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October 07, 2005

Fair Trade Coffee.

Interesting this. Nestle has gained a Fairtrade label for one of its brands:

Nescafé Partners Blend, due to reach the stores next week, is the first instant coffee from a multinational to be awarded a coveted Fairtrade mark.

The move has divided charities and campaigners. Some argue that Nestlé's reputation makes a mockery of the fair trade ethos, but others say it is evidence that industry is responding to calls for fairer trade with the developing world.

It’ll slightly divide the movement. Is Fairtrade about raising the prices to smaller farmers? Or about bashing big business?

October 7, 2005 in Trade | Permalink


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Well -- I think it's about consumers making a choice to pay the social and environmental costs that the "free" market ignores --

Still, I have mixed feelings about Nestle --

Posted by: green LA girl | Oct 8, 2005 12:10:42 AM

I wrote a thoughtful piece about this for the Financial Times a couple of years ago. At least, I thought it was thoughtful.
The concern seems to be that the most useful Fair Trade coffee suppliers combine business advice or contacts with extra cash. Lorraine Ronchi, an economist who studied the coffee producers, felt that the cash itself was not nearly as useful without the contacts. But to earn a Fair Trade label, a company only has to promise to provide the cash (plus some other fairly minor requirements).
Full piece here, although you'll need a subscription to read it all:

Posted by: Tim Harford | Oct 8, 2005 6:45:39 PM