and their derivatives.
Asking for a minimum of 2% may well be widening the market (to 53%) however, is it undermining the hard work that the grassroots fairtrade beauty companies have been doing for many years?
I wonder if Fairtrade have made a Faustian deal. A deal in which Fairtrade has ensured big business can offer free marketing to them, giving great exposure. The question is have they thought through what the cost will be?
Fairtrade might not consider themselves the guardian of ethics, I did consider them to have ethical concerns. Was I wrong?
Another quote from Fairtrade:
Fairtrade addresses the injustices of conventional trade, which traditionally discriminates against the poorest, weakest producers. It enables them to improve their position and have more control over their lives.
These small companies here in the UK (effectively the weakest, poorest companies) are likely not to survive the cut-throat market that Fairtrade themselves have created here in the UK market place. Larger companies look set to push honest hard working companies out the market as they introduce their 2% fairtrade bargain basement beauty products. Simply put the - the 2% policy encourages companies to capitalise on Fairtrade instead of actually changing their business from the ground up to encourage more ethical business practises. The Fairtrade logo acts as nothing more than smoke screen behind which unethical business practise can continue unchecked.
My question is how ethical do we expect Fairtrade to be? Is 2% enough?
Lets start a conversation about this...
To be continued...