fair trade & modern day slavery
The other day I took my daughter for her choir practice where they meet two or three times every week to rehearse for an hour. I was strolling in the school corridor looking at various displays, notices and bulletin boards while they were busy inside.
The fourth graders of this Swiss school had prepared a bulletin board based on their self-research and it was very impressive. I am glad that I stood there for few minutes as it made feel more about the plight of the farm workers. Being enlightened early in life about “Fair Trade Practices”, I am optimistic that these children will grow up to be a more socially responsible generation.
They have noted down the following for the banana plantation workers who gets the lowest reward for their efforts as per the banana split.
- Work for 14 hours a day in harsh weather conditions
- Have poor working condition
- Spray fertilizers and pesticides
- Cut down the bananas
- Carry heavy loads of bananas for washing
- Wash the bananas
- Cannot usually join a union
Banana Plantation is only an example but disparity exist in all types of export oriented trade, be it farming or manufacturing. The incident of Rana plaza in Bangladesh in 2013, had shocked the entire world but there are still thousands of other businesses where workers continue to endure hardship to maximize profits.
I looked up on the Wikipedia for information about Fair trade. Fair trade is an institutional arrangement designed to help producers in developing countries achieve better trading conditions. The philosophy and the core principles are very good. However, what is lacking is its implementation on ground. Licensing unfortunately doesn't help the farmers much, although it provides significant marketing advantage for the business owners.
Fair trade is grounded in three core beliefs:
- Producers have the power to express unity with consumers.
- The world trade practices that currently exist promote the unequal distribution of wealth between nations.
- Buying products from producers in developing countries at a fair price is a more efficient way of promoting sustainable development than traditional charity and aid.
Being a part of the CIOB, we take sustainable construction development very seriously. Construction is by far the largest industry in this world and we ensure that the supply chain selection process is rigorous. The message to the manufacturers is clear and unambiguous. Exploitation of their workforce will not be tolerated.
Will you be joining hands to stop this modern day slavery!