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Fairtrade towns as unconventional networks of ethical activism

Peattie, Ken ORCID: and Samuel, Anthony ORCID: 2018. Fairtrade towns as unconventional networks of ethical activism. Journal of Business Ethics 153 , pp. 265-282. 10.1007/s10551-016-3392-3

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The growing availability and consumption of Fairtrade products is recognised as one of the most widespread ethically inspired market developments, and as an example of activist-driven change within the wider marketing system. The Fairtrade Towns movement, now operating in over 1700 towns and cities globally, represents a comparatively recent extension of Fairtrade marketing driven by local activists seeking to promote positive change in production and consumption systems. This paper briefly explores the conventional framing of the role that ethically related activism plays in the operation of markets and in influencing market participants. It then presents key insights gathered from a grounded theory exploration of Fairtrade Towns as activist-driven marketing systems, revealing the atypical nature of the activism involved. The findings demonstrate how local activists leverage their social networks to exert pressure and generate support to promote ethical consumption. The study suggests that Fairtrade Towns offer a new role for activists as Fairtrade itself becomes more mainstream, and considers the role they are fulfilling as ‘informal’ local marketers. The marketing dynamics revealed represent a complex and distinctive form of relational activism that seeks to build Fairtrade markets and highlight their positive benefits, with potential lessons for other local ethical market-building efforts in future.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Sustainable Places Research Institute (PLACES)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Fairtrade Activism Localism Market development Grounded theory
Publisher: Springer Verlag
ISSN: 0167-4544
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 16 December 2016
Date of Acceptance: 15 November 2016
Last Modified: 07 May 2023 00:36

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