The Perfection of Generosity & Giving Gone Wrong

Giving money can be good, but it can also be done in a misguided way.


The Fairtrade brand is offers products such as coffee, tea, and chocolate at a premium price. The idea being that the premium price is almost an “ethical tax” to ensure that more is given to the farmers and workers, and less to the fat cats / big corporations.

SOAS is the School of Oriental and African Studies based in central London. They are a part of University of London. SOAS published a report in May 2014 describing how Fairtrade failed to live up to it’s brand. The report describes how many of the poorest workers do not have access to facilities. For example, in one Fairtrade tea co-operative the modern toilet facilities funded by Fairtrade were exclusively for the use of senior managers.

Cancer Research Charitable Trust

In March 2013 the Cancer Research Charitable Trust was in the news. The trust was a registered charity in New Zealand. It was found that of the NZD $1.1 million collected by the Cancer Research Charitable Trust over four years:

  • less than 5% was donated towards cancer research;
  • 40% of were sent offshore;
  • and the rest going towards staff and administration costs.

Despite these findings, no charges were made by either the Serious Fraud Office or Internal Affairs.

Cancer trust gives less than 5% of donations, March 20, 2013

Cancer trust freezes fundraising, March 25, 2013

Controversial cancer trust avoids prosecution, December 23, 2013

Research finds Fairtrade fails the poorest workers in Ethiopia and Uganda

Fairtrade accused of failing to deliver benefits to African farmworkers