Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 97, Issue 2, pp 257–270

Empowering Coffee Traders? The Coffee Value Chain from Nicaraguan Fair Trade Farmers to Finnish Consumers


DOI: 10.1007/s10551-010-0508-z

Cite this article as:
Valkila, J., Haaparanta, P. & Niemi, N. J Bus Ethics (2010) 97: 257. doi:10.1007/s10551-010-0508-z


This article analyzes the distribution of benefits from Fair Trade between producing and consuming countries. Fair Trade and conventional coffee production and trade were examined in Nicaragua in 2005–2006 and 2008. Consumption of the respective coffees was assessed in Finland in 2006–2009. The results indicate that consumers paid considerably more for Fair Trade-certified coffee than for the other alternatives available. Although Fair Trade provided price premiums to producer organizations, a larger share of the retail prices remained in the consuming country relative to conventional coffee trade. Paradoxically, along with the certified farmers and cooperatives, Fair Trade empowers roasters and retailers.


coffeeconsumerscooperativesFair TradefarmersFinlandlaborNicaraguaretail pricesvalue chain



Fair Trade Labelling Organizations International


International Coffee Organization


United Nations Development Programme

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Development Studies, Department of Political and Economic StudiesUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsAalto University School of EconomicsAaltoFinland