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Is Fair Trade a fair tool for implementing CSR in different contexts?
Mälardalen University, School of Sustainable Development of Society and Technology.
2011 (English)Conference paper, Presentation (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The paper is based on a study of how a Swedish Fair Trade textile company interplays with other organizations such as business customers, Fair Trade suppliers in India and NGOs and how they act for changing the situation in India regarding to social and environmental issues. The paper discusses how the idea of Fair Trade is interpreted by the actors and how they translate Fair Trade into practical actions in relation to the contexts of Sweden and India. The study shows that the diffusion and translation process of Fair Trade and sustainability issues in India is dependent on actions driven by the actors’ contextualized values and norms. The Swedish actors focus on Western management models such as standards and certifications since they see control and legitimacy as important. The Indian Fair Trade supplier adapts to the standards and certifications and utilizes them for making business outside India. This adaption could also been seen as postcolonial coercive forces that maintain asymmetrical power relations when Swedish and European customers also make their own controls of the suppliers compliance to the CSR standards. A Fair Trade paradox could be seen as the Swedish Fair Trade companies in the Indian context are forced to make business in the profit maximizing logic, a logic that they as change agents for Fair Trade try to change due to its utilization of workers.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Fair Trade, Sustainable development, institutionalism, context, postcolonialism, legitimacy, control, standardization
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Industrial Economics and Organisations
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-14707OAI: diva2:532554
27th EGOS Colloquium, July 7-9, Gothenburg, Sweden, Theme 16: Critical Perspectives on Management Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility.
Organisering av Samhällsentreprenörskap i Sverige
Available from: 2012-06-13 Created: 2012-06-11 Last updated: 2012-06-13Bibliographically approved

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Schwartz, Birgitta
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