A Role of Fair Trade Certification for Environmental Sustainability

Articles
  • 941 Downloads

Abstract

Although most studies on the Fair Trade initiative are, to some extent, cognizant of its contribution to environmental sustainability, what the environmental aspect means to Fair Trade has not yet been explored fully. A review of environmental issues in the Fair Trade literature suggests that Fair Trade might influence participant producers’ farming practices even if it does not directly impact natural resources. This paper attempts to interpret Fair Trade certification as an intermediary institution that links two significant objectives of rural development in the global South—environmental conservation and poverty reduction. This theoretical concept is examined in different real settings by observing four cases of Southern small farmer groups involved in the Fair Trade initiative. Findings from these case studies imply that if Fair Trade certification ensures tangible benefits for small farmers, it can not only help such disadvantaged farmers but also work as an approach for natural resource management.

Keywords

Certification Environmental sustainability Fair Trade Organic Small farmers 

Abbreviations

ADB

Asian Development Bank

AOFG

Agriculture and Organic Farming Group India

ATC

Alter Trade Corporation

ATFI

Alter Trade Foundation Incorporated

Bt

Bacillus thuringiensis

FLO

Fairtrade International

GM

Genetically modified

IFOAM

International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements

NGO

Non-governmental Organization

WFTO

World Fair Trade Organization

References

  1. Adams, W. A., Aveling, R., Brockington, D., Dickson, B., et al. (2010). Biodiversity conservation and the eradication of poverty. In D. Roe & J. Elliott (Eds.), The Earthscan reader in poverty and biodiversity conservation (pp. 18–26). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. Asian Development Bank (ADB). (2009). Poverty in the Philippines: Causes, constraints and opportunities. Manila: ADB.Google Scholar
  3. Bachmann, F. (2011). Potential and limitations of organic and fair trade cotton for improving livelihoods of small holders: Evidence from Central Asia. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, 27(2), 138–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Balineau, G. (2013). Disentangling the effects of fair trade on the quality of Malian cotton. World Development, 44, 241–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bassett, T. J. (2010). Slim pickings: Fairtrade cotton in West Africa. Geoforum, 41(1), 44–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Billing, M. S. (1993). “Syrup in the wheels of progress”: The inefficient organisation of the Philippine sugar industry. Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 24(1), 122–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Blackman, A., & Rivera, J. (2011). Producer-level benefits of sustainability certification. Conservation Biology, 25(6), 1176–1185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Elder, S. D., Zerriffi, H., & Le Billon, P. (2013). Is Fairtrade certification greening agricultural practices? An analysis of Fairtrade environmental standards in Rwanda. Journal of Rural Studies, 32, 264–274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Eyhorn, F. (2007). Organic farming for sustainable livelihoods in developing countries?: The case of cotton in India. Zurich: Vdf Hochschulverlag AG an der ETH.Google Scholar
  10. Frundt, H. J. (2009). Fair bananas!: Farmers, workers, and consumers strive to change an industry. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press.Google Scholar
  11. Gomez Tovar, L., Martin, L., Gomez Cruz, M. A., & Mutersbaugh, T. (2005). Certified organic agriculture in Mexico: Market connections and certification practices in large and small producers. Journal of Rural Studies, 21(4), 461–474.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Herring, R. J. (2005). Miracle seeds, suicide seeds, and the poor: GMOs, NGOs, farmers and the state. In R. Ray & M. F. Katzenstein (Eds.), Social movements in India (pp. 203–232). New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.Google Scholar
  13. Hudson, I., & Hudson, M. (2003). Removing the veil? Commodity fetishism, Fair Trade, and the environment. Organization & Environment, 16(4), 413–430.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hudson, M., & Hudson, I. (2004). Justice, sustainability, and the Fair Trade movement: A case study of coffee production in Chiapas. Social Justice, 31(3), 130–146.Google Scholar
  15. International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM). (2007). The IFOAM basic standards for organic production and processing (version 2005). Bonn: IFOAM.Google Scholar
  16. Jaffee, D. (2007). Brewing justice: Fair trade coffee, sustainability and survival. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  17. Jaffee, D. (2008). ‘Better, but not great’: The social and environmental benefits and limitations of Fair Trade for indigenous coffee producers in Oaxaca, Mexico. In R. Ruben (Ed.), The impact of Fair Trade (pp. 195–222). Wageningen: Wageningen Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  18. Leach, M., Mearns, R., & Scoones, I. (1999). Environmental entitlements: Dynamics and institutions in community-based natural resource management. World Development, 27(2), 225–247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lewin, B., Giovannucci, D., & Varangis, P. (2004). Coffee markets: New paradigms in global supply and demand (Agriculture and Rural Development Discussion Paper 3). Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar
  20. Makita, R. (2011). A confluence of Fair Trade and organic agriculture in southern India. Development in Practice, 21(2), 205–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Makita, R. (2012). Fair Trade and organic initiatives confronted with Bt cotton in Andhra Pradesh, India: A paradox. Geoforum, 43(6), 1232–1241.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Makita, R. (forthcoming). Livelihood diversification with certification-supported farming: The case of land reform beneficiaries in the Philippines. Asia Pacific Viewpoint.Google Scholar
  23. Melo, C. J., & Wolf, S. A. (2007). Ecocertification of Ecuadorian bananas: Prospects for progressive North–South linkages. Studies in Comparative International Development, 42(3–4), 256–278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Mendez, V. M., Bacon, C. M., Olson, M., Petchers, S., Herrador, D., Carranza, C., et al. (2010). Effects of Fair Trade and organic certifications on small-scale coffee farmer households in Central America and Mexico. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, 25(3), 236–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Narayanamoorthy, A., & Kalamkar, S. S. (2006). Is Bt cotton cultivation economically viable for Indian farmers?: An empirical analysis. Economic and Political Weekly, 41(26), 2716–2724.Google Scholar
  26. Patil, R. R. (2002). An investigative report on circumstances leading to death among Indian cotton farmers. International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health, 15(4), 405–407.Google Scholar
  27. Paul, E. (2005). Evaluating fair trade as a development project: Methodological considerations. Development in Practice, 15(2), 134–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Philpott, S. M., Bichier, P., Rice, R., & Greenberg, R. (2007). Field-testing ecological and economic benefits of coffee certification programs. Conservation Biology, 21(4), 975–985.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Qaim, M. (2010). Benefits of genetically modified crops for the poor: Household income, nutrition, and health. New Technology, 27(5), 552–557.Google Scholar
  30. Raynolds, L. T. (2012). Fair Trade flowers: Global certification environmental sustainability, and labor standards. Rural Sociology, 77(4), 493–519.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Ronchi, L. (2002). The impact of fair trade on producers and their organizations: A case study with Coocafe in Costa Rica (PRUS Working Paper No. 11). Brighton: Poverty Research Unit, University of Sussex.Google Scholar
  32. Sanderson, S. (2005). Poverty and conservation: The new century’s ‘Peasant Question’? World Development, 33(2), 323–332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Subramanian, A., & Qaim, M. (2010). The impact of Bt cotton on poor households in rural India. Journal of Development Studies, 46(2), 295–311.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Taylor, P. L. (2002). Poverty alleviation through participation in Fair Trade coffee networks: Synthesis of case study research question findings (Report prepared for Project funded by the Community and Resource Development Program). New York, NY: The Ford Foundation.Google Scholar
  35. Utting, K. (2009). Assessing the impact of Fair Trade coffee: Towards an integrative framework. Journal of Business Ethics, 86(1), 127–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Valkila, J. (2009). Fair Trade organic coffee production in Nicaragua—Sustainable development or a poverty trap? Ecological Economics, 68(12), 3018–3025.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. World Bank. (2009). Land reform, rural development and poverty in the Philippines: Revising the agenda. Pasig City: World Bank.Google Scholar
  38. World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED). (1987). Our common future. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  39. World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) and Fairtrade International (FLO). (2009). A charter of fair trade principles. Retrieved December 30, 2015, from http://wfto.com/fair-trade/charter-fair-trade-principles.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Social Design StudiesRikkyo University, Toshima-kuTokyoJapan

Personalised recommendations