Corporate Engagement in Politics and Governance
Edited by Christina Garsten and Adrienne Sörbom
Chapter 9: Political chocolate: branding it fairtrade
Based on ethnographic insights of the attempts by a since long-established chocolate factory to develop a product in line with the fairtrade standard Renita Thedvall studies how the world views and ideals in Fairtrade International’s standards are negotiated, navigated and embedded in relation to issues of marketability and political ideals. The factory’s choice to use an ethical label on one of its products brought a whole set of political discussions, as well as new priorities within the factory. The words and the values in the standards documents and compliance criteria were translated and adjusted, turning the fairtrade labelled products into a political affair matching the chocolate factory’s political ideals. Still, the negotiated fairtrade ideals did not carve out a space in the milk chocolate segment. Thus, making a business out of being fairtrade opened a space for politics within the factory but not for economic success. In the end, the fairtrade labelled bar was discarded.
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