Ó Springer 2010
Fair Trade and the Depersonalization of Ethics
´ˆ Jerome Ballet ´ Aurelie Carimentrand
ABSTRACT. Fair Trade has changed considerably since its early days. In this article, we argue that these changes have led to a depersonalization of ethics, thus raising serious questions about the future of Fair Trade. In particular, the depersonalization of ethics which is seen to accompany the current changes has led to greater variety in the interpretations of Fair Trade. Hiding these divergences behind the labels is increasing the risk that the movement will lose its credibility. KEY WORDS: credibility, Fair Trade, relational ethics, traceability ABBREVIATIONS: EFTA: European Fair Trade Association; FLO: Fairtrade labelling organizations International; IFAT: International Fair Trade Association; NEWS!: Network of European World Shops
consensus’’ (from the initials of these four organizations) deﬁned Fair Trade as follows:
Fair Trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, which seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers – especially in the South. Fair Trade organizations (backed by consumers) are engaged actively in supporting producers, awareness raising and in campaigning for changes in the rules and practice of conventional international trade.
International trade disparities and commodity price instability have given rise to a movement in favour of fairer trade. At the international level, the current standard deﬁnition of Fair Trade stems from a consensus amongst four international organizations representative of the Fair Trade movement: Fairtrade labelling organizations International (FLO), the International Fair Trade Association (IFAT), the Network of European World Shops (NEWS!) and
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