Fair Trade Adopted By Big Beverage

Common Dreams: Britain’s most boycotted company, Nestlé, will attempt to claim the moral high ground today in the battle for “ethical shopping” by becoming the first multi-national to launch a Fair-Trade coffee.
In a link with the Fair Trade Foundation, the Swiss food firm announced it will become the first of the big four coffee roasters to agree a “fair price” for farmers who are put into poverty by a glut of coffee on international markets.
The move by Nestlé, the world’s biggest food and drink company, has caused a row among aid and trade workers over whether multi-nationals with controversial records should be given the “Fair Trade” seal of approval. Under Fair Trade rules, farmers and growers of everything from tea to pineapples are paid a “fair price” guaranteed higher than that on world markets.
But despite Nestlé’s adoption of Fair Trade – which will be backed by a £1m advertising campaign – the company will still buy almost all of its coffee at the prevailing, low world price.
The Fair Trade Foundation said that Nestlé’s move would put pressure on the other big coffee roasters – Kraft, Procter & Gamble and Sara Lee – to adopt Fair Trade practices.
Amy Barry, the trade spokeswoman for Oxfam – a member of the Fair Trade Foundation – said Nestlé’s move was “a very small step” in the right direction.
“We would welcome it, but with very big caveats,” she commented. “There is an enormous amount more that Nestlé and the other major coffee roasters need to do to address the crisis facing the world’s coffee farmers.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.