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How fair is fair trade?

Hi my friends,

Yesterday I had a Fairmail meeting with the 9 Peruvian teenage photographers we work with at FairMail. To give them a little update on FairMail´s future. The good news I had to tell them was that we had found a Dutch investor who wanted to finance FairMail´s global expansion plans to India and South Africa making of FairMail a socially responsible multinational. 

Our investor was going to invest 250.000 nuevo soles (about $80.000) the coming three years. An astronomical amount for the kids who used to be living on the streets or recycling garbage on the rubish dump of Trujillo. It kind of made me embarased. Even more when I said how we are going to use the money.

I explained the importance of getting Fair Trade certification from the dutch chain of world shops and that that would cost 10.000 soles a year plus 12.000 soles to get registered. While 500 soles is the livable wage in this part of Peru. The kids thought I was nuts.

And in a way it is nuts. Why does this huge amount of money have to be paid to a western certificating organization which means Fairmail makes less profit and thus there is less money to fill the kids education fund? (50% of FairMails profits go to the photographers private education fund). I know the western certification organization also has costs and that 12.000 soles is not a lot of money in The Netherlands. 

But why isn´t there a Fair Trade certification & organization yet. One that is based in Peru and thus has lower overhead costs? Isn´t that what we need to make Fair Trade truely Fair Trade?

I look forward to your replies, Peter.