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The Fairtrade Access Fund: does linking ethical investment with Fairtrade certification enhance credit outcomes for small farmers?




Weeks, Nefratiri, author
Raynolds, Laura, advisor
Lacy, Michael G., committee member
Bernasek, Alexandra, committee member

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The Fairtrade Access Fund is a new ethical investment fund established to work with smallholder farmer cooperatives certified or becoming certified by Fairtrade International. How does the Fairtrade Access Fund fit in with current financing schemes in the developing world? Does the Fairtrade Access Fund's connection with Fairtrade International certification and ethical finance standards enhance the important positive aspects of credit access for smallholder farmers? Does the connection with Fairtrade Standards mitigate the potential risks inherent in debt finance? My study employs an economic sociology and political economy theoretical framework. It traces the certification requirements of Fairtrade International and analyzes how they intersect with the key institutions of ethical finance in order to answer the main research questions. The research includes information on both investors and recipients of the Fairtrade Access Fund and evaluates whether the fund differs from current forms of finance already available to some smallholder farmers. In sum, my findings indicate that linking ethical finance with Fairtrade certification schemes does enhance credit outcomes for smallholder farmers. Further, Fairtrade certification works as an important mechanism of risk management for ethical lending institutions.


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ethical investment
smallholder farmers
fair trade


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