Last week, we reported that a German retailer is going to use the Fairtrade strategy that supports living wages on plantations. Yet, according to a Dutch importer this decision has a downside.
"One of my suppliers has been doing things differently for years. He provides school facilities for his plantation workers' children and gives his laborers a hot meal. They then don't have to work on an empty stomach. He also pays them local, modal salaries," the importer says.
"This new Fairtrade rule means leaves him with no more money - the children won't get schooling or care, and his workers have to come to work hungry. Plus there's less social contact. It's generally a noble idea on Fairtrade's part, but it will backfire. It considers the issues from too much of a Western stance, instead of practically."
"This supplier is thus going to stop with Fairtrade; they don't want to have double costs. Bear in mind, this company does everything it can to provide good employment for its people. We wholeheartedly agree that producers should conform to social programs. But wages cannot be part of that. There's too great a difference between countries for that."