Is Fairtrade reducing environmental sustainability?
Fairtrade without further consideration may not be environmentally sustainable into the future. Many consumers have become increasingly concerned that Fairtrade is not environmentally sustainable for a number of reasons. Questions have been produced over the carbon travel footprint of the goods, the biodegradable nature of packaging and the internal actions within the companies. Many people feel confused whether to choose local or Fairtrade goods. There is no simple answer for each decision, as it is necessary to balance values and importance.
A major area of concern is whether the carbon footprint of transported goods (especially heavy craft goods) across the world is greater than the social positives. My experience of the transport of goods is it is not efficient, cost effective or simple with many having to be transported over vast distances. However, many goods are unable to be made in the UK to the same quantity or quality than what is transported in – many goods we buy in as Fairtrade would be similarly transported across the globe, but by buying Fairtrade we are at least supporting the most marginalised producers in the world.