World Trade Organisation should lead the way on social and environmental aspects of trade

Source: CSR Europe, 12 September 2003

A new survey released today by business network CSR Europe shows that a majority of respondents to a recent web survey expect the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to set overall global standards on the social and environmental aspects of international trade. The results underline the growing expectations and demands made of the trade organisation, which is currently holding its 5th Ministerial Conference is currently underway in Cancun, Mexico.
Four out of ten participants in the survey said the WTO should lead the way in bringing social and environmental issues into trade discussions. Survey respondents preferred this approach to one in which companies set such standards by themselves – only four percent thought businesses should take on this role.

Respondents showed a strong support for fair trade and guaranteeing suppliers such as coffee growers in the developing world a minimum income irrespective of world commodity prices. Nearly eight out of ten respondents felt that multinational coporations should support this model by paying their suppliers a fair living wage even when market forces pushed commodity prices below average.

Of those surveyed, 57 percent said they would be willing to pay more for a fair trade product, and 28 percent said they regularly bought these products already.