Publication Date

2004

Abstract

Fair trade businesses distinguish themselves from many mainstream companies by their commitment to balanced social, environmental, and financial objectives - in other words, the triple bottom line. This paper explores the contextual environment in which fair trade businesses operate, the social and environmental purpose they develop as a result of this context, and the strategies they pursue to achieve their mission as an alternative model for social entrepreneurs. The research focuses on the following question to arrive at the essential strategies necessary to achieve a balance of social, environmental, and financial objectives: What are some of the key strategies and approaches small import businesses can take to ensure that their business practices are non-exploitative, sustainable, and socially responsible in the communities where they buy and sell their products? The methods for conducting the research include an examination and analysis of scholarly literature on fair trade as it applies to social and environmental criteria. The research findings are cross-referenced throughout the text with examples from the author's own business feasibility plan, practicum studies, as well as case study samples found in the literature. A more thorough case study of Peacecraft, a successful fair trade business, is developed to provide practical strategic approaches to social issues and bring into focus the broad topic of fair trade. The study concludes by identifying seven strategies that are aligned with the principles of fair trade established by the Fair Trade Federation and International Federation of Alternative Trade which are of practical value and interest to: social entrepreneurs, socially responsible businesses, NGOs and non-profits in developing countries, and the social investment community.

Share

 
COinS