Mapping Fair Trade Networks

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‘Mapping Fair Trade Networks: Visualising the dynamics of a global movement’. The 4th Fair Trade International Symposium, Liverpool Hope Business School, (April 2012).

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Mapping Fair Trade Networks

  1. 1. Mapping Fair Trade Networks:Visualising the dynamics of a global movementMatthew Anderson PhD University of BirminghamIntroduction Background and Context Approach & Methodology• ‘The development of Fairtrade certification in the UK illustrates the PARTICIPATORY METHODOLOGY need to resituate the analysis of Fair Trade consumption in diverse Social Movement Throughout this project the aim is to adopt a participatory approach that social networks, rather than persisting in presenting it (positively and ‘The spread of fair-trade practices is facilitated by the existence of extended values co-production and recognises the voice of all Fair Trade negatively) as primarily a form of consumer agency’. (Barnett et al. networks of co-operatives and small retail operators in the West, who try to stakeholders - particularly those that have been underrepresented in 2011: 164) somehow to reach a balance between ethic-driven public action and market previous research (most notably producers from LDCs). requirement.’ (Donatella Della Porta 2006: 20).• Building on research that has explored local networks of activism 1) Questionnaires will be sent to Fair Trade Committees requesting both the focus of this project is mapping and visualising the transnational measurable and freeform answers in relation issues of governance, advocacy networks that form the global Fair Trade movement. Networks networking and meaningfulness of Fair Trade. ‘It’s very difficult to say what networks really bring, but I think the value of networks has been grossly underestimated by a lot of people.’ (Carol Wills cited 2) Interviews with key actors in global representative bodies associated with in Nicholls and Opal 2005: 254) NGO partnerships, co-operatives, trade unions and faith groups. 3) Participant observation as part of 6 month internships with FLO andResearch Questions ‘Fair trade rapidly achieved scale by networking social networks to spread the WFTO. This will enable ethnographic study of the day-to-day operations.1. What role do local producers play in defining, shaping and fair trade message. The movement did not build new networks, but tied 4) Archival analysis of FLO and WFTO records relating to the history and implementing the principles and practices of Fair Trade? established networks together.’ (Anna Hutchens 2009: 83). development of fair trade networks, alongside media analysis of news texts2. How far have particular ‘conduit’ organisations been responsible for in the UK and the US relating to FLO and WFTO. linking local producers with the wider Fair Trade movement? Producer Networks3.To what extent do the day-to-day conduct of business of FLO and ‘There is increasing funding being made available to strengthen formal Fairtrade WFTO present opportunities or barriers to participation from networks, with the aim of raising capacity, awareness and eventually sales, yet the differences between regional networks (in Africa, Asia and Latin America) producer networks in the global South? are not yet analysed” (Nelson & Pound 2009: 6). Impact and Beneficiaries This research intends to provide a new perspective and practical contribution on key areas including:  Historic growth and development of producer networks. Information is Beautiful: Data Visualisation  Significance of regional producer networks as key nodes. ‘Good data visualisation can help users explore and understand the patterns and trends in data, and  Information flows and power dynamics. also communicate that understanding to others to help them make robust decisions based on the data  Representation of different meanings and frameworks of fairness. being presented.’ Department for Communities and Local Government and OCSI (2009) Next Steps 1. DataViz: improving data visualisation 2. Fairtrade International: Data Mapping 3. Visualising Social Networks: Fidg’t  It is hoped that this research can be used to inform discussions about the for the public sector viability of a range of Fair Trade networking options. Key References 1. C. Barnett, P. Cloke, N. Clarke and M. Malpass, Globalizing Responsibility: The Political Rationalities of Ethical Consumption (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011) * 2. D. Della Porta, Social Movements An Introduction (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, second edition 2006). 3. A. Hutchens, Changing Big Business: The Globalisation of the Fair Trade Movement (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2009). 4. V. Nelson & B. Pound, The Last Ten Years: A Comprehensive Review of the Literature on the Impact of Fairtrade (NRI: University of Greenwich, 2009). * 5. A. Nicholls & C. Opal, Fair Trade: Market-Driven Ethical Consumption (London: Sage, 2004). Acknowledgements: This project is being developed in collaboration with Prof Paul Cloke and Dr Ian Cook at the University of Exeter and Christian Nold PhD candidate at UCL.
  2. 2. Mapping Fair Trade Networks:Visualising the dynamics of a global movementMatthew Anderson PhD University of Birmingham Introduction • ‘The development of Fairtrade certification in the UK illustrates the need to resituate the analysis of Fair Trade consumption in diverse social networks, rather than persisting in presenting it (positively and negatively) as primarily a form of consumer agency.’ (Barnett et al. 2011: 164) • Building on research that has explored local networks of activism the focus of this project is mapping and visualising the transnational advocacy networks that form the global Fair Trade movement. Research Questions 1. What role do local producers play in defining, shaping and implementing the principles and practices of Fair Trade? 2. How far have particular ‘conduit’ organisations been responsible for linking local producers with the wider Fair Trade movement? 3. To what extent do the day-to-day conduct of business of Fairtrade International and WFTO present opportunities or barriers to participation from producer networks in the global South?
  3. 3. Mapping Fair Trade Networks:Visualising the dynamics of a global movementMatthew Anderson PhD University of Birmingham Background and Context Social Movement ‘The spread of fair-trade practices is facilitated by the existence of extended networks of co-operatives and small retail operators in the West, who try to somehow reach a balance between ethic-driven public action and market requirement.’ (Donatella Della Porta 2006: 20). Networks ‘It’s very difficult to say what networks really bring, but I think the value of networks has been grossly underestimated by a lot of people.’ (Carol Wills, former Director of WFTO, cited in Nicholls and Opal 2005: 254). ‘Fair trade rapidly achieved scale by networking social networks to spread the fair trade message. The movement did not build new networks, but tied established networks together.’ (Anna Hutchens 2009: 83). Producer Networks ‘There is increasing funding being made available to strengthen formal Fairtrade networks, with the aim of raising capacity, awareness and eventually sales, yet the differences between regional networks (in Africa, Asia and Latin America) are not yet analysed.’ (Nelson & Pound 2009: 6).
  4. 4. Mapping Fair Trade Networks:Visualising the dynamics of a global movementMatthew Anderson PhD University of Birmingham Approach & Methodology PARTICIPATORY METHODOLOGY Throughout this project the aim is to adopt a participatory approach that values co-production and recognises the voice of all Fair Trade stakeholders - particularly those that have been underrepresented in previous research (most notably producers from LDCs). 1) Questionnaires will be sent to Fair Trade producer groups requesting both measurable and freeform answers in relation issues of governance, networking and meaningfulness of Fair Trade. 2) Interviews with key actors in global representative bodies associated with NGO partnerships, co-operatives, trade unions and faith groups. 3) Participant observation as part of 6 month internships with Fairtrade International and WFTO. This will enable ethnographic study of the day-to-day operations. 4) Archival analysis of Fairtrade International and WFTO records relating to the history and development of fair trade networks, alongside media analysis of news texts in the UK and the US.
  5. 5. Mapping Fair Trade Networks:Visualising the dynamics of a global movementMatthew Anderson PhD University of Birmingham Information is Beautiful: Data Visualisation ‘Good data visualisation can help users explore and understand the patterns and trends in data, and also communicate that understanding to others to help them make robust decisions based on the data being presented.’ Department for Communities and Local Government and OCSI (2009) 1. DataViz: improving data 2. Fairtrade International: 3. Visualising Social Networks: visualisation for the public sector Data Mapping Fidg’t * *
  6. 6. Mapping Fair Trade Networks:Visualising the dynamics of a global movementMatthew Anderson PhD University of Birmingham Information is Beautiful: Data Visualisation 3. Visualising Social Networks: Fidg’t
  7. 7. Mapping Fair Trade Networks: Visualising the dynamics of a global movement Matthew Anderson PhD University of Birmingham Impact and Beneficiaries Next Steps It is hoped that this research can be used to inform discussions This research is particularly timely given the recent about the viability of a range of Fair Trade networking options. changes to Fairtrade International’s (FLO) governance structure and the decision by Fair Trade USA to resign • Review role of Producer Networks in decision making. its membership of Fairtrade International. • Develop new channels for feedback and communication. These developments have prompted wider discussion • Build online social network tools e.g. IBM Beehive. about governance and representation within Fair Trade networks. • Inform Fair Trade peer review or audit process. • Consider more holistic measures of Fair Trade impact e.g. This research intends to provide a new perspective and Happiness and Wellbeing. practical contribution on key areas including: • Historic growth and development of producer networks. Key References • Significance of regional producer networks as key 1.C. Barnett, P. Cloke, N. Clarke and M. Malpass, Globalizing Responsibility: nodes. The Political Rationalities of Ethical Consumption (Chichester: Wiley- Blackwell, 2011) • Information flows and power dynamics. 2.D. Della Porta, Social Movements An Introduction (Oxford: Blackwell • Representation of different meanings and frameworks Publishing, second edition 2006). of fairness. 3.A. Hutchens, Changing Big Business: The Globalisation of the Fair Trade Movement (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2009). 4.V. Nelson & B. Pound, The Last Ten Years: A Comprehensive Review of the Literature on the Impact of Fairtrade (NRI: University of Greenwich, 2009).This project is being developed in collaboration with Prof Paul Cloke and 5.A. Nicholls & C. Opal, Fair Trade: Market-Driven Ethical ConsumptionDr Ian Cook at the University of Exeter and Christian Nold PhD candidate at UCL (London: Sage, 2004).
  8. 8. Mapping Fair Trade Networks:Visualising the dynamics of a global movementMatthew Anderson PhD University of Birmingham www.FairtradeProject.org.uk www.NetworkbyDesign.co.uk

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