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Additional info for A History of Fair Trade in Contemporary Britain: From Civil Society Campaigns to Corporate Compliance
On average, 75% of sales went to Fair Trade organisations (including Oxfam Fair Trade), 21% went to the domestic market and only 4% went to commercial markets. The report’s conclusion called for a new consideration of Oxfam’s role in relation to global markets. Hopkins proposed that ‘the aim cannot be limited to accessing mainstream markets but, in addition, to influence the terms in which this market operates. ’116 Rather than the commercial challenges, it was the bigger conceptual and political questions emerging from this assessment that preoccupied Oxfam.
Is Fair Trade able to engage with the poorest producers? 10 The story of Oxfam’s trading ventures has frequently been cited to illustrate this narrative. Gavin Fridell, for instance outlines how, ‘In Europe, Oxfam UK was at the head of the Fair Trade network. 11 William Low and Eileen Davenport, investigating the ‘alternative’ character of Oxfam ‘Helping by Selling’ 25 Fair Trade argued that, ‘The principal of linking income generation for marginalized groups through the sale of their own handcraft products had become the dominant paradigm by the late 1950s.
Chapter 4 investigates the role of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) on the international stage, particularly in relation to conditions of workers in the Third World. By using Fair Trade as a focal point, this chapter looks to understand how (and if) the TUC incorporated the concerns of Third World workers into its international agenda. What emerges is a discrepancy between the ideals of international trade unionism, which articulated a philosophy consistent with the main principles of the Fair Trade movement, and the reality of the TUC’s international programme that prioritised the job security of its members sometimes at the expense of workers in the Third World.
A History of Fair Trade in Contemporary Britain: From Civil Society Campaigns to Corporate Compliance by Matthew Anderson