¿Por qué pagar más por equidad?

Marks & Spencer, una cadena de supermercados y de ropa con 400 tiendas en toda Gran Bretaña, anunció recientemente que está convirtiendo toda su rama de café y té, con un total de 38 líneas, a Fairtrade, un símbolo de marketing que representa una “producción ética”. La cadena ya vende sólo té y café Fairtrade en sus 200 cafeterías Café Revive. También está fomentando la compra de camisas y otros productos fabricados con algodón Fairtrade. El anuncio se produjo durante “Fairtrade Fortnight”, una promoción de dos semanas de productos Fairtrade que incluyó giras donde agricultores de países en desarrollo les contaban a los británicos de qué manera Fairtrade asiste a sus comunidades.

El movimiento hacia un consumo más ético hizo importantes avances también en Estados Unidos, ya que los consumidores se inclinan, cada vez más, por alimentos orgánicos producidos localmente y huevos de gallinas que no están encerradas en jaulas. En Gran Bretaña, una encuesta determinó que la mitad de las personas a las que se les mostró el símbolo Fairtrade lo reconoció y entendió que se refiere a productos que representan mejores condiciones para los agricultores del Tercer Mundo. No existe una investigación comparable en Estados Unidos, pero a partir de datos relacionados, y de discusiones con mis propios alumnos, se infiere que la cifra sería mucho menor.

Los comerciantes que buscan una certificación Fairtrade deben pagar a los productores un precio que cubra los costos de una producción sustentable y ofrezca un salario que les permita vivir. Por ejemplo, el precio mínimo para el café es de 1,26 dólares por 450 gramos, no importa cuánto pueda haber caído el precio de mercado. Si el precio de mercado sube por encima de esa cifra, el precio de Fairtrade aumentará de modo que siga costando cinco centavos más por cada 450 gramos.

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