The Development of a Market for Sustainable Coffee in The Netherlands: Rethinking the Contribution of Fair Trade [Book Review]

Journal of Business Ethics 113 (3):461-474 (2013)
In recent years, researchers have observed the process of mainstreaming Fair Trade and the emergence of alternative sustainability standards in the coffee industry. The underlying market dynamics that have contributed to these developments are, however, under-researched. Insight into these dynamics is important to understand how markets can develop to favor sustainability. This study examines the major developments in the market for certified coffee in the Netherlands. It finds that, in the creation of a market for sustainable coffee, decisions that significantly influence market creation are made in the lead companies (retailers and coffee roasters). These decisions are made possible by the availability of multiple systems of sustainability standards and by the existence of a small segment of loyal Fair Trade customers that ensured that sustainability remained an issue on the coffee market in the years before the market creation took-off. Fair Trade did not become the new rule in this process, but it became the benchmark against which companies could compare themselves and the basis upon which they built in adopting or developing new standards that would be more feasible in their business models
Keywords Standards  Fair trade  Sustainable development  Coffee  Certification
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DOI 10.1007/s10551-012-1316-4
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Sarah A. Bigney, Mark Haggerty & Stephanie A. Welcomer (2010). Fair Trade's Sustainability. Proceedings of the International Association for Business and Society 21:158-162.

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