105 La Bestia a freight train that they believe will take them to the rich north but many never reach their destination alive Fair trade and sustainability certification cannot take the place of inad equate state structures or social safety nets Nor can they completely disre gard regional wage structures or existing market prices because otherwise competing employers might use violent methods to prevent themselves from coming under wage pressure or losing employees to the competition What fair trade and sustainability certificates can do however is establish a minimum standard that draws a line and clearly states that there must be a certain amount of protection and social justice A line that we won t go below And of course it s always possible to do more When it comes to our cultiva tion partners we are directly on the spot and are familiar with their specific situation the structures and often the historic context as well Armed with this knowledge we are positioned to help the local people For example it s a long way from the coffee finca estate of our cultivation partner in rural Mex ico to the nearest secondary school In the rainy season in particular the walk of up to one hour can be a problem With this in mind we have arranged for a school bus to take the children of finca employees to school And in the Assam region of India alcoholism is a problem in some villag es In a project funded by the German Investment and De velopment Corporation DEG Deutsche Investi tions und Entwicklungsgesellschaft we helped our tea cultivation partner in the fight against al cohol addiction We could provide a long list of such projects What they all have in common is that the measures are adapted to the situation on the ground We can t create a perfect world through these activities but we can help to build a better reality How much improvement is actual ly possible is ultimately decided in part by the buy ing and consumption patterns of well informed customers Purchasing

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