Adonis Diaries

Equitable business practices: Max Havelaar?

Posted on: August 22, 2010

Equitable business practices: Max Havelaar?

The organizations and institutions for monitoring, supervising, and investigating the claims of industries and businesses “on equitable business practices” for paying workers right and allowing syndicates are taking wings.

For example, the US Workers Rights Consortium (WRC) was founded in 2000 by universities, students, and specialists in work rights. The WRC verifies on location that engagement of businesses in matters of work conditions, liberty of establishing work syndicates, and proper remuneration for work done is authentic.

In De Villa Alta Gracia (Rep. of Dominican), Knights Apparel refurbished a factory vacated by South Korean BJ&B that manufactured baseball hats for Nike and Reebok.  Knights Apparel is paying 3-fold what workers used to get from the Korean (sweat shop factory) and a work syndicate is functioning.

Barnes & Nobles and Follet are merchandising university’s products of shirts and other paraphernalia manufactured by companies respecting the WRC engagements. Nike and Adidas are watching closely the performance of the promotional efforts for selling equitable products at the same prices as theirs.

For the same quality, would students buy equitable products instead of world trade marks?

Before WRC, ONG Solidaridad, directed by Nico Roozen, established the movement of equitable standards in doing business.

A Mexican coffee grower sent Nico a response to a monetary gift stating: “Thank you for the gift.  We would have preferred that you aid us in buying our coffee products at equitable prices.”

Nico is associated with a Netherland Anglican priest (Frans Van der Hoff) who was implicated in Mexican coffee cooperatives and founded the first coffee label Max Havelaar.  The coffee label Max Havelaar is officially born in 1988 at Amsterdam and became a house name.

Three years later, in 1991, Nico instituted the Fairtrade Labeling Organization (FLO) that dispatches inspectors to verify marks claiming “equitable trades” for sugar, honey, tea, and chocolate.  Nico instituted AgroFair with the label Oke for all kinds of fruits.  “Fairtrade towns” in the Netherland were the rage; the Capital Rotterdam is one of the agglomerations.

Who is Max Havelaar?  He is the hero of the book “Max Havelaar” published in 1860 by Eduard Douwes Dekker under the pen name of Multatuli. Dekker worked in 1856 with the United Netherlands Company of Oriental India.  He witnessed the ravages and calamities that colonial power policies did in Indonesia.

The inhabitants of Indonesia (about 12.5 millions in 1860 were governed by 43,000 Europeans) grew rice and were self-sufficient.  The colonial power wanted to grow coffee, sugar, and indigo to satisfy the European markets with luxury items.

In 1840, half the rice fields in Java were transformed into fields that could not feed the Indonesians and famine stroke down; mother sold their kids and even ate them.  Around 1859, coffee harvest was considered insufficient by the Netherlands colonial power and thus, 850,000 Indonesian peasants were forced to work for free in building infrastructures of roads, canals, railroads, and ports to cater to the transport of merchandise to Europe.

Indonesia was occupied by the Netherlands in 1596.  In 1621, the founder of this empire, Jan Pieterszoon Coen wrote on the genocide committed to the indigenous in the island of Banda, a region rich in coconut, muscat, and black cashew.

Dekker exposed to the king his grief stating: “More than 30 millions of your subjects are maltreated and exploited in your name.”

2 Responses to "Equitable business practices: Max Havelaar?"

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adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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