Today I'm going to announce a new initiative in the field of feel good marketing. WTF? Well the religions got there first with their magnificent Kosher and Halal brands. Then the RSPCA got in on the act with freedom foods guaranteeing good slaughter. Nowadays you can pay a few quid extra to call your flight 'carbon neutral'. And there's the Fairtrade logo which assures us that some of the raw ingredients have traded at a 'fair price'. Marketeers will stop at nothing to sell stuff . A cynic might suggest the rise of the ethical consumer is being countered by ethical labels placed on dubious products.
Take the fairtrade KitKat, owned by Nestlé . The words boycott and Nestlé go together like beer and curry. For the last thirty years Nestlé has been one of the most despised food companies there is. I can recall first hearing about the Nestlé Baby Milk Scandal in1984 but this site dates it to 1977. Nestlé will argue there is no proof but it is one of the longest running corporate boycotts and scandals there is. It even has it's own wikipedia page. And then in late '09 the Fairtrade people came along and bestowed their seal of approval on KitKat. My thoughts at the time were "Either the people at Nestlé have become saints or the people at Fairtrade have sold out."
Now Greenpeace have found that Nestlés suppliers have cleared the rain forest which Orang-Utans live in to make palm oil for your Kit Kats. Facing eviction from their habitat and extinction doesn't sound like a fair trade to me. Orang-Utans are more important than my elevenses that's for sure so I find myself boycotting (once again) this product, but now it is fairtade. To many consumers the Fairtrade logo means "you don't need to worry about ethical provenance weve already done that for you". The problem with Fairtade is that it allows corporations to purchase their ethical credentials . Corporations have no conscience. Conscience can only be forced upon them by the consumer . A consumer boycott may not be very powerful but it is the only tool in the box. I'm sorry Fairtrade but you are a corporation too. It is noteworthy i.m.h.o. that The Guardian's announcement of this marriage described it as a 'major coup for Fairtade' not the other way around.
So anyway this new initiative. I'm gonna call it the "Hengist McStone Certificate of Adequacy and Provenance" or CrAP and it is available to all corporations industrialists marketeers and the like. Naturally I will require a small kickback to cover my expenses in processing applications. A million dollars should cover it. Currently there are no products carrying this coveted seal of approval, which is it's selling point really.