Fairtrade Fiasco

Neil Pendock February 22, 2014 0

SA Fairtrade producers should be furious. First James Lovelock, the inventor of Gaia, the hairy sandal philosophy that views the earth as a benign, sentient, self-regulating organism, calls ethical consumption a scam. “Having a ‘green lifestyle’ amounts to little more than ‘ostentatious grand gestures’. [James] distrusts the notion of ethical consumption. ‘Because always, in the end, it turns out to be a scam … or if it wasn’t one in the beginning, it becomes one.'”


And now the same newspaper recommends “why not buy a non-Fairtrade certified bottle that’s on offer from one of the Fairtrade wine-producing countries (South Africa, Chile and Argentina) and drop the money you save into the collection box next time you’re near an Oxfam?” If Tesco’s, the largest UK supermarket, can only bother to list 3 Fairtrade wines – and one of them is “an aromatized wine product cocktail” – why should SA producers pay millions to Harriet Lamb (above) and the Fairtrade luvvies relaxing in their La-Z-Boy recliners in London?

As the Guardian notes “the discouraging thing about Fairtrade wines is that it seems like it’s one step forward, two steps back. Last year, I thought the overall quality had improved; this year, I’ve really struggled to find wines to recommend.”

Stuff them. Vinpro, the SA producers’ organization, is busy trying to sell producers on WIETA, a home-grown Fairtrade package, from the Laborie stoep where they hang out like superannuated students. How many Wieta wines will Tesco’s list, manne? Is ethical trading yet another scam foisted onto SA producers?


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