Date of Award

Summer 7-31-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Executive Doctorate in Business (EDB)

Department

Business

First Advisor

Dr. Karen Loch

Second Advisor

Dr. Pam Ellen

Third Advisor

Dr. Felix Rioja

Abstract

The aim of this study is to understand the Fair Trade Coffee Business Model by determining how the Fair Trade Coffee Business Model affects the livelihoods of the small scale producers in developing countries. The Fair Trade Coffee Business Model is driven by the mission to improve the well-being of the small scale producers located in developing countries through the lens of the Triple Bottom Line (economic, social and environment). What is the significance of fair trade coffee to the economies of developing countries that produce coffee? The economies are considerably impacted by coffee production as coffee ranks as the second foremost exported commodity from developing countries (European Coffee Federation, 2006). Ensuring the small scale producers receive a fair price for the coffee they grow is only one of the initiatives of the model. Other key initiatives include pre-harvest financing, increased healthcare services, working together for a higher quality coffee, fairer business conduct, improvements in education, and technical assistance. The findings of this study provide some insights into the Fair Trade Coffee Business Model’s effect on the livelihoods of the small scale producers in developing countries through the lens of the Triple Bottom Line. The Fair Trade Coffee Business Model has increased the quality of the coffee bean produced by the small scale producers along with developing long term business relationships throughout the Fair Trade Coffee Business Model supply chain. In sum, the small scale producers reported that the Fair Trade Coffee Business Model has a positive effect on their livelihood and well-being. More specifically, they also indicated that the motivations for them to participate in the Fair Trade Coffee Business Model are receiving a better price for coffee, democratic decision making and farm training. An additional finding affirms that the Fair Trade Coffee Business Model is a sound contributor to the socio-economic stability of the small scale producers, offering a sustainable income-generating alternative market strategy.

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