Christopher Cramer from Soas, University of London (see Tim Worstall’s further analysis of this study):
We also knew that Fairtrade standards for tea and coffee have always been far more concerned with the incomes of producers than with wage workers’ earnings. What did surprise us is how wages are typically lower, and on the whole conditions worse, for workers in areas with Fairtrade organisations than for those in other areas.
Careful statistical analysis allowed us to separate out the possible effects of other factors, such as the scale of production. Still, the differences were in most cases, and especially for wages, statistically significant. Explaining why it should be that workers in areas dominated by Fairtrade organisations are so often worse off than workers in other areas is a complex and challenging task. Our full report explores some possible reasons.
It was also surprising to learn that many people do not benefit from the “community” projects supported with funds generated by the “social premium” consumers pay for Fairtrade products. Researchers at Soas, University of London, formerly know as the School of Oriental and African Studies, found that many of the poorest are unable to use these facilities. In one Fairtrade tea co-operative the modern toilets funded with the premium were exclusively for the use of senior co-op managers