Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 86, Supplement 1, pp 127–149

Assessing the Impact of Fair Trade Coffee: Towards an Integrative Framework



This article presents an impact assessment framework that allows for the evaluation of positive and negative local-level impacts that have resulted from “responsible trade” interventions such as fair trade and ethical trade. The framework investigates impact relating to (1) livelihood impacts on primary stakeholders; (2) socio-economic impacts on communities; (3) organizational impacts; (4) environmental impacts; (5) policies and institutional impacts; and (6) future prospects. It identifies relevant local-level stakeholders and facilitates the analysis of conflicting interests. The framework was developed in the context of, and is applied in this article to, the fair trade coffee industry in northern Nicaragua. It was designed, however, so that it can be applied across commodity sectors and responsible trade initiatives. It is able to do this by accommodating for differences in the social, environmental, political and institutional contexts of different areas, and by taking into account the distinct nature of an initiative’s overall objectives, different levels of intervention, and the full range of stakeholders involved.


impact assessment responsible trade ethical trade fair trade livelihoods conflicts of interest smallholders coffee Nicaragua 



Asociación de Trabajadores del Campo (Association of Rural Workers)


Asociación de Cooperativas de Pequeños Productores de Café en Nicaragua (Association of Co-operatives of Small Coffee Producers of Nicaragua)


Cooperativas Cafetaleras del Norte (Coffee Co-operatives Central in the Northern Region)


Cooperativa de Servicios Agropecuarios Tierra Nueva (New Earth Farmer’s Co-operative)


Department for International Development


Food and Agriculture Organization


Fairtrade Labelling Organization International


Promotora de Desarollo Cooperativo de Las Segovias (Promoters of Cooperative Development)


La Cooperativa Multisectorial de Productores de Café Orgánico Certificado (Co-operative Producers of Certified Organic Coffee)


sustainable livelihoods


Sociedad de Pequenos Productores, Exportadores y Compradores de Café (Society of Small Coffee Producers, Exporters and Buyers)


strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats analysis


transnational corporation


United Nations Development Programme


World Bank


World Commission on Environment and Development


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Miami BeachU.S.A.

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