Journal of Business Ethics 90 (1):95-113 (2009)

Abstract
The number of distributors selling Fair Trade products is constantly increasing. What are their motivations to distribute Fair Trade products? How do they organise this distribution? Do they apply and communicate the Fair Trade values? This research, based on five case studies in Switzerland, aims at understanding and structuring the strategies and the managerial practices related to Fair Trade product distribution, as well as analysing if they denote an engagement with Fair Trade principles. The results show a high heterogeneity of strategies and engagement. In general, strategies implemented by mainstream actors contribute to increase Fair Trade global sales but do not convey the transformative message of Fair Trade through their engagement. The latter is rather communicated through alternative channels. Problems and potential solutions to this issue are discussed.
Keywords Fair Trade  strategy  engagement  Fair Trade principles  Fair Trade products  distribution  corporate social responsibility (CSR)  case studies  Switzerland
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DOI 10.1007/s10551-009-0029-9
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