Atypical Fair Trade

Call for Essays and Papers on
'Atypical Fair Trade'

The Journal of Fair Trade invites submissions for Part 2 of a collection of essays on the subject of Atypical Fair Trade Initiatives.

This issue of the Journal of Fair Trade is taking a different approach. We are interested in Fair Trade initiatives that are atypical—straying from conventional product sets and approaches. From software and seeds, to palm oil and cannabis, we want to know about the atypical kinds of products, connections and social relationships that are being developed, and why.

Essay format: 2,000 words + a bio and abstract.
Citations: in-text, using hyperlinks where applicable.

Please send submissions to

Authors are expected to address some of the following questions:

1. What is the conventional framework for production and sales for this product?
2. What is wrong, bad or unfair about this?
3. What does the initiative you are writing about want to achieve or change?
4. What does a fair trade version of this product look like? (Who produces it? Who buys it? Who cares about this product being traded fairly?)
5. What are the challenges and prospects for this product?

Why collective article sets?
Many people write about fair trade-related issues, and many people write about gender empowerment and equity too, doing so from a wide range of perspectives, locations and disciplines. The Journal of Fair Trade actively encourages collaboration, and inclusion of a far wider range of voices than would be typical in an academic journal. We would therefore like to publish collective article sets on specific themes. There is a great deal of added value when diverse voices, experiences and ideas are presented side-by-side; they provide more food for thought; they can spur more reaction and consequential learning. A commodity or product-based article set can help us to explore a range of dilemmas and challenges affecting a specific supply chain.

Why atypical Fair Trade as a subject of special focus?
This is a conscious decision, and a reflection of the, by now, deep association of Fair Trade with a core, mostly conventional commodity, product set. The evolution of Fair Trade under global Fairtrade certification systems undoubtedly led to a boom in consumer awareness, routes to market, sales, and volumes of certified products sold. Numerous ‘Fair Trade’ schemes came into existence. However, sales are concentrated in a small group of products and producers.

Many organisations have sought to push at the boundaries of this mainstream ‘Fairtrade’ system. They are developing supply chains that bring under-represented countries, women producers, new or less well-established producer groups and different commodities or products into the marketplace.

This thrilling diversity, plus the retained focus on producers and community needs, and consumer interests and concerns.  We know we can learn from the myriad other efforts and experiences including those not calling themselves Fair Trade.

Volume 2, Issue 1 of the Journal of Fair Trade featured a range of thoughtful essays on atypical and sometimes unexpected product areas within fair trade. For Issue 2, we are seeking further essays on inventive efforts within fair trade to create new concepts, supply chains and connectivity in atypical product areas.