At least one UK corporation tries to restrain market fundamentalism:
In the world’s biggest conversion of its kind, J Sainsbury, a leading UK food retailer, yesterday announced it will convert its entire banana range to 100 per cent Fairtrade, a move that could mean a boost for the Caribbean’s struggling banana sector.
Especially since as a result of the conversion, Sainsbury’s will buy five times as many Fairtrade bananas from growers. As a key part of its commitment to Fairtrade, Sainsbury’s has also strengthened its commitment to maintaining long-term relationships with Fairtrade certified small-scale farmers in the Windward Islands and the Dominican Republic. The Sainsbury’s announcement, together with expected growth elsewhere in the UK market, means that the Windward Islands could be selling all of their bananas under Fairtrade terms by the end of 2007. Smallholder producers in the Dominican Republic will also be selling more of their bananas under Fairtrade terms and new farming groups there and in Colombia will be able to sell their bananas for the first time to the UK Fairtrade market.
Fairtrade has already proven to be a lifeline for Caribbean banana-growing smallholders after years of declining incomes in the face of cut-throat global competition. The FAIRTRADE Mark is an independent consumer label, which appears on products as an independent guarantee that disadvantaged producers in the developing world are getting a better deal.