The idea for Fairtrade started 25 years ago. It is an alternative approach to conventional trade based on partnership between producers and consumers, offering producers improved terms of trade, which allows them to eventually obtain a greater profit. Now the Fairtrade International represents a global network of farmers and workers in 70 countries and more than 3,000 companies. However, Harriet Lamb, CEO of Fairtrade told Food Navigator that the processes of scaling up to the size the organization is now has been a long and difficult journey.
“Everyday we are dealing with the realities of centuries of oppression, none of which will be solved overnight,” Lamb says.
As Fairtrade expanded, the balancing act between the needs of the private sector and the disadvantaged producers became more conflicted. It is a process that Lamb says requires continuous improvement and fine-tuning.
Growing Fairtrade responsibly is a big concern for the organization. To be sure they do so, Fairtrade has increased attention and resources to the human rights and freedoms promoted by the core ILO Conventions.
“Growth with integrity means growing Fairtrade while taking into account all of the values and norms that are part of Fairtrade,” says Marike de Pena, vice chair of Fairtrade International Board. “Growth can never come at the expense of others.”