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Fair Trade Coffee and Human Rights in Guatemala

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  • Sarah Lyon

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Abstract

This paper explores how the fair trade coffee market translates consumer action and shopping habits into the promotion of human rights in distant locales. This process does not occur through direct producer–consumer contact. Instead, it is channeled through two interrelated avenues. First, the fair trade certification system which requires producer groups to be democratic, transparent, and accountable and second, the relationships between producers and coffee roasters and importers, who, in this specific commodity chain, act as conduits for consumer actions and intentions. These two facets of the fair trade consumer market promote and protect the secure organizational space that is necessary for producer initiated community development. This freedom to identify and fulfill economic and social development goals through cooperation also reaffirms existing cultural traditions of service and mutual aid among producers. These key components of human rights compliance are critically important in countries such as Guatemala with its history of violent repression, structural inequality, and cultural discrimination against indigenous populations and community organizers. The analysis emerges from ongoing ethnographic research on a group of indigenous, fair trade coffee producers in Guatemala and their relationships with outside buyers and certifiers. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Suggested Citation

  • Sarah Lyon, 2007. "Fair Trade Coffee and Human Rights in Guatemala," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 30(3), pages 241-261, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jcopol:v:30:y:2007:i:3:p:241-261
    DOI: 10.1007/s10603-007-9040-7
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10603-007-9040-7
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Michael E. Conroy, 2001. "Can Advocacy-Led Certification Systems Transform Global Corporate Practices? Evidence, and Some Theory," Working Papers wp21, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
    2. Varangis, Panos & Siegel, Paul & Giovannucci, Daniele & Lewin, Bryan, 2003. "Dealing with the coffee crisis in Central America - impacts and strategies," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2993, The World Bank.
    3. LeClair, Mark S., 2002. "Fighting the Tide: Alternative Trade Organizations in the Era of Global Free Trade," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 949-958, June.
    4. de Janvry, Alain & Sadoulet, Elisabeth, 2000. "Rural poverty in Latin America: Determinants and exit paths," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 389-409, August.
    5. Laura T. Raynolds & Douglas Murray & Peter Leigh Taylor, 2004. "Fair trade coffee: building producer capacity via global networks," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(8), pages 1109-1121.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Stefan Hoffmann & Katharina Hutter, 2012. "Carrotmob as a New Form of Ethical Consumption. The Nature of the Concept and Avenues for Future Research," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 35(2), pages 215-236, June.
    2. Jess Bonnan-White & Andrea Hightower & Ameena Issa, 2013. "Of couscous and occupation: a case study of women’s motivations to join and participate in Palestinian fair trade cooperatives," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 30(3), pages 337-350, September.
    3. Vincent Terstappen & Lori Hanson & Darrell McLaughlin, 2013. "Gender, health, labor, and inequities: a review of the fair and alternative trade literature," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 30(1), pages 21-39, March.
    4. Shannon Sutton, 2012. "Add Producers and Stir? (Re) politicizing Fairtrade participation," Working Papers 38, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Business and Management, Centre for Globalisation Research.
    5. Iain Davies & Lynette Ryals, 2010. "The Role of Social Capital in the Success of Fair Trade," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 96(2), pages 317-338, October.
    6. Elder, Sara D. & Zerriffi, Hisham & Le Billon, Philippe, 2012. "Effects of Fair Trade Certification on Social Capital: The Case of Rwandan Coffee Producers," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(11), pages 2355-2367.
    7. Iain Davies, 2009. "Alliances and Networks: Creating Success in the UK Fair Trade Market," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 86(1), pages 109-126, April.
    8. Schollenberg, Linda, 2011. "So how much do you pay for ethical consumption? Estimating the hedonic price for Fair Trade coffee in Sweden," HUI Working Papers 31, HUI Research.

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    Keywords

    Fair trade; Consumption; Coffee; Human rights;

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