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273. Fair Trade discussion on Canadian public radio

Got 25 minutes to spare?  Listen to this excellent discussion on CBC’s The Current between FTUSA CEO Paul Rice and Fairtrade Canada Communications Director Michael Zelmer on the changes in the Fair Trade system.  Haven’t got the time?  Here are some of the highlights.

  • Paul Rice, FTUSA: “We see our role right now as taking that amazing Fair Trade model that has worked so well for a relative few and scaling it up.”
  • Michael Zelmer, Fairtrade Canada: “Coops are really Fair Trade at its best.  A lot of the good things that people normally associate with Fair Trade actually comes from the work that cooperatives have done.”
  • Paul: “Only 10 percent of the world’s coffee farmers are in coops.  Fair Trade systematically excludes 90 percent of the world’s coffee growers, and that’s not right.  It isn’t right from a moral perspective, but also it is not right from a market perspective.”
  • Michael: “As it is, the cooperatives that are already…in the certification system, maybe a third of that coffee is being sold as Fair Trade.  And so what we have is the demand being the real constraint for development…Opening up into plantations increases supply, so it is an innovation in the wrong area.”
  • Paul: “We are really all about the same theory of change, and that is that rather than aid, trade — Fair Trade — can be a very powerful model for empowering communities on a journey out of poverty.”



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