Beyond a Fair Price: The Co-operative Movement and Fair Trade

Friday, 25 September 2009

One of the common features of the co-operative and Fair Trade movements
is that both were established as responses to inequalities and unjust market
practices. Both movements responded to those inequalities by developing
practices rooted in the values of self help, personal responsibility, democracy,
equality, equity and solidarity. They have empowered and informed producers
and consumers, and demonstrated that ethically driven businesses can
flourish in a competitive market. This message is even more relevant today
when the world is facing urgent environmental and food security challenges
at the same time as the global economy is facing its worst crisis in decades.

This paper is therefore a very welcome and timely contribution to the debate
on how the co-operative and Fair Trade movements can help build a fairer
society, capable of addressing these crises. It is clear that a model that
incorporates environmental and social responsibility and meets the needs of
all in the value chain, rather than the needs of a few giant companies, is one
that will be welcomed by many.



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