Reading Tea Leaves: The Impact of Mainstreaming Fair Trade

Author: 
Lindsey Moore
Publication Date: 
2010
Summary: 
Through case studies of tea plantations in India, this paper explores how Fair Trade commitments are actuated in producer communities.
Abstract: 
In a world with ever-increasing claims of corporate social responsibility, it is difficult to separate actual commitment from marketing. This difficulty is especially pronounced in Fair Trade where companies promise a wide range of development objectives, from increased income to empowerment, with varying motivations. Through case studies of tea plantations in India, this paper explores how Fair Trade commitments are actuated in producer communities. I argue that Fair Trade structures often act as conduits through which a variety of power relations interact to produce outcomes that are not intended by any one actor.