Globalization and Ethical Trade: Assessing the Implications for Development

Stephanie Barrientos
Publication Date: 
Ethical trade has arisen in the context of globalization. Globalization has been associated with economic liberalization and deregulation of labour markets. This contributed to a competitive ‘downward spiral’ in labour conditions in export sectors.
Ethical trade is a paradox of globalization, involving the introduction of company codes of conduct covering employ standards through private sector initiatives, often in collaboration with other stakeholders. Ethical trade could improve employment conditions in global exports for current and future generations, but it has limitations. It can complement but is not a substitute for broader strategies that address the problems of development in an era of globalization.