Journal of Business Ethics 116 (2):267-282 (2013)

Abstract
Driven by increased consumer interest and stakeholder pressure, the number of Fairtrade (FT) products has been steadily increasing. The mainstreaming of FT means that the products are now facing stiff competition within the generic product categories in which they operate. While consumers may pressure organizations for ethical conduct, they are less willing to pay premium prices for fairly traded products. For FT to continue to grow, more efficient operating models are required to offset the premium prices paid to producers to ensure competitiveness in the market. One such improvement approach may be the management of FT supply chains. To investigate the feasibility of this approach, this article systematically combines literature on FT with key supply chain management (SCM) constructs and theories. We discuss existing SCM paradigms in the context of FT and demonstrate aspects where the efficiency of FT chains needs to be improved to ensure their viability. We present propositions that demonstrate the key limitations of the FT model from the point of view of SCM theory and practice and suggest the potential changes needed in the management of FT supply chains. The article provides a timely first attempt to systematically combine FT with SCM constructs, thus establishing a basis for the further development of FT chains and for the improvement of the operating efficiency within them
Keywords Fairtrade  Supply chain management  Stakeholder pressures  Alternative trading organizations  Efficiency improvement
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DOI 10.1007/s10551-012-1469-1
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