Handbook of Research on Fair Trade
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Handbook of Research on Fair Trade

Edited by Laura T. Raynolds and Elizabeth A. Bennett

Fair trade critiques the historical inequalities inherent in international trade and seeks to promote social justice by creating alternative networks linking marginalized producers (typically in the global South) with progressive consumers (typically in the global North). The first of its kind, this volume brings together 43 of the foremost fair trade scholars from around the world and across the social sciences. The Handbook serves as both a comprehensive overview and in-depth guide to dominant perspectives and concerns. Chapters analyze the rapidly growing fair trade movement and market, exploring diverse initiatives and organizations, production and consumption regions, and food and cultural products. Written for those new to fair trade as well as those well versed in this domain, the Handbook is an invaluable resource for scholars and practitioners interested in global regulation, multi-stakeholder initiatives, social and environmental certification, ethical labeling, consumer activism, and international development.
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Chapter 6: Global labor politics and fair trade

Dimitris Stevis


During 2014 Fairtrade International adopted its revised Standard for Hired Labor. In this chapter I argue that Fairtrade International and global unions furthered their engagement as a result of this process but that their relationship has not yet reached the level of sustained global social dialogue or institutionalized industrial relations. Significant foundations have been built but important challenges need to be met. In the first part I outline the process that has led to its most recent revision and the scope of the Standard. In the second part I discuss global labor’s engagement with Fairtrade International. In the subsequent three parts I discuss, respectively, three core issues: international labor standards, employee organizations and the challenge of regulating the whole production network. These issues are at the heart of the discussions between unions and Fairtrade International. I close with some suggestions for deepening this engagement in the direction of global social dialogue and ‘mature industrial relations’. Fairtrade International’s predecessors certified a tea plantation as far back as 1994. This commitment eventually led to a comprehensive Standard for Hired Labor. In 2010 the organization decided to review this Standard ‘with this fundamental question in mind: How can Fairtrade best deliver on its mission to empower workers to combat poverty, strengthen their position and take more control of their lives?’ (Fairtrade International 2014b).

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