Fairtrade Coffee : Commodity Chain Data Transparency and Stakeholder Benefits

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Abstract : “Commodity chain data transparency is a growing phenomenon in public discussion and in the private sector. It is an essential way for companies and certification schemes to express their sustainability efforts and values. However, commodity chain data can include questions of power and information asymmetry which can affect the commodity chain stakeholders, such as the producers and the consumers. The Fairtrade movement is known as the defender of the small-scale producers in the so-called Global South and which aims to reduce global poverty. This research focuses on the Fairtrade certified coffee commodity chain data and examines what kind of challenges and needs the commodity chain stakeholders have in terms of data transparency and what potential benefits they receive. The stakeholders include consumers, producers and coffee buying companies. This research relies on the Global Value Chain -framework and examines the commodity chain data in light of power asymmetries. The purpose is to provide a multifaceted review about the questions of commodity chain data and Fairtrade. This research uses qualitative, semi-structured interviews which were conducted with seven participants from different backgrounds, such as the private sector and organizations. Additionally, some complementary data was collected from Fairtrade International and FLOCERT’s websites. The data was analyzed through the lens of qualitative content analysis. The central findings are Fairtrade commodity chain data related challenges, such as confidentiality, information gaps and the different needs of the stakeholders. These somewhat conflicting needs make it difficult to set a level of transparency that would meet the needs of all the stakeholders which in turn provides limited benefits. Nevertheless, despite challenges, Fairtrade is seen as a valid partner, expressing a wider societal significance. When considering commodity chain data transparency, it is important to ask whose interests the data represent. The central conclusion is that the benefits of commodity chain data transparency depend on how well they meet the needs of the stakeholders.”

RAUTAKORPI , Jasmin - University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Global Development Studies Master’s thesis, 2021/05, 83 p. - Site de helda.helsinki.fi

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