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Fair Trade Standards and food security: identifying potential impact pathways

Sirdey N., Lemeilleur S.. 2015. In : 9 ème journées de recherches en sciences sociales. Nancy : SFER, p. 1-26. Journées de recherches en sciences sociales. 9, 2015-12-10/2015-12-11, Nancy (France).

Sustainability standards and their labels aim to promote sustainable development for certified farmers and the environment. However, the creation of an increasing number of schemes seems to have occurred independently of the debates in the international community about development and food insecurity issues. Fair trade (FT) standards, which have historically targeted the social dimension of sustainability and small farmers from the South, do not seem to develop requirements on the food security issue. In spite of many improvements in living and trading conditions experienced by affiliated small farmers, the food insecurity they face is still unresolved. Yet, very few studies measure the impacts of FT certification on food insecurity. This paper intends to make a methodological contribution to the literature. To illustrate our purpose, we analyze FT standards in order to understand how they address food security issues and how changes induced by certification could constitute potential impact pathways to improve/undermine food security for certified producers. The design of an analytical framework allows us to conclude that while FT mechanisms could help improve food security, unexpected and controversial changes could indirectly worsen food security.

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