Why Fairtrade above other certifications?

I have been asked recently about the difference between Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance.
There really is no comparison between the two certifications.
Fairtrade is your only really guarantee that the people behind the products you buy are getting a good deal in the way they are treated, earning a living wage and have an opportunity to improve life for themselves, their families, their communities and their futures. Fairtrade is an independent certification. Rainforest Alliance was created by businesses, for businesses. A great idea, but big business puts profit before anything else.
Rainforest Alliance has come under criticism many times in recent years. The certification was led initially by Unilever and other multinational companies such as Nestle (see previous posts on my feeling about Unilever and Nestle’s ethics). These huge corporations want to be seen to be part of the movement towards sustainable living and a more transparent way of working. But evidence suggests that for the most part the creation of Rainforest Alliance Certification has been ineffective and at worst cynical. Little independent monitoring takes place, when practice has been scrutinised independently, it has been found to be seriously flawed: examples are employees working on temporary contracts, paid under the minimum wage, women are discriminated against, or at risk and treated poorly in the workplace, and there is little meaningful evidence that the certification is protecting the wildlife that it has been primarily set-up to protect. Working on the scale that these huge companies operate, puts profit before environment or people.
Here is something you can do, when you are buying your weekly groceries, ask the questions, and check it out:
Who made this?
Who is behind this product?
How and where was it made?
If you want to know more about the businesses behind the products you buy, I recommend looking at Ethical Consummer, who provide useful information about larger corporations, in what, with whom and where they invest their money and information about their operations.
Here is a link which might be of interest, to a recent article about Rainforest Alliance (RA) Coffee, and an article by Ethical Consummer on RA tea.

Ethical Consumer Report
Rainforest Alliance Coffee article

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