Fairtrade On Demand

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Fairtrade On Demand could be doable by building a transaction system where the consumer can choose to pay a producer premium directly to the producer of the raw materials if the supply chain can be tracked with high enough resolution.

With the advent of things like "Verified by Visa" and similar products coming from other companies, where at least to my understanding the fund transaction is conducted and verified by the company so that the receiver of the money does not need to know the payers identity this could be an interesting idea to develop.

Lets take a coffee producing co-operative as an example.

  • The cooperative produces coffee, which is hard work and then sells the coffee to the current market price, which is way too low.
  • The coffee is tagged with some identification and that identification is maintained throughout the refining process which manifestates itself in you seeing an package of coffee in the store.
  • Lets say the coffee producers need a blackboard, some chalk and schoolbooks and stuff and they manage to get the word out to the Content Wiki that this is what they need.
  • Someone figures out how much it'll cost to get the supplies they need purchased and transported to them and marks this up in the system
  • Then when a consumer touches the coffee pacage with her/his terminal the packet tells where the coffee is coming from and notifies the consumer that the producers have requested they need some people to pay a producer premium to get school supplies.
  • The system could also tell how much of the needed money is already accumulated
  • The consumer then has the choice to authorize the check-out to charge the producer premium, which can be fixed, relative or free for the consumer to choose.
  • Alternatively the consumer can go home, try the product out and if it seems so good that you are willing to "donate" money to help the people who made the product possible then that can be done over the internet using "Verified By Visa" or similar system.
  • If the consumer chooses that s/he doesn't ever want to pay a producer premium then fine, just set the preferences so that s/he never gets to even see Requests for Fairtrade On Demand.
  • Also multiple producers can have a shared identification code and bank account in which case the consumer can chooce from their different requests for supplies and funds or just disperse the premium evenly between all of them.

Surely this kind of system would be very suspect to corruption in many ways and would require a skilled and well equipped audit organisation to keep it truthful and uncorrupt as possible.

Some criticism of the on-demand concept can be found at [1].