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Fair trade governance, public procurement and sustainable development : a case study of Malawian rice in Scotland.

Smith, Alastair 2011. Fair trade governance, public procurement and sustainable development : a case study of Malawian rice in Scotland. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This thesis provides an account of the way in which meaning associated with the term ‘fair trade’ is negotiated within a number of discrete, yet interrelated communities, in a way which influences stakeholder understanding of the concept – and as a result, structures the way in which public procurement strategies integrate fair trade governance into their operation. Building from the identification of ‘fair trade’ governance as a means to embed the intra-generational social justice concerns of sustainable development within the public procurement system, the thesis investigates how the ambiguous meaning of fair trade is reconciled in discourse and practice. Specifically focusing on the case study of Scotland – where Local Authorities are involved in a complex network of state and private governance initiatives – investigation reveals that despite various influences to the contrary, fair trade is strongly conflated with certification administered by the dominant global fair trade certifying body, Fairtrade International (FLO). However, exceptions are argued to demonstrate an active negotiation of this domination over meaning. In particular, one Authority has purchased ‘fairly traded’ Kilombero rice – produced by members of the National Smallholder Farmers Association of Malawi (NASFAM) – as part of its fair trade strategy, by accepting claims of fairness not on the basis of external certification, but on trust from a socially orientated import organisation. Extending the study along the supply chain, investigation reveals that while the producer organisation sees fair trade as beneficial to their overall objectives, they identify significant limitations with the FLO approach. For this reason they have pursued World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO) accreditation in order to back their claims to fair trade operation. As such, the dominance of FLO certification is seen to be actively contested as part of a wider dynamic in which different approaches vie to influence the understanding, and therefore the praxis of stakeholders.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Centre for Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability and Society (BRASS)
Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Uncontrolled Keywords: Fair trade ; Rice ; Malawi ; Scotland ; Sustainable development ; Public procurement ; Governance.
Funders: ESRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2019 09:06

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