It is well known that many companies around the world take advantage of the cheap cost of living and desperate workforces to obtain labour or products for as small a price as possible. This has seen some firms make huge profits but has also seen them come in for huge criticism for the exploitation of these people. Not every country in the world has labour laws, which mean these firms are able to have work undertaken for a fraction of the cost they would have to pay anywhere else around the world. It is easy to see why many firms take this action but it is certainly not acceptable. It is not as if the lower costs are passed onto consumers in other countries, they are used as profits for the company doing the exploitation. In this instance, everyone except the company is losing out and it is obvious that the people at the bottom of the chain are being very poorly treated.
This is why consumers in developed countries can put pressure on companies to improve their behaviour in these countries. If every consumer pledged to not buy products that are produced in sweat shops or which earn their workers an absolute pittance, firms would soon take notice and start paying a fairer wage to the people working for them. This is the idea behind the fair trade movement, where companies pledge to offer a fair price for the goods and labour they use in making their products. The cost of production in these companies is still far lower than what the firm would pay in more developed countries, so it is not as if the company is losing out too much. The end consumer gains high quality products that have been ethically sourced and produced and the people carrying out the work are being properly compensated for their work and effort, which is something that is appealing to many people.
If two similar products are on the shelf at a similar price, the one that has the Fair Trade logo is going to be more appealing to many customers than the other product. This indicates there is a level of solidarity between consumers and workers in developing nations and it is important that major companies recognise this and alter their behaviour to take account of this fact. Every consumer can play their part in helping to make life easier for people working in developing countries and so can businesses, by reacting to these consumer wishes.
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