Journal of Fair Trade Latest Issues

Below you can find the table of contents for the latest issues of Journal of Fair Trade. All articles are Open Access and links to each article are provided below. The journal is hosted on Science Open and can be found here to read online. 

Journal of Fair Trade, Volume 3, Issue 2

Essays

Systems, solidarity and fair trade 

Tony Brauer, Maria Angela Zamora Chaves and Mike King

https://www.scienceopen.com/hosted-document?doi=10.13169/jfairtrade.3.2.0001

Abstract: The words fair trade are simple, but the ideas behind them are complex. Systems thinking allows an accessible, pluralistic response in which diversity is a bonus rather than a problem, while the model developed here offers a coherent framework for some familiar ideas, and some perhaps less so. A key distinction is made between procedural and reconstructive fair traders. Procedural fair traders focus on making market procedures more equitable. Reconstructive fair traders seek directly to repair social and environmental inequities arising from market and other systemic failures. These roles are seen as complementary rather than mutually exclusive. Procedural reform of the market rewrites the role of intermediaries in the supply chain from profit maximisation towards facilitation. At the same time, both types of fair trader are concerned by the market’s tendency to externalise social and environmental costs. Both types of fair traders also recognise the importance of consumer awareness: corporate behaviour is influenced both by the aggregate of purchasing decisions and by reputational concerns. All of these factors can be understood in the context of an holistic systems view of fair trade in three dimensions: the qualitative narrative, the quantifiable evidence, and the realities of ethical pluralism. This first model is fairly abstract, although underpinned by genuine experience. There is a further step, in which the contribution of this generalised model to the strategies of fair-trade enterprises will be explored.

Keywords: environment; equity; fair trade; participation; solidarity; systems modelling techniques; systems thinking; well-being

 

 

Can fashion ever be fair? 

Bama Athreya

https://www.scienceopen.com/hosted-document?doi=10.13169/jfairtrade.3.2.0016

Abstract: The recent global economic crisis has highlighted the vulnerability of millions of women in apparel supply chains worldwide. Despite decades of activism and a plethora of corporate social responsibility and ethical labelling initiatives, there has been little evidence of progress toward greater equity in the fashion sector. Why can’t we make fashion more fair? This article explains historically rooted causes of inequity for Black and Brown women in apparel supply chains and details the rise of Fair Trade initiatives intended to use market forces to improve existing practices and support alternatives. Attempts to use consumerism and market forces to drive social change raised deep questions for social movement actors regarding first principles. Notwithstanding years of effort, Fair Trade apparel has failed to achieve any significant market penetration. Yet the sector as a whole is experiencing overlapping shocks of digitisation, climate change and pandemic-exacerbated disruptions to supply chains. Social movement actors are also targeting the sector with new demands for social and economic justice. This may provide opportunities to redesign our thinking around Fair Trade and what constitutes fairness in fashion.

Keywords: fashion, labour, gender, Fair Trade, Fairtrade, sweatshops, apparel, certification, ethical standards, antiracism, decolonisation

 

Recentering Fair Trade in the movement for a just, inclusive, and regenerative economy Amanda Kiessel

https://www.scienceopen.com/hosted-document?doi=10.13169/jfairtrade.3.2.0028

Abstract: From the 1970s to the 1990s, Fair Trade was at the front edge of an emerging new paradigm about the purpose of business and the meaning of economic success. The movement for a just, inclusive, and regenerative economy has continued to expand, but today’s young entrepreneurs and activists are more likely to enter through other communities like Buy Local campaigns, racial justice, worker ownership, platform co-operatives, B Corps, social enterprise, regenerative agriculture, zero waste or climate action. Social movements often happen in waves across multiple generations. As Fair Trade commodity certification has become increasingly mainstream, it can be seen as a first wave of the movement. It is a success that deserves to be celebrated, but on its own, it is difficult to sustain. The Fair Trade enterprise community has the potential to engage the next generation of mission-driven entrepreneurs and activists, speed up the next wave of the movement and lock in the success of the first.

 

Keywords: Fair Trade, diffusion of innovation, social movements, buy local, racial justice, social enterprise, B Corps, platform co-operatives, zero waste, climate action

 

An Investigation of Fair Trade Product Knowledge, Beliefs, Experiences and Buying Intentions of Generation Z in the US,

Zoia Pavlovskaia and Ali Kara

https://www.scienceopen.com/hosted-document?doi=10.13169/jfairtrade.3.2.0034

 

Abstract: The Fair Trade movement is an alternative way to conduct international and domestic business by trying to improve trading conditions of disadvantaged producers around the world through consumer actions. Consumers can support the movement by purchasing FT certified products, which confirm that products meet ethical principles and environmental standards that are set in accordance with the requirements. However, FT product sales in the US have been lagging in comparison to the FT product sales in Europe. For instance, per capita consumption of the value of FT products was approximately €3 in the US in comparison to €34 in the UK (Fairtrade International, 2016). This study investigates several variables that can influence Fair Trade consumption, and, specifically, the effects of consumers’ knowledge, beliefs and past experiences on their purchase intentions of Fair Trade products among urban youth consumers in the US. Using the Theory of Reasoned Action as the conceptual framework, data were collected from 154 subjects using an online survey. The results indicate that consumer knowledge about FT has significant positive influence on their purchase intentions, but this relationship is mediated and strengthened by their beliefs and past behaviour. We offer various implications of these findings to FT businesses and organisations.

Keywords: fair trade; Generation Z; theory of reasoned action; fair trade purchase intentions

 

 

 

Fairtrade coffee consumption in Spain: Employing dual attitudes and construal level theory to draw insights on the ethical purchasing gap

Elena Kossmann, Mónica Veloso and Mónica Gómez-Suárez

Abstract:
Fairtrade coffee consumption in Spain: Employing dual attitudes and construal level theory to draw insights on the ethical purchasing gapElena Kossmann, Mónica Veloso and Mónica Gómez-SuárezDr Elena Kossman has been International Marketing Manager in Fairtrade for four years, executing with her team of peers the first global campaign ‘World Fairtrade Challenge’. In 2021 she completed her doctoral research on consumer decision-making processes for Fairtrade products at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain). Together with her supervisor, she has published articles about this topic in journals such as Frontiers in Psychology and International Review of Public and Nonprofit Marketing.Mónica Veloso is Assistant Professor of Marketing at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain). Her current research topics include sustainable tourism, consumer behaviour and experience. She has recently participated as speaker in the I International Forum on Circular Economy, Eco-innovations and Tourism and published papers in academic journals, such as Spanish Journal of Marketing.Dr Mónica Gómez-Suárez is Associate Professor of Marketing at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain). Her current research interests include consumer behaviour sustainability, community attachment in sustainable development and well-being, amongst others. She published more than 50 peer-reviewed articles in academic and professional journals.AbstractAs a contribution to the debate about Fair Trade contributions to the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals, this article investigates Spanish shoppers’ behaviour towards Fairtrade coffee. Although consumers generally state that they purchase fairly traded products, the market shares of most of them remain low, a phenomenon known as the ethical purchasing gap. Our review identifies a gap in extant literature to draw insights on the ethical purchasing gap, utilising two existing theories: attitudes and construal level as appropriate theoretical framework. The first theory highlights the duality of individuals’ attitudes towards an object: explicit attitudes are accessible to the consumers, whereas implicit attitudes are the ones they cannot recall, but nonetheless affect behaviour. The second theory examines the influence of low-level construal (concrete, specific) or high-level construal (general) information on decision-making. A three-stage experiment took place in two sessions in a large university in Madrid in order to apply these two theories. It was based on an online survey on explicit attitudes and purchase intention, and an Implicit Association Test (IAT) to identify implicit attitudes. It was run two weeks apart to capture three points of time effects. The results reveal that, despite exposure to different stimuli, implicit attitudes remain stable along three points of time. The average difference in purchase intentions was positive for low-level construal and negative for high-level construal. Explicit attitudes were not influenced by the exposure to the stimuli. No correlation was found between purchase intentions and implicit or explicit attitudes. These findings have useful managerial implications for both Fair Trade practitioners and academics.
 
Keywords: Ethical purchasing gap; ethical consumerism; implicit association test; dual attitudes; construal level theory; fair trade; consumer behaviour; coffee

Debating the role of Fair Trade in the context of socio-economic transformation in South Africa

Siphelo Ngcwangu

Abstract: The notion of Fair Trade is a unique idea conceptualised historically in Northern countries to advance equitable and just trading processes that could provide an alternative to the mainstream trading system in the world. Northern activists working with producers, labourers and other impoverished sectors of the Global South are using market-based strategies to mobilise consumer awareness in order to bolster incomes and empower Southern producers and workers (Murray & Raynolds, 2007, p. 4). Fair Trade as a system is seen as a progressive attempt to transform the global exchange of products in a way that ensures ethical and socially just methods of production. Barrientos, Conroy and Jones (2007, p. 54) point out that in the United States Fair Trade’s dramatic growth has accentuated underlying differences in the movement and tensions between the movement-based Alternative Trade Organisations (ATO)-led Fair Trade, and certified Fair Trade in mainstream outlets. The limits of the project of Fair Trade are well documented and critiqued by scholars with an appreciation of its limitations. The South African context of Fair Trade needs to align to the social conditions within which agricultural production takes place and the politics of social justice, equity and empowerment. For a South African product to be considered ‘fair’ while the social formation of the country and practices in various sectors still resemble historical inequalities – reflective of South Africa’s colonial and apartheid history – should be seen as contradictory. The Fair Trade system is not as yet well entrenched in South Africa’s political and social culture. For it to be embraced by a wider section of constituencies it needs to go beyond a business-driven process to one that reaches out to civil society. In this article I illustrate what the missing questions are in the South African context of Fair Trade and issues that need serious consideration for Fair Trade to have a wider impact.

Keywords: Equity; empowerment; transformation; South Africa; production; race; political economy; agriculture; rural development

Developing Fair Trade fruit supply chains from  the forests of Senegal’s Casamance

George Williams

George Williams worked at Traidcraft Exchange from 2010 until 2021. From 2018 he was the organisation’s Impact and Learning Manager. In this role he worked closely with Traidcraft Exchange’s programme teams in South Asia and Africa, documenting achievements, approaches and lessons learnt from their work with small-scale producers and workers.

Abstract

Traidcraft Exchange and its sister business Traidcraft plc have been developing Fair Trade supply chains for over three decades. As core certified ‘Fairtrade’ products have become mainstream in UK markets since the late 1990s, Traidcraft Exchange has focused energies on bringing innovative supply chains and small-producer organisations into the wider Fair Trade system. The case study presented here is of rice sourced from smallholder farmers in Myanmar’s Ayeyarwady region: the world’s first Fairtrade product from Myanmar. The case study illustrates how Traidcraft Exchange’s explicit focus on small producers and innovating new supply chains from ‘left behind’ communities can work in practice. It explains challenges faced at both the supplier and market end. It seeks to show how broader programmatic aims to strengthen small producer skills and organisational capacity to engage with trade on fairer terms can mitigate risks associated with export trade to the challenging UK market.

Keywords: rice; paddy; Myanmar; Burma; farmers; small producers; smallholders; Fairtrade; Fair Trade

An empirical study identifying Fair Trade consumer attributes of compassion and sustainability awareness

Shireen Musa and Pradeep Gopalakrishna

Shireen Musa is an Assistant Professor in the Department of International Trade and Marketing at the Fashion Institute of Technology – SUNY. Her research is focused on compassion, mindfulness and Fair Trade consumer behaviour. She enjoys educating her students on various aspects of Fair Trade, while teaching global sourcing, global marketing and international marketing research. She has spoken about sustainability and Fair Trade at both academic and business conferences and has organized sustainability and Fair Trade events on campus. She is also a member of the Chicago Fair Trade organisation. Pradeep Gopalakrishna is a Professor and Chair of the Marketing Department at Pace University. His current research is focused on marketing and sustainability. He has published over 25 conceptual, empirical and case-study journal articles related to various aspects of marketing. He is also a member of the American Marketing Association.

Abstract: While growing awareness, concern and expectation among stakeholders for companies to implement Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policies exists, the fashion industry’s global supply chains and product lifecycles are unsustainable. Fair Trade apparel bridges that gap. The Fair Trade and CSR literature supports the idea that fair trade consumers should possess the attributes of (a) compassion for oneself, others and the environment (COOE) and (b) desire for sustainability awareness (DSA). In this study, we contribute to the literature by developing two new scales to measure these unique qualities. Online surveys were distributed to 1,197 individuals and 258 respondents make up the sample. An Exploratory Factor Analysis, using Principal Component Analysis (PCA) with Varimax Rotation was administered on all items, which made up both scales to determine discriminant validity. Scholars and practitioners can use both new scales to holistically analyse and identify the attributes that motivate consumers to purchase Fair Trade apparel.

Keywords: Compassion; consumer motivation; corporate social responsibility (CSR); Fair Trade; fashion; sustainability; COOE scale; DSA scale

Challenges of COVID-19 for Fair Trade enterprises in attaining Sustainable Development Goals 2030

Jeetendra Dangol and Sunil Chitraka

Jeetendra Dangol (ORCID 0000-0002-5863-8977) is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Management, Tribhuvan University (TU). He earned his PhD from TU where he has been teaching over two decades at graduate level and currently supervising PhD and Mhil research projects. He had served as Deputy Director of School of Management and currently heading Research Department at Public Youth Campus, TU. More than 30 articles on accounting and finance have been published in refereed journals. Prior to his academic journey he had worked in administration and finance for Centre for Rural Technology. Lately he has been engaged in teaching and research in social entrepreneurship. Sunil Chitrakar (ORCID 0000-0002-4808-793X) is CEO of Mahaguthi Craft With Conscience and Visiting Faculty, Nepal Open University. He earned his PhD in Market and Entrepreneurship from Tribhuvan University. He was faculty member at School of Management, TU for five years and has been teaching over 20 years in affiliated colleges. He has been running a Fair Trade (FT) enterprise and actively engaged in national and international networks of FT. Currently he holds positions of Vice Chair at Fair Trade Group Nepal, Regional Representative at World Fair Trade Organization and Vice President at Federation of Handicraft Association of Nepal.AbstractThis paper aims to explore challenges of COVID-19 in achieving sustainable development goal (SDG) 1 ‘no poverty’ by Fair Trade (FT) enterprises. The authors used focus group discussion (FGD) with seven members of World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO) – Asia, from six different countries: Thailand, Bangladesh, Nepal, India, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Findings suggest that COVID-19 has posed bigger challenges to FT enterprises in achieving the SDGs since the pandemic has created challenges not only to the economic aspect but also to the health, education, safety and security of the communities. Due to COVID-19, the progress in attaining SDGs has slowed down, as global unemployment surged, global markets collapsed with a catastrophic economic downturn, which could eventually push more people to the pit of poverty. Stronger collaboration among the stakeholders is needed to achieve the SDGs.

Keywords: COVID-19; enterprises; Fair Trade; sustainable development goals

How Fair Trade can stay strong as companies scale up their social and environmental programmes  Edward MillardEdward Millard is Director, Landscapes and Communities, at Rainforest Alliance, facilitating business, community and policy initiatives for economic development, social equity and environmental conservation. He spent 14 years in Fair Trade with Oxfam GB and writes on lessons learnt from working with tropical commodity producers and markets. The article is written in a personal capacity.

Abstract: The last five years have seen an increased scale of investment by companies in social and environmental initiatives. They are responding to new international agreements designed to eliminate poverty and conserve the natural environment to combat climate change and to a stronger citizen voice pointing out how commodity production and trade impact people and the planet and calling out companies that have damaging impacts. In this context of being more rigorously held to account, companies are changing the way they interact with their supply chains and making public commitments to deliver positive social and environmental results from their operations, or at least to remove negative ones. The civil society and certification organisations that advocate for poor people and nature now operate in a more supportive but also more competitive environment, in which large companies that control most commodity trade have developed their own programmes to deliver their commitments. The article considers whether such programmes are meeting Fair Trade’s mission and how the Fair Trade movement is adapting to the change. It concludes that, despite the challenge to Fairtrade certification from company programmes, Fair Trade remains as relevant as ever and can demonstrate that by focusing on the impact of its achievements.

Keywords: Fair Trade; climate change; sustainable development goals; sustainability; company programmes; certification

Fairtrade coffee consumption in Spain: Employing dual attitudes and construal level theory to draw insights on the ethical purchasing gap

Elena Kossmann, Mónica Veloso and Mónica Gómez-Suárez

Abstract:
Fairtrade coffee consumption in Spain: Employing dual attitudes and construal level theory to draw insights on the ethical purchasing gapElena Kossmann, Mónica Veloso and Mónica Gómez-SuárezDr Elena Kossman has been International Marketing Manager in Fairtrade for four years, executing with her team of peers the first global campaign ‘World Fairtrade Challenge’. In 2021 she completed her doctoral research on consumer decision-making processes for Fairtrade products at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain). Together with her supervisor, she has published articles about this topic in journals such as Frontiers in Psychology and International Review of Public and Nonprofit Marketing.Mónica Veloso is Assistant Professor of Marketing at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain). Her current research topics include sustainable tourism, consumer behaviour and experience. She has recently participated as speaker in the I International Forum on Circular Economy, Eco-innovations and Tourism and published papers in academic journals, such as Spanish Journal of Marketing.Dr Mónica Gómez-Suárez is Associate Professor of Marketing at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain). Her current research interests include consumer behaviour sustainability, community attachment in sustainable development and well-being, amongst others. She published more than 50 peer-reviewed articles in academic and professional journals.AbstractAs a contribution to the debate about Fair Trade contributions to the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals, this article investigates Spanish shoppers’ behaviour towards Fairtrade coffee. Although consumers generally state that they purchase fairly traded products, the market shares of most of them remain low, a phenomenon known as the ethical purchasing gap. Our review identifies a gap in extant literature to draw insights on the ethical purchasing gap, utilising two existing theories: attitudes and construal level as appropriate theoretical framework. The first theory highlights the duality of individuals’ attitudes towards an object: explicit attitudes are accessible to the consumers, whereas implicit attitudes are the ones they cannot recall, but nonetheless affect behaviour. The second theory examines the influence of low-level construal (concrete, specific) or high-level construal (general) information on decision-making. A three-stage experiment took place in two sessions in a large university in Madrid in order to apply these two theories. It was based on an online survey on explicit attitudes and purchase intention, and an Implicit Association Test (IAT) to identify implicit attitudes. It was run two weeks apart to capture three points of time effects. The results reveal that, despite exposure to different stimuli, implicit attitudes remain stable along three points of time. The average difference in purchase intentions was positive for low-level construal and negative for high-level construal. Explicit attitudes were not influenced by the exposure to the stimuli. No correlation was found between purchase intentions and implicit or explicit attitudes. These findings have useful managerial implications for both Fair Trade practitioners and academics.
 
Keywords: Ethical purchasing gap; ethical consumerism; implicit association test; dual attitudes; construal level theory; fair trade; consumer behaviour; coffee

 

Debating the role of Fair Trade in the context of socio-economic transformation in South Africa

Siphelo Ngcwangu

Abstract: The notion of Fair Trade is a unique idea conceptualised historically in Northern countries to advance equitable and just trading processes that could provide an alternative to the mainstream trading system in the world. Northern activists working with producers, labourers and other impoverished sectors of the Global South are using market-based strategies to mobilise consumer awareness in order to bolster incomes and empower Southern producers and workers (Murray & Raynolds, 2007, p. 4). Fair Trade as a system is seen as a progressive attempt to transform the global exchange of products in a way that ensures ethical and socially just methods of production. Barrientos, Conroy and Jones (2007, p. 54) point out that in the United States Fair Trade’s dramatic growth has accentuated underlying differences in the movement and tensions between the movement-based Alternative Trade Organisations (ATO)-led Fair Trade, and certified Fair Trade in mainstream outlets. The limits of the project of Fair Trade are well documented and critiqued by scholars with an appreciation of its limitations. The South African context of Fair Trade needs to align to the social conditions within which agricultural production takes place and the politics of social justice, equity and empowerment. For a South African product to be considered ‘fair’ while the social formation of the country and practices in various sectors still resemble historical inequalities – reflective of South Africa’s colonial and apartheid history – should be seen as contradictory. The Fair Trade system is not as yet well entrenched in South Africa’s political and social culture. For it to be embraced by a wider section of constituencies it needs to go beyond a business-driven process to one that reaches out to civil society. In this article I illustrate what the missing questions are in the South African context of Fair Trade and issues that need serious consideration for Fair Trade to have a wider impact.

Keywords: Equity; empowerment; transformation; South Africa; production; race; political economy; agriculture; rural development

 

Developing Fair Trade fruit supply chains from  the forests of Senegal’s Casamance

George Williams

George Williams worked at Traidcraft Exchange from 2010 until 2021. From 2018 he was the organisation’s Impact and Learning Manager. In this role he worked closely with Traidcraft Exchange’s programme teams in South Asia and Africa, documenting achievements, approaches and lessons learnt from their work with small-scale producers and workers.

Abstract

Traidcraft Exchange and its sister business Traidcraft plc have been developing Fair Trade supply chains for over three decades. As core certified ‘Fairtrade’ products have become mainstream in UK markets since the late 1990s, Traidcraft Exchange has focused energies on bringing innovative supply chains and small-producer organisations into the wider Fair Trade system. The case study presented here is of rice sourced from smallholder farmers in Myanmar’s Ayeyarwady region: the world’s first Fairtrade product from Myanmar. The case study illustrates how Traidcraft Exchange’s explicit focus on small producers and innovating new supply chains from ‘left behind’ communities can work in practice. It explains challenges faced at both the supplier and market end. It seeks to show how broader programmatic aims to strengthen small producer skills and organisational capacity to engage with trade on fairer terms can mitigate risks associated with export trade to the challenging UK market.

Keywords: rice; paddy; Myanmar; Burma; farmers; small producers; smallholders; Fairtrade; Fair Trade

 

An empirical study identifying Fair Trade consumer attributes of compassion and sustainability awareness

Shireen Musa and Pradeep Gopalakrishna

Shireen Musa is an Assistant Professor in the Department of International Trade and Marketing at the Fashion Institute of Technology – SUNY. Her research is focused on compassion, mindfulness and Fair Trade consumer behaviour. She enjoys educating her students on various aspects of Fair Trade, while teaching global sourcing, global marketing and international marketing research. She has spoken about sustainability and Fair Trade at both academic and business conferences and has organized sustainability and Fair Trade events on campus. She is also a member of the Chicago Fair Trade organisation. Pradeep Gopalakrishna is a Professor and Chair of the Marketing Department at Pace University. His current research is focused on marketing and sustainability. He has published over 25 conceptual, empirical and case-study journal articles related to various aspects of marketing. He is also a member of the American Marketing Association.

Abstract: While growing awareness, concern and expectation among stakeholders for companies to implement Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policies exists, the fashion industry’s global supply chains and product lifecycles are unsustainable. Fair Trade apparel bridges that gap. The Fair Trade and CSR literature supports the idea that fair trade consumers should possess the attributes of (a) compassion for oneself, others and the environment (COOE) and (b) desire for sustainability awareness (DSA). In this study, we contribute to the literature by developing two new scales to measure these unique qualities. Online surveys were distributed to 1,197 individuals and 258 respondents make up the sample. An Exploratory Factor Analysis, using Principal Component Analysis (PCA) with Varimax Rotation was administered on all items, which made up both scales to determine discriminant validity. Scholars and practitioners can use both new scales to holistically analyse and identify the attributes that motivate consumers to purchase Fair Trade apparel.

Keywords: Compassion; consumer motivation; corporate social responsibility (CSR); Fair Trade; fashion; sustainability; COOE scale; DSA scale

Challenges of COVID-19 for Fair Trade enterprises in attaining Sustainable Development Goals 2030

Jeetendra Dangol and Sunil Chitraka

Jeetendra Dangol (ORCID 0000-0002-5863-8977) is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Management, Tribhuvan University (TU). He earned his PhD from TU where he has been teaching over two decades at graduate level and currently supervising PhD and Mhil research projects. He had served as Deputy Director of School of Management and currently heading Research Department at Public Youth Campus, TU. More than 30 articles on accounting and finance have been published in refereed journals. Prior to his academic journey he had worked in administration and finance for Centre for Rural Technology. Lately he has been engaged in teaching and research in social entrepreneurship. Sunil Chitrakar (ORCID 0000-0002-4808-793X) is CEO of Mahaguthi Craft With Conscience and Visiting Faculty, Nepal Open University. He earned his PhD in Market and Entrepreneurship from Tribhuvan University. He was faculty member at School of Management, TU for five years and has been teaching over 20 years in affiliated colleges. He has been running a Fair Trade (FT) enterprise and actively engaged in national and international networks of FT. Currently he holds positions of Vice Chair at Fair Trade Group Nepal, Regional Representative at World Fair Trade Organization and Vice President at Federation of Handicraft Association of Nepal.AbstractThis paper aims to explore challenges of COVID-19 in achieving sustainable development goal (SDG) 1 ‘no poverty’ by Fair Trade (FT) enterprises. The authors used focus group discussion (FGD) with seven members of World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO) – Asia, from six different countries: Thailand, Bangladesh, Nepal, India, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Findings suggest that COVID-19 has posed bigger challenges to FT enterprises in achieving the SDGs since the pandemic has created challenges not only to the economic aspect but also to the health, education, safety and security of the communities. Due to COVID-19, the progress in attaining SDGs has slowed down, as global unemployment surged, global markets collapsed with a catastrophic economic downturn, which could eventually push more people to the pit of poverty. Stronger collaboration among the stakeholders is needed to achieve the SDGs.

Keywords: COVID-19; enterprises; Fair Trade; sustainable development goals

 

How Fair Trade can stay strong as companies scale up their social and environmental programmes  Edward MillardEdward Millard is Director, Landscapes and Communities, at Rainforest Alliance, facilitating business, community and policy initiatives for economic development, social equity and environmental conservation. He spent 14 years in Fair Trade with Oxfam GB and writes on lessons learnt from working with tropical commodity producers and markets. The article is written in a personal capacity.

Abstract: The last five years have seen an increased scale of investment by companies in social and environmental initiatives. They are responding to new international agreements designed to eliminate poverty and conserve the natural environment to combat climate change and to a stronger citizen voice pointing out how commodity production and trade impact people and the planet and calling out companies that have damaging impacts. In this context of being more rigorously held to account, companies are changing the way they interact with their supply chains and making public commitments to deliver positive social and environmental results from their operations, or at least to remove negative ones. The civil society and certification organisations that advocate for poor people and nature now operate in a more supportive but also more competitive environment, in which large companies that control most commodity trade have developed their own programmes to deliver their commitments. The article considers whether such programmes are meeting Fair Trade’s mission and how the Fair Trade movement is adapting to the change. It concludes that, despite the challenge to Fairtrade certification from company programmes, Fair Trade remains as relevant as ever and can demonstrate that by focusing on the impact of its achievements.

Keywords: Fair Trade; climate change; sustainable development goals; sustainability; company programmes; certification

 

 

The meaning of Fair Trade for wild plants

Rie Makita

Rie Makita is a Professor in the Faculty of International Social Sciences at Gakushuin University, Japan. Her recent research focuses on relationships between global value chains and sustainable livelihoods. Her publications include Fair Trade and Organic Initiatives in Asian Agriculture: The Hidden Realities (Routledge, 2019).

Abstract

Where the Fair Trade initiative is applied to wild plants, two contradictory objectives may arise: that of conserving a target plant species (conservation) and that of increasing income from it for collectors (poverty alleviation). As identified through my fieldwork in India, a Fair Trade certification for wild plants has been introduced for different purposes, including
(a) to teach the local community the forgotten value of natural resources (conservation),
(b) to make current collection practices more sustainable in exchange for better prices (both conservation and poverty alleviation), and (c) to help the most vulnerable collectors with better prices (poverty alleviation). A review of my past study (Makita, 2018) suggests that when there is a single primary objective, such as (a) or (c), certification can more obviously contribute to the achievement of this objective. Given the uniqueness of wild plants as an income source, it is important to clarify which one of the two contradictory objectives will be prioritised, rather than pursuing both.

Keywords: certification; income source; natural resource conservation; non-timber forest products; wild plant collectors

The Maasai Intellectual Property Initiative: a 20th-century model for turning assets into income

Meg Brindle and Natalia Florman

Meg Brindle, PhD has taught entrepreneurship and management at the graduate level for 25 years. Meg co-founded the African IP Trust (africaniptrust.org); authored five books, including Social entrepreneurship for development: A business model, and holds a PhD, post-doc and MS from Carnegie Mellon University.

Natalia Florman is a consultant who has been interested in the Maasai since meeting Chief Isaac ole Tialolo at a London event. She led operations at a climate change data firm after gaining a Master of International Development degree from King’s College London and a Bachelor of Economics degree from the University of Bristol.

Abstract

The names and images of indigenous people such as the Maasai, Cherokee and Navajo are used to advance the intangible value of thousands of products from cars to shoes and luxury brand clothing across the globe. The Maasai name or image are used on over 1,000 products. This article highlights a decade of work to enable the Maasai tribe of Kenya and Tanzania, of over 2 million tribal people, to receive sustainable income from the use of their name and image by creating a win-win situation. We describe how the Maasai have been organised into a legal entity called the Maasai Intellectual Property Initiative Trust (MIPI), to own and receive income from their Intellectual Property. Secondly, we describe a definitive strategy to enable the Maasai to grant certification to companies and to license approved users. This atypical model of Fair Trade would enable a sustainable source of revenue to the Maasai who live largely in deep poverty. The strategy is not dissimilar, albeit atypical, to what a well-known individual such as Charlie Chaplin or a product such as Coca Cola would do – own, protect and benefit from their iconic brand that adds value. The initiative has implications for other indigenous people who comprise about 6 per cent of the global population.

Keywords: intellectual property; Maasai; indigenous peoples; certification; Fair Trade; license; exploitation; branding; brand value; social responsibility

The Fair Rubber Association: where fairly traded rubber hits the road

Martin Kunz

Dr Martin Kunz has been involved with Fair Trade for over 45 years. As a university student, he co-founded a World Shop in his home town of Ludwigsburg, Germany. He was the first chairman of the board of the Fair Trade wholesaler GEPA and co-founder and first executive secretary of the international Fair Trade umbrella associations Transfair International as well as its successor Fairtrade Labelling Organizations (FLO) International. Martin also set up the FLO tea-producer register, including the concept of so-called ‘joint bodies’ on plantations. He is currently the Executive Secretary of the Fair Rubber Association (Fair Rubber e.V.), established in Germany in 2012 to help improve the working and living conditions of the primary producers of natural rubber and provide a platform for cooperation between the diverse companies trading and making products with Fairly Traded natural rubber.

Abstract

This article reflects on the evolution of rubber (natural latex) production and aspects of its bloody, colonial history, noting the varied applications of rubber in objects around us. The author shows why rubber is a product in need of a Fair Trade label to promote good conditions for rubber tappers, farmers and workers, despite being rejected as a product candidate by FLO international. Lessons are drawn from the evolution of Fairtrade certification criteria and design flaws and the barriers this represents for other major commodities like rubber to be added. Building on the innovations in criteria, representation and premium system developed for Fair Trade Tea plantations, the Fair Rubber Association’s approach is described, including the dynamics of the market for workers and small-scale producers. This essay explores issues of measuring labour costs, determining fair prices for workers and farmers. The article shows how this was resolved for Fair Trade rubber and the challenges to be overcome of extreme price sensitivity of major users (like the car industry) and rise of synthetic rubber.

Keywords: Fair Trade labelling; natural rubber; smallholders; tappers; synthetic rubber; Fair Rubber Association (FRA); FLO criteria; certification; social standards; FSC; Fair Trade premium

Gaps in expectations of a cotton producer: the case of Rwenzori cotton farmers in Uganda

Yorokamu K. Abainenamar

The author, Yorokamu K. Abainenamar, sadly passed away during the editing of this article. A full tribute is available on the Journal of Fair Trade website at https://www.joft.org.uk/inspiration/inspiring-people. He was an economist, formerly a management trainer/lecturer and coffee and cotton exporter for co-operatives for over 25 years. He represented Africa on the Board of Fairtrade/FLO, Bonn, and was founder chairman of Fairtrade Africa. He worked with the TJX Rwenzori Sustainable Trade Strategy/Project as Strategic and Commercial Advisor/Consultant (2012–2019). He supported the formation and value chain development of over 30 producer co-operative organisations in Eastern Africa. Abainenamar achieved a Master of Economics degree from the University of Birmingham, UK, and a Bachelor of Statistics and Applied Economics degree from Makerere University, Kampala. He held certificates in international coffee trade and cotton trade from Coffee Federation, London and Liverpool Cotton Association, UK. He gained several other certificates in international trade and export promotion from ITC/UNCTAD/GATT. He will be dearly missed.

Abstract

The plight of the smallholder cotton farmer in the Rwenzori region of western Uganda starts with the unfair terms of hiring land for cultivation. The next hurdle is the loss of ownership of the cotton at the earliest stage of the value chain after delivering the produce to the ginner. Even the Fairtrade standards base the minimum price for the farmer on delivery of seed cotton at the ginnery, implying that the farmer is not expected to participate in the value chain and share the accruing value additions further up the chain. However, members of the Rwenzori Farmers’ marketing Co-operative Society decided to move a step up the value chain by hiring the ginning services and, hence, retained the ownership of both the lint and cotton seed, which improved their income by at least 30 per cent. The strategy is to find investors to enable them to spin the cotton and manufacture the final products.

Keywords: migrant farmer; RWEFAMACOS; value chain; ownership rights; lint; traceability; strategy; integration; gaps; co-operative; Fairtrade

Developing a Fairtrade rice supply chain from Myanmar: achievements, challenges, lessons

George Williams

George Williams worked at Traidcraft Exchange from 2010 until 2021. From 2018 he was the organisation’s Impact and Learning Manager. In this role he worked closely with Traidcraft Exchange’s programme teams in South Asia and Africa, documenting achievements, approaches and lessons learnt from their work with small-scale producers and workers.

Abstract

Traidcraft Exchange and its sister business Traidcraft plc have been developing Fair Trade supply chains for over three decades. As core certified ‘Fairtrade’ products have become mainstream in UK markets since the late 1990s, Traidcraft Exchange has focused energies on bringing innovative supply chains and small-producer organisations into the wider Fair Trade system. The case study presented here is of rice sourced from smallholder farmers in Myanmar’s Ayeyarwady region: the world’s first Fairtrade product from Myanmar. The case study illustrates how Traidcraft Exchange’s explicit focus on small producers and innovating new supply chains from ‘left behind’ communities can work in practice. It explains challenges faced at both the supplier and market end. It seeks to show how broader programmatic aims to strengthen small producer skills and organisational capacity to engage with trade on fairer terms can mitigate risks associated with export trade to the challenging UK market.

Keywords: rice; paddy; Myanmar; Burma; farmers; small producers; smallholders; Fairtrade; Fair Trade

Atypicality: foundational principles making trade fairer

Pauline Tiffen, George Williams and Patrick Van Zwanenberg

Fair Trade Software: empowering people, enabling economies

Peres Were, Julie Madeley and Mädchen Munsell

Fair Trade Software (FTS) builds on the principles of conventional Fair Trade and applies them to software services in developing countries. Using a model of Shared Value Creation, FTS leverages reputation enhancement opportunities for companies in OECD countries to encourage them to share knowledge with partners in developing countries. Working in this way has been demonstrated to improve the quality and capacity of software companies in developing countries and generate digital employment for urban youth. The improvement gains can lead to significant improvements in other sectors that rely on digital services, e.g. healthcare and education.

Keywords: ICT4D, digital training in developing countries, Fair Trade innovation, Fair Trade Software

Fair Trade and distant production: the normalisation of the North in book publishing

Audrey Small

This article seeks to articulate some of the major theoretical difficulties raised by associating book publishing with Fair Trade, building on the concept of the ‘distant producer’ as critiqued by both Frank Trentmann and Matthias Zick Varul. Where these scholars examine the framing of the Fair Trade producer as always being based in the global South, this article explores an instance of a ‘distant Northern producer’ of sorts, with particular reference to the publishing of ‘francophone African literature’. The dominance of Northern publishers in this field creates a complex series of ‘normalisations of the North’, in which Paris is normalised as the centre of cultural production; the French language is normalised as the dominant language of culture; and non-print literatures are marginalised in global cultural production. Specific issues concerning intellectual production and property then may be seen as sitting uneasily alongside traditional models and perceptions of Fair Trade.

Keywords: livre équitable, International Alliance of Independent Publishers, francophone African literature

The ‘burden’ of traceability in gold supply chains

David Finlay

Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (ASM) constitutes 15% (600 tonnes) of global gold production but, as a sector, remains largely veiled to both businesses and consumers in developed Western markets. The movement towards the ‘responsible sourcing’ of such gold is beginning to gain traction, especially in the jewellery sector, but has started some two decades after equivalent movements for responsible coffee, cocoa and tea, and is accompanied by its own – often surprising – challenges. This article provides an overview of both the ASM landscape and the challenges facing miners and supply chain actors in delivering responsibly mined gold to the point of end-consumer products. It concludes with two examples of mass-balance models that Fairtrade is introducing to drive increases in the volumes of responsibly mined gold sold from mine sites, which accounts for and responds to the ‘burden’ of full traceability for both large- and small-scale supply chain actors.

Keywords: gold, mining, responsible sourcing, ASM, business, extractives, supply chain, traceability, Fairtrade gold

Changing the optics on palm oil: Fair Trade smallholder supply chains from the palm’s ancestral home in West Africa (pp. 35-38)

George Williams

Fair Trade cannabis: a road map for meeting the socio-economic needs and interests of small and traditional growers

Sylvia Kay, Martin Jelsma and David Bewley-Taylor

Policy changes over the past five years have dramatically reshaped the global cannabis market, opening up legal markets for medical cannabis and, increasingly, also for adult, non-medical use. Despite the fact that these shifts look set to bring a clear range of benefits in terms of health and human rights, there is concern over the many for-profit cannabis companies from the Global North that are aggressively competing to capture the licit spaces, squeezing out small and traditional cannabis farmers from the Global South. If the construction of the global cannabis prohibition regime was an historic mistake, then a transition towards a legally regulated market that concentrates profits in a handful of Big Pharma, Ag, Tobacco and Cannabis companies, while locking out small-scale farmers in the Global South, only serves to further this damaging legacy. The focus of Fair Trade cannabis must be to empower small and traditional producers in the cannabis trade, based on a number of first order principles, market strategies and public policies. Crucially, growers must be enabled to organise amongst themselves and forge coalitions with other actors in order to advocate for appropriate frameworks and interventions.

Keywords: cannabis, sustainable development, human rights, market strategy, cooperatives, war on drugs, drug policy, Fair Trade

Changing the optics on palm oil: Fair Trade smallholder supply chains from the palm’s ancestral home in West Africa

George Williams

Traidcraft Exchange and its sister business Traidcraft Plc have been developing Fair Trade supply chains for over three decades. As core ‘Fairtrade’-certified commodities such as coffee, cocoa, tea and bananas have become mainstream in the UK market since the late 1990s, Traidcraft has focused energies on bringing new innovative supply chains and new small-producer organisations into the wider Fair Trade system. The case study presented here is of palm oil sourced from smallholder farmers in Ghana’s Eastern region: a commodity normally synonymous with environmental degradation and an area left behind by the economic development of Greater Accra. The case study seeks to demonstrate how Traidcraft’s explicit focus on working with small producers and new innovative product ranges provides a counter-balance to consolidation of certified ‘Fairtrade’ around core commodities. At the same time, the case study highlights some of the challenges of bringing new products to market in the UK’s current retail environment.

Keywords: palm oil, Ghana, smallholders, Fairtrade, Fair Trade, SME

Bioleft: open-source seeds for low-input farming systems

Almendra Cremaschi and Patrick van Zwanenberg

This article describes Bioleft, an ‘open source’, highly collaborative seed breeding initiative, in order to encourage reflection on potential synergies with fair trade ideas and practices. Bioleft aims to develop and redistribute collective agency over seed breeding, as a response to the emergence of an oligopolistic seed industry. It is experimenting with novel approaches to seed innovation that increase the diversity of crop varieties, in order to support agricultural practices that are ignored by mainstream seed firms, particularly small-scale family farming and more ecologically and socially sustainable agricultural practices. More generally it is experimenting with new forms of social and productive organization based on norms of sharing and solidarity.

Keywords: Bioleft, Open-source seeds, Collaborative innovation

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