By Matthew Anderson
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Extra info for A History of Fair Trade in Contemporary Britain: From Civil Society Campaigns to Corporate Compliance
35 In practice, throughout the 1960s, Oxfam’s HbS programme was trading along essentially commercial lines. Products imported from the ‘Third World’ were to be stocked in Oxfam’s shops and sold for a profit which would then contribute towards Oxfam’s international relief and development work. Oxfam Bridge: The search for a ‘Socially Ideal’ model of trade In 1972, Roy Scott, a manager at Oxfam Trading, began work on creating a new type of trading venture. 36 He argued that HbS was too close to the trading values of commercial importers and in a drive to make profit they were ignoring the development potential of international trade.
It was the second, more ambitious, proposal that Scott believed had the greatest potential. 46 Scott’s plans envisaged an organisational structure that would eventually lead to Bridge being run jointly by the consumers and producers independent of Oxfam. 47 In this final model, the Board of Trustees would have no voting rights and Bridge would be organised as an independent co-operative. The role of the consumer was not envisaged by Scott as charity or paternalism. 48 The equality in the proposed consumer/producer relationship was most notably demonstrated by the existence of dividends not only for producers but also for consumers as well.
Internal discussions at Oxfam focused on the possible tensions between backing a scheme that offered the scale and impact of mainstream markets and their role in capacity-building working with marginalised producer communities in Africa. 101 Despite some reservations, by March 1991 support within Oxfam for the idea of the Fairtrade Mark was consolidating. 102 OXFAM Fair Trade Company In 1996 with growing public awareness of Fair Trade, Oxfam’s international trading initiative ‘Bridge’, was renamed the ‘Oxfam Fair Trade Company’.
A History of Fair Trade in Contemporary Britain: From Civil Society Campaigns to Corporate Compliance by Matthew Anderson