Saving our planet; one bag at a time

May 26, 2007

Looks like others also find Fair Trade expensive

Filed under: Environment — Kaajal @ 7:03 pm

Looks like others also find Fair Trade expensive

I just read a blog ( where the high cost of getting Fair Trade Certification is discussed.

The girl who wrote the blog – an American - seemed to think that companies should spend the money anyway because it is worth it. In many ways I agree with her and yet when I think of the reality around me, I wonder. For her, it would be impossible to appreciate the impact of the fact that one US dollar costs 41 Indian Rupees. 800 Euros a day to get the certification translates to around Rs.40,000 a day.

Earlier this afternoon I went to check on a small informal classroom at a friend’s home where she holds free classes for all the impoverished kinds from her neighboring areas where another friend of mine has agreed to go teach a skill that will help those kids learn crafts that will allow them to earn a livelihood in the future.

One day, when enough of them have learned and their skills developed perhaps we can have them make some products for us to offer visitors to our website.

This is what makes me think. That Rs.40,000 would allow such classes to be conducted for almost 3 months. That’s how much money it is here.

I’ve left a comment on her blog and hope to have a dialog with her.


  1. It’s important to keep in mind here that fair trade, as opposed to most development efforts, is market-driven.

    Therefore there is a reason why certification costs were added in the first place: without them, fair trade certification bodies would be flooded with thousands of applications of organizations who would probably not sell anything on the fair trade market (because of insufficient market demand).

    Adding a certification fee allows the fair trade system to “filter out” all the organizations without a market demand and retain only those who actually have buyers for their products on the fair trade market. For these organizations these costs are easily outweighted by the benefits of fair trade (minimum price, development premium, prefinancing and so on).

    There’s also another reason why certification fees were added: with them, fair traders finally have found an independent way to finance inspections who until then were only funded by “charity money” that could run out at any time. This independent source of funding also allows ISO 65 certification - an accreditation that basically confirms that the entire system is credible and effective.

    I hope this answers your questions :-)

    Quebec City, Canada

    Comment by Vincent Lagace — May 29, 2007 @ 7:57 am

  2. Keep doing what you are doing…you don’t need to spend the money for Fair Trade Certification. That’s what wrong with things today. We keep getting more and more charges for lables and certificates and then can’t offer our products for an affordable price. You are doing a good joy and valuable service for your community. I enjoy your writing and appreciate that you explained fair trade. I want to offer an affordable quality product for my customers and I am happy to have found you.

    Comment by becki — June 3, 2007 @ 11:22 am

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