Fair Trade

Topics: Fair trade / Pages: 37 (9162 words) / Published: Jun 9th, 2012
Journal of Business Ethics (2010) 92:317–330 DOI 10.1007/s10551-010-0576-0

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



References: to Opportunities in the Fair Trade Market, Unpublished Manuscript, UK. 330 ´ˆ ´ Jerome Ballet and Aurelie Carimentrand Zadek, S., S. Lingayah and M. Forstater: 1998, Social Labels: Tools for Ethical Trade (Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg). Whatmore, S.: 1997, ‘Dissecting the Autonomous Self: Hybrid Cartographies for a Relational Ethics’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 15, 37–53. Whatmore, S. and L. Thorne: 1997, ‘Nourishing Networks: Alternative Geographies of Food’, in D. Goodman and M. Watts (eds.), Globalising Food: Agrarian Questions and Global Restructuring (Routledge, London), pp. 287–304. Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines University, Guyancourt Cedex, France E-mail: jballetfr@yahoo.fr Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.

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