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Rules of Fair Trade Neglected by American Manufacturers


andean-collection-fair-trade-1-537x402The blooming number of westernized manufacturers that move their production to developing countries, raises the important and yet somehow neglected question about the fairness of ‘fair trade’.

Although companies base their actions on the simple economic theory that  increasing employment rates in developing countries will push up local income, and improve quality of life, it is clear that in many poor regions of the world this is not happening.

Many American companies do not increase wages, but rather use cheap labor to boost their business. They simply forget that in order to ensure fair trade, major manufacturers should focus on what is right and ethical, regardless of governmental regulations, or the lack of such.

Earlier this week, the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh collapsed resulting in the loss of many lives. The building was used by an American company to take advantage of low cost workers, without implementing any safety regulations.

Of course, there are factories that follow the rules of fair trade. The companies take care of their workers and ensure suitable conditions for everyone, who works at their facilities. An example  that should be followed is the Samaki Sewing Network in Cambodia. Although the production volume is no where near this of the Bangladeshi factories, the workers are provided with everything they need to happily meet the demand.

In order to make a change, we as consumers should keep in mind that companies produce goods according to our needs. If we make sure we purchase only fair trade goods and focus a bit more on where our clothing comes from, instead of expensive it is, we will hopefully contribute to improving the quality of life of many people in the developing world.


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