Place-based ethical trade
Our research brings together expertise in sustainable marketing, social sciences, human geography and biodiversity to explore the impact of ethical trade initiatives and certification criteria around the world.
Ethical trade initiatives, such as FairTrade and Rainforest Alliance, are acknowledged as potentially important mechanisms through which more sustainable consumption and production systems can be developed. They are also vital in efforts to improve the livelihoods and prospects of commodity producers living in poorer countries, particularly within the Global South.
Our work includes conventional research with a focus on the impacts of ethical trade on producer communities, for example through the study of FairTrade and local community empowerment in the South African wine industry. It also includes innovative research considering the role of consumer communities in promoting ethical trade, particularly through a study of the FairTrade Towns movement.
We also examines the ecological, social and economic impact of certification criteria for production systems and the surrounding social-ecological system, including the creation of a certification evaluation toolkit to monitor and evaluate activities.
An important element of ethical trade is the role that labelling schemes play in informing and influencing consumers and in influencing producers to adopt more sustainable production practices. Our work is addressing this topic through our research into FairTrade and also into the use of the Rainforest Alliance certification scheme in the global banana market.