Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

Kanthie Athukorala


This research questioned the sustainability of the Fair Trade movement. Using the historical progression of Fair Trade as an alternative trading scheme to its present day form as a niche in the mainstream market, this paper presented the subsequent challenges facing the movement: the entry of corporations, label credibility, consumer support and activism, expansion issues, and the north-south debate. Ultimately, this research argued that unless Fair Trade activists and organizations recognize these problems and make drastic efforts to address these challenges, the future success of the movement is at risk despite past successes. Using a new program – Youth United Across Borders (YUAB)- as a case study, this research revealed some of the ways new Fair Trade programs can positively contribute to addressing the challenges facing the Fair Trade movement through political participation, education, connection between producers and consumers, and developing relationships. A thorough critique of YUAB also examined some of its shortcomings that could be addressed to better contribute to the debate: education, state intervention, connection between producers and consumers, the credibility of the Fair Trade label, the lack of unified vision of Fair Trade, dependency and empowerment.


Agricultural and Resource Economics | Growth and Development