1st Edition

Fair Trade and Sustainable Development Dispersed Hybrid Markets

By Magdalena Śliwińska Copyright 2024
    356 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Fair Trade constitutes a social-business initiative that plays a crucial role in the transition towards a "sustainable market economy", countering the major challenges of the 21st century. This research monograph reveals the mechanisms behind this process. It argues that Fair Trade constitutes a new type of market, "a Dispersed Hybrid Market (DHM)", that due to its specific features contributes to a more pro-social functioning of the entire market and taking responsibility for sustainable development by different market participants. It demonstrates, thus, what was underestimated about Fair Trade, and which is extremely important, that it can have a positive impact on the market in terms of sustainable transformation. The book is intended for researchers, lecturers, students, practitioners, and political decision-makers interested in sustainable development, Fair Trade, and transition towards sustainable markets, business, and economy. It contributes to better understanding of sustainability challenges explaining specifics of Fair Trade market, revealing paradoxes and barriers of its development and showing mechanisms of its spillover effects. It also develops arguments about the need to change the role of the state in the face of global challenges and to support such grassroots international initiatives as Fair Trade. Therefore the practical recommendations address both the desired directions of development of the self-governance of this initiative and the expected role of the state towards it, in particular possible ways to strengthen it.


    1. Fair Trade as a unique phenomenon in the global economy

    2. Concepts of the market in economic theory

    3. Fair Trade market in the light of the economic concept of the market

    4. Fair Trade market in the light of the social concept of the market

    5. Fair Trade market in the light of institutional economics and Ostrom’s concept of ‘governing the commons’

    6. The rationale and method of the empirical research

    7. Findings. Specifics of Fair Trade market and its consequences               

    8. Conclusions and discussion

    Summary and closing conclusions


    Magdalena Śliwińska is an Assistant Professor in the Institute of International Business and Economics, at Poznań University of Economics and Business, Poland.

    “In a field dominated by empirical studies, it is exciting to see this book developing economic theory to explore not only the internal dynamics of Fair Trade in practice, but also its wider contribution to a more sustainable global economy.” Anne TallontireProfessor of Sustainability and Business and host of the 2023 Fair Trade International Symposium


    “For too long, Fair Trade has been looked at as just a principle. It is also a market and this book analyzes the historical developments of this market. Furthermore it presents three scenarios for its future development and it depends on the market actors which scenario will become prevalent. Therefore, this book is a must read for everyone involved in Fair Trade practices." Andre Nijhof, Professor Sustainable Business and Stewardship, Nyenrode Business Universiteit

    "A must in the library of teachers of business and international trade.” Julia Pérez Bravo, Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro