Professor voices concern as corporations dip into the fair-trade market

Cadbury announced yesterday that it will become the largest candy company in Canada to sell fair-trade-certified chocolate, a move that proponents hope will push its competitors to follow suit – but that also raises concerns about the future of the cause, wrote The Globe and Mail Aug. 26.

As the movement gains ground among consumers, some experts question whether certification bodies are embracing the growing corporate presence too eagerly.

Professor Darryl Reed, coordinator of the Business & Society Program in York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, said the changing landscape may be cause for concern as well as celebration.

Traditionally, most fair-trade-certified companies focused only on that market. But for some of the larger companies now entering the fray, fair trade is just a fraction of their overall business. This raises fears they won’t be committed to the cause, Reed said.

Although fair-trade producers selling to corporations are guaranteed a higher price, Reed wonders whether they will receive the same level of community-based support as they would from a company dedicated solely to fair-trade buying and selling. “The producers are not their primary concern,” he said. “Shareholders are.”

Finding a balance between raising consumer awareness and sticking to the movement’s original tenets could become a major challenge for fair-trade organizations, Reed said.

Three vie for Queen of the Furrow

Three young women will be vying for the Queen of the Furrow title next weekend, one of the traditions of the annual Perth County Plowing Match, including York student Brittany Graul, wrote the Stratford Beacon-Herald Aug. 25.

The competition consists of taking a turn behind the wheel of a tractor and plowing (under the guidance of a coach), an interview, a speech and answering an impromptu question, all in front of a panel of three judges.

Graul, 21, grew up on a dairy farm but is currently living in Toronto while attending York University for political science. In the future she plans to attend law school with a specialization in either corporate or environmental law. She is currently employed by the Canadian National Exhibition as its social advocacy coordinator. In her spare time, she likes to read, play soccer and work with the Law & Society Students Association, of which she is vice-president external.

Former Lions coach is ‘right man for the job’

Giuseppe Politi is notorious for setting high expectations, wrote The Sudbury Star Aug. 26 in a story about the former York Lions assistant coach’s appointment as head coach at Sudbury’s Cambrian College.

As a soccer coach and player, Politi never settles for anything less than the absolute best from himself and his teammates and players, especially when it comes to loyalty, commitment and dedication.

It’s this unwavering character trait Cambrian College hopes will help keep moving its men’s soccer team to bigger and better things as they named Politi the new head coach. He also knows what it takes to win the big games. As an assistant coach with the York University men’s soccer team last season, he helped them win a national title. “From my experience at York University last year, honesty and attention to detail are cornerstones to being successful at the postsecondary level,” said Politi.

On air

  • Paul Delaney, physics & astronomy professor in York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering, spoke about the cancellation of the launch of the space shuttle on CTV News Aug. 25.