As communication and transport throughout the world becomes easier, many people have talked about globalisation and a global economy. This means that countries can trade with each other and companies are not bound to the country they are based in.
Because some countries are more developed that others, many people have become concerned about trade being fair. Every time we buy goods or a service, we hope someone will benefit by employment, or profit. However, someone else may be exploited and treated badly. For example, some developed businesses are in a better position to be able to market and export vast quantities of their goods and can keep their prices low. Other smaller companies or individual farmers cannot compete with such cheap prices and are therefore often priced out of the market and are unable to sell their goods. You may have read about some international companies in developing countries who pay their workers low wages, but charge high prices when their products are sold in Britain.
The phrase ‘fair trade’ means that everyone in a global economy should be given a fair deal. (You may have noticed some products in your local supermarket, such as coffee or bananas are labelled with a ‘fair trade’ marker). Some companies have made a definite commitment to taking part in fair trade and helping developing countries escape exploitation.
Many people in Britain, Europe and the western world are used to being able to buy whatever they wish and to have whatever they have seen advertised. Many of us rarely question how and where these products were made. Charity events such as Comic Relief highlight schemes and ways to promote fair trade and to help people understand the way world trade works. This can often have as much effect upon the world environment as more locally based projects.