Business with a Mission: The Ongoing Role of Ten Thousand Villages within the Fair Trade Movement: Mennonite Central Committee and Expanding Networks

Jennifer Keahey, Mary Littrell, Douglas Murray

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

In recent years, fair trade has evolved from a relatively obscure social movement into a powerful market-based mechanism for social change. Although social justice concerns remain central to the broader movement, fair trade food and handicrafts have developed into two distinct market sectors with separate governance structures. These changes have led to a number of tensions deriving largely from efforts to transform global trade by operating from within the marketplace. Using the case of Ten Thousand Villages, we argue that fair trade tensions are not necessarily a negative force, but rather an indicator of movement resiliency and opportunity. As a pioneer in fair trade handicrafts, Villages has sought to meet both market and movement goals through its business-with-a-mission approach. We conclude by examining the role that Villages’ leaders are playing in global fair trade governance. Noting that the food and handicraft sectors have recently articulated a platform for renewed movement solidarity, we argue that fair trade may more effectively engage in political advocacy campaigns and thus emerge as the global leader in trade accountability.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA Table of Sharing
Subtitle of host publicationMennonite Central Committee and Expanding Networks
EditorsAlain E Weaver
Place of PublicationTelford, USA
PublisherCascadia Publishing House
Pages265-283
ISBN (Print)1931038783
StatePublished - 2011

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