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Fairtrade towns: unpacking the dynamics of locally developed ethical retail geographies

Samuel, Anthony ORCID:, Peattie, Kenneth ORCID: and Herman, Agatha ORCID: 2020. Fairtrade towns: unpacking the dynamics of locally developed ethical retail geographies. Geoforum 117 , pp. 114-123. 10.1016/j.geoforum.2020.09.012

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One of the most significant recent developments in ethical retailing is the Fairtrade Towns initiative. Its emphasis on the promotion of Fairtrade consumption within entire urban landscapes, and the communities and organisations within them, represents a geography of consumption into which millions of consumers are actively or passively enrolled. This empirical research paper considers Fairtrade Towns as retail geographies that connect across scales, shaped by the local, and yet expressing ethics and care on a global scale. Within them, local activists are revealed to adopt a novel role as ‘citizen marketers’ promoting FT consumption by local consumers and institutions by both utilising their own social networks and adopting marketing practices more usually associated with industry professionals. The resulting evolution of Fairtrade Towns is shown to have passed through two stages. The first supporting the broader global ‘mainstreaming’ agenda of the FT movement, with the second more focused on a novel contribution of local ‘sidestreaming’ to horizontally interconnect a range of types of place within a locality. This process has enrolled novel types of place and space as components of a local ethical retail geography, but this is revealed to potentially generate both synergies and tensions across different types of local place and stakeholder.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Business (Including Economics)
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0016-7185
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 24 September 2020
Date of Acceptance: 23 September 2020
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2023 18:45

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