Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Doing 30% of the right thing

I had some Co-op flapjacks the other day, and very tasty they were too. There was a label on the packet saying:

Made with 30% Fairtrade ingredients

…and 70% Namibian orphans’ tears?

I’d have thought ‘ethical consuming’ would be more of an absolutist affair. You don’t get banks boasting that they won’t invest all of your money in the arms trade or hear swanky supermarkets proclaiming that their smoothies contain ‘not that many’ artificial additives. And how many films do you see where ‘only a few’ animals were hurt during the making?

More generally, I have yet to hear of anyone trying to market Stella to Muslims as ‘94.8% alcohol-free’, and I doubt that any industrialist has ever used the slogan ‘Most asbestos users stay alive!’

Anyway. Those flapjacks were the most fairly traded ones I could find: not completely fair but at least fairly fairly traded. So my conscience is clear. 30% of it, anyway.


Chris said...

Sorry, but I think you'll find that it may be that it was some of the ingredients i.e. sugar that's Fair Trade, not 30% FT sugar and 70% evil sugar, 30% FT oats, 70% oats of the damned... I got very confused about a Fair Trade beer brewed on the Isle of Wight, wondering whether the Isle of Wight counted as an impoversihed third world country, until I checked and found that it was the honey in it that made it so. And I hardly think this is unfair, oats aren't a big export of Burkina Faso and you don't want Fair Trade products to be only those which are 100% imported, do you?

Anonymous said...

"oats of the damned"

Makes me think.

Is it about time we introduced compulsory relabelling of all non-Fairtrade products along the cigarette health warning lines - ie large straplines with phrases like: "Four children died in the making of this product", "This product may include blood, sweat and tears", etc.

Matt M said...

The Fairtrade "Geobars" I have are 30.9% Fairtrade ingredients. So does that make me .9% more ethical than you?

Unknown said...

At Costa coffee they used to allow you to pay 10p extra to have fair trade coffee. Which I always thought was a pretty stark admission that their normal coffee was made from the finely ground bones of Colombian peasants.

Tom Freeman said...

"the finely ground bones of Colombian peasants"

But were they free-range peasants?