The Rise and Stall of a Fair Trade Pioneer: The Cafedirect Story

Iain Davies, Bob Doherty, and Simon Knox
Publication Date: 
This is a case study investigating the growth of fair trade pioneer, Cafédirect.
Utilizing two longitudinal qualitative studies into the fair trade industry in the UK, we develop strategic insights on how Cafédirect has grown to its prominent position in the UK mainstream coffee industry based on its ethics, and why the value of these ethics has been curtailed by market pressures. Currently, the company is experiencing a slow down in its meteoric growth which raises questions about whether or not Cafédirect has over-stretched itself in an attempt to be viewed as an ethical icon.