The Urgency and Necessity of a Different Type of Market: The Perspective of Producers Organized Within the Fair Trade Market

Abstract

The development of the certified Fair Trade market was initiated by a group of indigenous communities in Mexico. Over time, their vision of Fair Trade as a different type of market has become increasingly marginalized by an emphasis on poverty reduction. This article presents their understanding of what Fair Trade should and should not be. It presents the key principles of the Fair Trade market as effectiveness, ecological sustainability, social sustainability, and more direct producer–consumer relationships. The key challenges that confront Fair Trade in living up to these principles are the need to democratize the formal structures of Fair Trade so as to give a greater voice to small producers and to link with other social movements to confront the dominant neo-liberal trade regime.

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Abbreviations

CEC:

Centro de Educación Campesina (Centre for Rural Education)

FLO:

Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International

UCIRI:

Unión de Comunidades Indígenas de la Región del Istmo (Union of Indigenous Communities of the Region of the Isthmus)

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Correspondence to Francisco VanderHoff Boersma.

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VanderHoff Boersma, F. The Urgency and Necessity of a Different Type of Market: The Perspective of Producers Organized Within the Fair Trade Market. J Bus Ethics 86, 51–61 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-008-9766-4

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Keywords

  • fair trade
  • neo-liberalism
  • gender
  • bio-politics
  • governmentality
  • corporate social responsibility
  • sustainability
  • eco-tourism
  • food security
  • democracy
  • solidarity