Millions of people around the world rely on agriculture for their livelihoods. In some poorer countries up to 70% of the population is fully or partly dependent on it. The growing market share and power of retailers has contributed to a situation where workers’ rights and environmental standards are under pressure in an effort to secure large quantities of products at the cheapest possible price.
Labelling and accreditation systems like Fairtrade and Traidcraft have been crucial in raising the profile of ethical issues in food and farming. Today the UK market for ‘ethical’ food is the second largest in the world after the US, and UK Fairtrade sales alone stood at £712 million in 2008.
The issues that arise from accredited some products as fairer than others include: