Societal Entrepreneurship

Societal Entrepreneurship

Positioning, Penetrating, Promoting

Edited by Karin Berglund, Bengt Johannisson and Birgitta Schwartz

Stating the importance of both the local and the broader societal context, the book reports close-up studies from a variety of social ventures. Generic themes include positioning societal entrepreneurship against other images of collective entrepreneurship, critically penetrating its assumptions and practices and proposing ways of promoting societal entrepreneurship more widely.

Chapter 6: Societal entrepreneurship contextualized: the dark and bright sides of Fair Trade

Birgitta Schwartz

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, development studies, social entrepreneurship, politics and public policy, social entrepreneurship


I am in India with Sandhya Randberg, the owner of the Swedish Fair Trade company Oria, where we meet with her suppliers and visit their factories. Today she is going to have a meeting with the supplier who is now producing Oria’s T-shirts and we will later see the stitching and packaging procedures of these T-shirts. The visit is introduced with a meeting with the CEO and three more managers in the conference room, and Sandhya starts to present her company and her products. ‘My products are used for showing my Swedish customers’ belief in Fair Trade, so I sell cotton bags to large food retailers and different interest organizations’. She explains: ‘It is not only important for me that the cotton is Fair Trade; also to see how your factory deals with social issues such as the working conditions for your employees and how you work with committees are very important for me’. She continues: ‘The name of my company, Oria, reflects that it is a person from Orissa [in India], and I have adopted my daughter from Orissa and I am adopted from Mother Theresa’s orphanage in India to Sweden. So, my company is very much myself and my story is important for the company’s image.’

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