What is the Business Value of Fair Trade?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

PHILADELPHIA (Oct. 26, 2009) -- On Friday, Oct. 30, Saint Joseph’s University will host a one-day event focusing on the business value of Fair Trade. Titled, “Examining Fair Trade: Good Will and Good Business?,” the symposium will take place on campus in Mandeville Hall’s Wolfington Teletorium® between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

According to John McCall, Ph.D., director of the Pedro Arrupe Center for Business Ethics at Saint Joseph’s University and a professor of management and philosophy, “It is time for corporate leaders to acknowledge some responsibility for the working conditions under which their products are produced.”

The fair trade movement, which began shortly after the Cold War, has regained momentum recently. A 2008 Fair Trade Federation Interim Report stated there was a 102 percent growth in U.S. and Canadian sales for Fair Trade products between 2004 and 2006. Increasingly, corporations are confronted with vocal consumer demands for fair trade certified products.

“As the labor and environmental problems of globally-sourced production become more obvious to companies and consumers alike, firms can no longer escape responsibility by claiming ignorance about the practices of their suppliers,” explains McCall. “Instead, firms have an increased responsibility to manage their supply chains and to ensure the products they sell are produced under socially responsible conditions.”

The symposium will offer objective perspectives from fair trade sponsors, academics, the food industry and the community.

Featured speakers include: Paul Rice, president and CEO of TransFair USA; Michael Conroy, principal of Colibri Consulting-Certification for Sustainable Development; Rick Peyser, director, social advocacy of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters.

Panel presenters will feature representatives from Untours, the Society of Small Producers for Coffee Export, Wakefern, Inc., and Procacci Brothers.

Just because a company labels its product as fair trade, doesn’t mean it is necessarily 100 percent fair trade,” cautions C.J. McNutt Chair for Food Marketing Neal Hooker, Ph.D. “Companies need to be more transparent on this issue, while international trade agencies need to develop greater equity in how these products are labeled and marketed to consumers.”

Fair Trade Symposium, Friday, Oct. 30 Saint Joseph’s University, Mandeville Hall, Wolfington Teletorium Registration: 8-9 a.m., Program: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Cost: $40 www.sju.edu/academics/hsb/grad/efm/programs/fairtrade/

Media Contact

Carolyn Steigleman, Associate Director of University Communications, 610-660-1355, csteigle@sju.edu

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