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An Environmental Plan A – Caring for God’s Creation  

20 July 2017

Fair Trade – the Social Premium.

By creation we mean the world that we live in, including all life and all of our fellow human beings. The Western world has developed a model where the greatest volume of high-value trade is between the rich countries of the “first world”. The American firm Walmart has an annual turnover greater than 80% of the countries in the world. Large deals are struck which can exclude small farmers and food producers in the “third world” from large markets in the developed world. As we know, in the developed world many large supermarket chains bring pressure to bear on their suppliers to keep prices low, and because of their size they have enormous economic ‘clout’. As we know, this makes life difficult for dairy farmers in the UK, and it also makes life very difficult for food producers in the poorer parts of the world. The smaller producers have a struggle to make a living from their produce,

We live in a world where financial de-regulation and the policies of neoliberalism have led to increasing inequity. The richer countries have exploited poorer nations and this is a situation that is not sustainable in the long term. There is a need to redress the balance, and this is where “Fair Trade” comes in. The Fair Trade movement exists to ensure that growers and producers of various goods from third world countries can obtain a fair price for their food and other products. Fair Trade goods are priced slightly higher than most goods sold via the large supermarket chains. However, purchase of Fair trade items ensures that these producers obtain a fair price for their efforts, rather than going to inflate the balance sheet of a rich, first world corporation. This small increase in price can be regarded as the social premium.

The important point about this social premium is that not only does some of the extra go the farmers who produced the food, but the profits also go to benefit the communities to which the farmers belong. 

 What can we do?

  • Some of the large supermarket chains have begun selling Fair Trade items. For example, quite a few supermarkets sell Fair Trade bananas and other items. When you shop at your local supermarket, look out for the Fair Trade logo, and purchase their items.
  • Several times a year, Roger Robson organizes a sale of Fair Trade goods in the meeting area after Sunday morning worship.
  • Support the Beehive shop in Chapel Allerton, located at:

              67, Potternewton Lane,

              Leeds,

              LS7 3LW.

  • Other large corporations dealing with the developing world are beginning to adopt more sustainable and community-friendly methods, and your support for Fair Trade will help encourage this trend.

These are all small but important steps that we can all take towards bringing about a more equitable and sustainable future for our world.

John Sturges                 j.sturges@leedsbeckett.ac.uk

Julia Hyliger                   julia.hyliger@hotmail.co.uk

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