Rättevisemärkt missar den osynliga handen

Helene Markstedt, generalsekreterare på Rättvisemärkt, skriver i Aftonbladet om konfektyrbolagens brist på ansvarstagande:

För tio år sedan lovade chokladföretagen att hantera problemen genom självreglering. Det är dags att inse att det inte har fungerat.

Detta är ett vanligt diskursivt knep. Man konstaterar en åsikt som om den vore alldeles självklar. Inse att det inte har fungerat, menar Markstedt. Vad tyder på att det inte har fungerat, hade någon kunnat replikera ifall detta hade varit ett muntligt anförande.

Följande artikel från 2008 har det saxats ur tidigare på denna blogg, men eftersom frågan om den giriga kapitalismen ständigt återkommer gör det väl inget om man upprepar sig någon gång ibland:

Cadbury will spend £44m ($87m) over ten years to finance the partnership, starting with a £1m investment in a seed fund this year, and increasing to £5m a year from 2010. The aim of the venture is to show cocoa farmers how to increase yields using fertilisers and by working with each other. It will also help them to find additional sources of income by encouraging them to plant red peppers and mangoes, which can grow beneath cocoa trees, and coconuts, which can grow above them. Moreover, Cadbury has commissioned 850 water wells, serving 150 to 200 people each, which will give women and children liberated from water-fetching duties time to do other things. It intends to finance schools, teachers and libraries.

Is there another motive for the ostensibly philanthropic venture? Without cocoa supplies from Ghana, Cadbury would be in big trouble. The west African country provides all of the cocoa for Cadbury’s British operations and 70% of its worldwide supply. Cadbury says Ghanaian high-quality cocoa gives Dairy Milk, Creme Egg and other Cadbury treats their distinctive taste. It buys one-tenth of the crop produced in Ghana, which is the second-biggest producer after Côte d’Ivoire.

Alarm bells started to ring at the firm’s headquarters when a Cadbury-financed study by the University of Sussex and the University of Accra found that the average production of a cocoa farmer had dropped to 40% of potential yield, and that the children of cocoa farmers did not want to work in the family business any more. Ghanaian farmers have six children on average and farm tiny plots of land of around two hectares. Some have annual incomes of as little as £450.

So Cadbury decided to do something that it hopes will secure its supply—and make it look virtuous. It could have signed up to Fairtrade, an international social movement that promotes the payment of above-market prices to producers of agricultural commodities in developing countries by setting a floor price, with an additional premium that goes to farmers for reinvestment and social projects. “But we found that productivity, not price, was the problem,” says Alex Cole of Cadbury. Ghanaian cocoa trades at 10% above the average world price of £1,176 per tonne. So Cadbury devised a scheme of its own that is similar to Fairtrade in some respects, but gives it greater flexibility over the terms. /…/

Mars, the biggest American chocolate-maker, does not sell any Fairtrade products in spite of loud clamouring from campaigners, but last year pledged $4.5m over three years for a scheme to improve cocoa farming in west Africa, run in partnership with four non-governmental organisations and a development agency. /…/

Fairtrade and large corporations do not sit naturally together. Fairtrade’s price-adjustment mechanism is intended to insulate small producers from volatile commodity markets and the free-trading, no-holds-barred capitalism that multinational companies espouse. But firms are finding ways to improve the lot of small farmers, and burnish their own reputations, without signing up to Fairtrade’s rules.

Och så var det med det. Men sedan så är ju inte Markstedt heller på något sätt, av naturliga skäl, det minsta objektiv i denna fråga.

Simon Hedlin Larsson

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