Fair Trade Original has been concentrating its efforts on strengthening its partner organisations to reach levels of competitiveness that will allow them to prosper in both fair trade and mainstream markets. In the first meeting with the Fair Trade Original business consultants, some explained that Dutch consumers used to choose fair trade products based on their own ideological values and personal decisions (the willingness to help others improve their welfare) but this decision is no longer taken at the expense of buying lower quality products. According to the business consultants, Dutch consumers demand attractive, well-designed and well-manufactured products, in which case they are willing to pay a somewhat higher price to help others. In this line, Fair Trade Original has been building upon the capacity of its partners in terms of product development, quality, marketing and logistics. It combines a series of business development and capacity building services for its partner organisations, on the one hand, with a niche market channel in which they sell their own products, on the other. The “graduation” of the partners is seen as reaching the capacity to sell in mainstream markets besides the relatively small fair trade niche market.

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Keywords North-South relations, fair trade
Persistent URL hdl.handle.net/1765/34823