The question posed in this article is whether Fairtrade only acts as an ‘ethical offset’ for consumers. It is commonly argued that the consumers’ interests for Fairtrade are questionable and variable. I argue that this is partly due to the lack of information for consumers. Fair trade has increasingly become a contested idea with questions of whether it is nothing more than the latest idea.
Fairtrade promises to offer change, increased price for producers and the dignity for producers through consumers buying a few Fairtrade goods. Recently documentaries on the ‘bad’ work conditions of many companies in the world has opened the eyes of many consumers to the exploitation of producers and this has helped increase the popularity of fair trade goods.
To understand whether Fairtrade is nothing but a catchword we need to consider the core of the matter: why do consumers buy goods?