My friend Anna runs The Massai Brand: http://www.maasaibrand.com/
We met at a COFTA, (http://www.cofta.org/en/en/index.asp
), conference in May last year.
She wrote me a very excited email yesterday telling me that The Massai Brand had just been fair trade certified by COFTA's big sister, the WFTO, (http://www.wfto.com/
It took her 2 years of back and forth monitoring and filling out countless documents, not to mention having to backtrack accounting documentation, (and when working on the ground in Africa this is not necessarily as easy as opening up a folder on your computer).
This got me thinking.
Fair trade is a social movement that has its roots in marketing strategies. An early 2007 window display in Barney’s in New York City advertised for their new range of ‘insanely sustainable’ clothing.
Would a closer inspection of the actual clothing factually justify this bold statement?
With so many accreditations being promoted, do they hold the same validity as a department store’s self made acclamation?
Is it really justified for companies to only work with certified producers, even though the majority of small cooperatives do not have access to this information?
Basically, I would really like to hear your guys' opinions on fair trade certification.
Is it necessary? Does it work?
Is it a matter of just educating the consumer?
Personal stories, opinions...let's hear em!