How many wake up calls does ‘ethical’ business need?
First it was the Co-op debacle, then it was the revelation that gender pay differentials are worse in CSR than in wider industry and now we get told that FairTrade maybe isn’t actually so fair after all.
Yep, a study by the UK Government and SOAS has found that, rather than paying higher wages via the ‘FairTrade’ premium, some certified producers pay workers less than large ‘unethical’ farms in Ethopia and Uganda. FairTrade have responded that this isn’t comparing like with like – that you should compare small non-FairTrade with small FairTrade.
THAT. IS. NOT. THE. POINT.
When you or I, as ethical consumers, go to a shop and pay over the odds for produce which we are told was produced by people paid a fair wage for their work, then we expect just that. If the same people can get the same job down the road at a non-certified producer and get paid more to produce products which cost the consumer less, then we are being swindled, plain and simple.
My patience with the ‘ethical’ sector is wearing very thin. It is very much starting to look like an industry taking advantage of concerned consumers to line their own pockets.