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Is Fair Trade a tool to appease the conscience or a political lever?

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  1. Abstract.
  2. Acknowledgments.
  3. Introduction.
    1. Fair Trade, the present situation and challenges for the future.
    2. To educate for better consuming.
    3. Fair Trade, a political weapon?
  4. Conclusion.
  5. References.
  6. Appendix 1.

Fair Trade is an approach based on precise criterion of sustainable development; relations of exchanges of long duration and direct relations removing the intermediaries. According to these criterions, the Fair Trade organizations of North thus begin to buy these products at a just price which ensures the producers a decent life by taking into account not only the real cost of production, but also the financing of projects of local development in education, workers' instruction and health. Reciprocally, the South producers involve themselves in co-operatives, associations or companies with social purposes respecting the interdependent economic values and organizing their work in a transparent and democratic method, while respecting the requirements of the sustainable development and the fundamental principles with the labour laws. The Fair Trade movement pursues a double aim: on the one hand, to get better living standard and working conditions for the small South producers by creating structures to market their products near the North consumers attentive with North-South solidarity, and on the other hand, to attract the publics attention to the injustice and the inequalities caused by the common rules of the international trade and to act close the political and economic authorities.

[...] The associative world fears that a public label is limited to define some measurable criterion - as the price in the producer what would open the door with actors who do not worry about the political aspect of the Fair Trade. A little like AB[14] label for the biological agriculture, which offers the guarantee of the French state, which the product is without pesticides, but does not prevent that a biological apple produced in Italy is packed in Central Europe and sold in a Paris supermarket after thousands of kilometres in the lorry. [...]

[...] Is the Fair Trade, a tool to appease the consciences or a political lever? Its success questions and provokes initiatives, criticisms and debates. Furthermore, the literature grew rich significantly these two last years: reports, articles, publications propagated by Internet, University work . what shows an apparent interest for this question. To analyze these second problems, it is to seek the best tools in order to educating the consumers at this new market and it is also to inquire itself of coherent political actions with the Fair Trade. [...]

[...] Finally, even though it knows an admirable development, Fair Trade cannot with him only ensure a response to the whole of the questions of the underdevelopment and it is not a question only of the Fair Trade's capacity to change scale. Indeed, it touches only one very weak part of the international trade. However the initiatives abound with a large variety of approach and its contribution with the durable development will be decisive only in measurement or it will be the base for more total and key changes of the world trade's operation. [...]

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