Fair Trade as a Community Development Initiative: Local and Global Implications

  • Charity Samantha Fitzgerald University of California, Berkeley
Keywords: Fair trade, community development, cooperatives, social development


This paper examines fair trade as a community development initiative that challenges unjust global trading conditions. On a local level, fair trade aims to create a sustainable livelihood for farmers, to strengthen agricultural cooperatives, and to fund community-based projects. Fair trade also purports to engender global solidarity through linking Southern producers and Northern consumers in a concerted effort to direct the market towards social aims. The paper examines the strengths and weaknesses of fair trade as a social welfare intervention. Recommendations are provided to strengthen the fair-trade movement in light of social work values.