The organization recently made the change, it said, to help the individual farmers working on large coffee plantations, while also certifying some products that have as little as 10 percent fair trade ingredients.
“If farmers and farm workers are demanding help, and looking to fair trade for help, if the industry is saying, ‘we want to do more, let us do more,’ why would you want to keep it small?” Paul Rice, who founded Fair Trade USA in 1998, recently tasked NPR in a radio interview.
Critics, meanwhile, told NPR that while the new concessions may represent some form of socially responsible business, they don’t necessarily conform with many peoples’ perceptions of fair trade and what the movement stands for.
“If your goal for fair trade is primarily to improve conditions by some margin, fair trade could work with plantations,” Gustavo Setrini, an MIT graduate student who studies fair trade told NPR. “But if your goal is to set in motion a more dynamic and democratic process of development at the local level in producing countries, there isn’t much historical evidence to say that can happen on plantations.”
For the complete story, including radio: NPR