Vol. 1, No. 2, Oct 2019
Fair Trade Futures
This is an opinion piece that looks at how the Fair Trade movement has evolved over time and questions why the movement has lost momentum. This article investigates whether the world still needs Fair Trade and, if so, what the future of the Fair Trade movement should look like. This piece is based on first-hand interviews with Jonathan Rosenthal, the Executive Director of the New Economy Coalition; Carol Wills, the former Executive Director of the International Fair Trade Association (now the World Fair Trade Organization) and Head of Oxfam's ‘Bridge’ Fair Trade Programme; Sophi Tranchell, CEO of the acclaimed farmer-owned company Divine Chocolate; Roopa Mehta, CEO of the Sasha Association for Craft Producers; Rudi Dalvai, President of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO); Carl Grasveld, Logistics Assistant at the United Nations; Martin Newman, values and mission coach for global business leaders; and Bob Thomson, Founder and former Managing Director (1994–2000) of Fairtrade Canada.
Growers of agricultural products and key actors involved in the value chain in advanced and high-income developing countries commonly use brands in marketing agricultural products and strengthening competiveness in the market. However, the tool is little known and used by farmers and stakeholders involved in the processing and marketing of agricultural products in Africa. There are encouraging recent developments in the use of brands to market agricultural products, with the support of development partners such as the World Intellectual Property Organization and the Department for International Development (DFID). This article aims to explain the significance of agriculture, the challenges in marketing agricultural products and the importance of promoting the use of brands in marketing African countries' agricultural products. A review of experiences in the use of brands in marketing agricultural products will be subject to a subsequent article.
Keywords: branding competitiveness marketing agricultural products farmers exporters; Africa
Maximising and extracting profits has become the central design feature of mainstream business. Fortunately, alternatives to this idea are on the rise, among them the Fair Trade Enterprises spread across over seventy countries. Distinct from commodity-focused models, Fair Trade's enterprise verification system (WFTO system) is focused on the mission, priorities and structures of an entire enterprise. Recent analysis of this Fair Trade Enterprise model has uncovered distinct structural features that shape their priorities and decision-making processes. Such structural features determine where profits go, which stakeholders are given power and, ultimately, whom the business is set up to benefit. By remaining mission-led, Fair Trade Enterprises demonstrate that business can be viable without endlessly pursuing profit maximisation. This is an idea that can transcend social and environmental objectives, particularly in tackling rising inequality. Fair Trade's community of verified mission-led enterprises can be a proof of concept for the enterprises of the new economy.
Keywords: Fair Trade, social enterprise, corporate governance, inequality, supply chains, labour rights, sustainable development, certification, smallholder farming, poverty
Who enables sustainable Fair Trade? The current status and challenges of Fair Trade in Korea (pp. 24-31)
Seonyoung Hwang, Sunhwa Kim, Jihyun Jeong and Seungkwon Jang
This study aims to explore the status of Fair Trade in Korea and suggest directions Korean Fair Trade might take for its sustainable development and practices. Initiated in the early 2000s, Fair Trade in Korea has been growing ever since. It has seen the emergence of various participants in Fair Trade value chains. The diversity of participants in the value chain has led to a variety of practices. It can be meaningful for researchers and actors to explore who implements Fair Trade in Korea in what ways and to discuss how Fair Trade can be developed sustainably. The authors examine the characteristics of the participants and their activities through a value chain analysis of Korean Fair Trade, and discuss ways forward for sustainable Fair Trade.
Keywords: Fair Trade, social economy, value chain, sustainability, Korea
This paper aims to explore Fair Trade consumer orientations by focusing on the ‘citizen-consumer’ dimension. Those who buy Fair Trade products are often regarded as consumers who are motivated by social responsibility and an altruistic spirit. However, some studies show that such consumers are not necessarily altruistic or political, but rather hedonistic and individualistic. In order to examine what kinds of people purchase Fair Trade products, we analyse the Fair Trade consumer's attitude using social survey data from Japan. The result of this analysis demonstrates that the variables concerning ‘alternative hedonism’ (creativity, quality of products, post-materialism) have positive effects on response in purchasing Fair Trade products. On the other hand, the variables concerning ‘civic virtue’ (dedication to the public interest, altruism, social support) have no significant effect on it. This result shows that Fair Trade consumers do not always internalise the movement's principles, but pursue their individual lifestyle in different ways. In other words, consumers' ‘little narratives’ are not an obstacle to the realisation of ‘grand narratives’, but rather a condition of the latter.
Keywords: ethical consumption, citizen-consumer, alternative hedonism, quantitative analysis, social survey
There is an extensive literature on the impact of Fair Trade. While much of the evidence is positive, there are also studies that find negligible, neutral or even negative effects. In this article, I propose that a paradigm shift towards systematic and regular outcome and impact reporting by Fair Trade organisations is both possible and urgently needed. This shift will align financial and non-financial reporting and help to ensure that Fair Trade is delivering on its core objectives, which include better prices for smallholder producers, improved working conditions and local sustainability. I provide evidence that at least some of the mainstream agribusiness sector is moving towards outcome reporting in some dimensions of their operations. Fairtrade and other certifiers for responsible sourcing only do marginally better than agribusiness in their current reporting in terms of outcome and impact reporting. A new paradigm in systematic and real-time outcome reporting is possible. To achieve this, data production must be bottom-up, rather than top-down. Smallholders and producers have to become owners of the positive outcomes they are seeking to achieve.
Keywords: agribusiness, ethical sourcing, Fair Trade, responsible sourcing, metrics, measurement, outputs, outcomes, impact, sustainability, sustainable development goals (SDGs), greenwashing, fairwashing