community trade

ZeppelinAngel

Diabloii.Net Member
community trade

What are your thoughts on this type of business? For those of you that don't know what teh hell I'm talking about you can read about it here.

The Body Shop is the first major retailer I've seen that is so proud about doing this sort of thing. They buy their erm.. natural 'ingredients' from farmers in poor countries, because they want to help out the people that are in need in these places.

I'm not sure whether to believe they're doing this for the actual good of these countries/people, or to think they're doing it because they know they can get their natural, what would normally be expensive ingredients for their products, at a below average price (or so it seems).

What are your thoughts on this? Think they're going for the cheapest possible resource of these normally expensive goods? Or think they're really actually trying to help out these poor people, and provide them with a buyer that wants the goods they produce.
 

AeroJonesy

Diabloii.Net Member
I vote cheap resources. A business can't exist solely on the fact that buying their product helps benefit poor people. One could almost consider this exploitation. Of course, if you say you are helping people, you surely can't be exploiting them, right?
 

mouschi

Diabloii.Net Member
I would say both act as the motivation. They get cheaper sources of supplies and a better public image. Although I doubt they did it for purely altruistic reasons, it seems like a good business idea. Good PR move.
 

DurfBarian

Diabloii.Net Member
I vote "both" also. You can see the same thing at Peet's Coffee: This company buys beans from farmers who don't use pesticides, or pays extra for beans that are grown in programs to keep farmers from growing coca instead, and then charges more for them than you would pay for ordinary beans. There are a few factors involved here:

* The company does get to help a cause (Body Shop and Peet's are both run by known hippies who really believe in these things, you know ;) )
* The company gets to build good press about itself in the rich Western countries where there are people who believe in these causes
* The company gets its hands on premium natural materials that can be sold at a premium price

If the firm is doing it entirely for the sake of the people cultivating those materials, then it isn't a company; it's a nonprofit organization. Of course they're in it to make money. But they are making that money in a way that jibes with their beliefs, which are real, no matter how cynical you want to be about it.
 
DurfBarian said:
I vote "both" also. You can see the same thing at Peet's Coffee: This company buys beans from farmers who don't use pesticides, or pays extra for beans that are grown in programs to keep farmers from growing coca instead, and then charges more for them than you would pay for ordinary beans. There are a few factors involved here:

* The company does get to help a cause (Body Shop and Peet's are both run by known hippies who really believe in these things, you know ;) )
* The company gets to build good press about itself in the rich Western countries where there are people who believe in these causes
* The company gets its hands on premium natural materials that can be sold at a premium price

If the firm is doing it entirely for the sake of the people cultivating those materials, then it isn't a company; it's a nonprofit organization. Of course they're in it to make money. But they are making that money in a way that jibes with their beliefs, which are real, no matter how cynical you want to be about it.
Both? Maybe. Leaning heavily towards profit motives, in my book. Looks good and is politically correct.

Who could ask for anything more?

NB :p
 

DurfBarian

Diabloii.Net Member
Like I said, if it leans too far away from profit the organization stops being a company and starts being an NPO. But I can tell you that in the Peet's Coffee case, the firm is run by a bunch of certified Berkeley folks who rarely wear shoes and never outgrew the sixties, really . . . so there's more than a healthy dose of idealism there. :)

And hey, when you're located in Berkeley, that idealism sells pretty well! (Besides, the coffee is really good . . .)
 
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