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Publication Detail
POWER RELATIONS AND FAIRTRADE IN COCOA AND COTTON VALUE CHAINS IN THE UK, GHANA AND INDIA
  • Publication Type:
    Thesis/Dissertation
  • Authors:
    Troulis P
  • Date awarded:
    15/06/2016
  • Pagination:
    2, 307
  • Supervisors:
    Walls M
  • Status:
    Unpublished
  • Awarding institution:
    UCL
  • Language:
    English
  • Date Submitted:
    14/06/2016
  • Keywords:
    Fairtrade, fair trade, power relations, global value chain, cotton, cocoa, mainstreaming, market-led development, Ghana, India
Abstract
This thesis explores the extent to which Fairtrade (FT) might lead to a systemic shift in the way power relations are embedded and exercised in the international trading system. In doing so, it utilises power relations by positioning FT in the context of the world-systems theory, whilst arguing that FT’s ‘‘mainstreaming’’, top-down approach, principle implementation and scale have proven inadequate in modifying the international trading system. As such, by focusing on value chain ‘‘governance as power’’ (through its ‘‘buyer-driven’’ structure) and ‘‘governance as coordination’’, we highlight FT’s lack of systemic appreciation through its orientation towards only farming and consumer level by working solely with big brands. In parallel, we employ power analyses of some feminist authors in order to provide a bottom-up and horizontal dimension, which enables us to further advance the importance of FT’s farmer organisation and empowerment. As such, pursuing a qualitative approach, we use four FT GVCs as case studies: Two of them in Ghana-UK for cocoa-chocolate, in Kuapa Kokoo-Divine and Cocoa Life-Mondelez, and two in India-UK for cotton-apparel, in Chetna Organic-No Nasties and Agrocel-M&S. On this basis, our empirical findings aren’t favorable for FT’s contribution to systemic change. FT is used as a marketing tool by Mondelez and M&S, whilst leading to the dilution of FT principles and jeopardising FTI’s sustainability. FT has often proven irrelevant and ineffective due to strong government intervention, but also because of the market and governance structure advanced by TNCs. Thus, we argue that FT needs to consider going back to its fair trade roots and work with nation states instead of TNCs, whilst trying to replicate Kuapa Kokoo and Chetna as success cases, that went ‘‘beyond FT’’ through farmer ownership, forward integration, women empowerment and strong democratic processes, in order to achieve meaningful farmer empowerment and organisation in the long-run.
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