You have been tasked with writing a report which recommends a single supplier for the University.

Posted: June 8th, 2022

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Read the question carefully;
(c) Most of the materials you need can be found on the websites, though you can also refer to journal articles as
(d) Submit your answers through Canvas.
(e) Late submissions will not be accepted.
(If you have any technical problems submitting your case study, email a copy to the instructor before the
The Case
Fairtrade is a certification system established in 1988 by a cooperative of small coffee producers in Mexico
and a Dutch NGO. The producers in Mexico were frustrated that they had to sell their coffee through “middle
men” who took most of the profits from the coffee. They wanted more direct access (shorter supply chains, fewer
middle men) to Northern consumers, many of whom had expressed their interest in buying directly from small
producers. Developing a certification system would enable Northern consumers to be able to more easily identify
coffee that was fairly produced and provided greater benefits to small producers.
To this end the new certification system included:
(a) a guaranteed minimum price, which is higher than the market price (to deal with price fluctuations in
commodity markets and to ensure the coffee farmers would have a sustainable livelihood);
(b) a requirement that small producers would be democratically organized in cooperatives or associations (to
provide producers with a greater ability to negotiate prices, to improve their organizational capacity and, thereby
to improve their quality, produce more sustainably, etc.;
(c) and buyers were encouraged to sign long-term contracts with farmers (to ensure income stability for
producers) and provide other forms of support to producers (to improve product quality, to promote more
sustainable production, to develop local infrastructure, to diversify their production, etc.).
The initial buyers of Fairtrade coffee were almost exclusively Northern cooperatives, NGOs and
independent coffee buyers (some of who formed their own buying cooperative, Cooperative Coffees). Many of
these organization (100%ers), only buy (and sell) Fairtrade coffee. Only after these small buyers proved that
there was a market for Fairtrade coffee (and boycotts by consumers of large coffee retailers such as Starbucks),
did larger corporate buyers enter the Fairtrade market. Unlike the smaller companies, however, they have only
converted a small percentage (2-10%) of their coffee sales to Fairtrade coffee, preferring instead to promote other
certification programs with lower standards. These large corporations, however, because they are so much larger,
actually tend to buy more Fairtrade coffee than the small, more dedicated companies that buy/sell only Fairtrade
You work in the procurement office of a large Canadian University which has a Fairtrade policy. Your office is
trying to determine if they should purchase Fairtrade Coffee from one of three type of vendors:
• a small, pioneering social economy business (such as JustUs! Coffee Roasters, a small cooperative in
Nova Scotia which was the first company to sell Fairtrade products in Canada);
• a social business (such as Reunion Island, a medium-sized privately-owned company in Ontario, which
has recently become a B-corp);
• a larger corporate actor (such as Starbucks, a large multi-national corporation which is the world’s largest
buyer of Fairtrade coffee and currently operates on your campus. Starbucks is popular with some on the
campus, but which has come under attack from several NGOs and, student and consumer organizations.).
You have been tasked with writing a report which recommends a single supplier for the University. In your
report to are supposed to explain how the organizational structures of the different types of coffee buyers are
likely to condition the benefits that they supply to small producers and how their practices and performance are
likely to align with the University’s commitment to social justice and sustainability.
In answering this question, you should develop both normative arguments (moral, ethical, legitimacy) and
pragmatic arguments (regarding the organizations’ efficiency, capacity, etc.), and indicate how you prioritize
these (if necessary). You should include all relevant stakeholders in your analysis (and explain your basis for
favouring some claims over others).
Key Points
1. Positive Analysis èe.g., products, supply chain mgmt., etc.
2. Normative analysis èethical, moral, legitimacy (re stakeholder groups)
3. Recommendation èmethod/tool for weighing factors, deciding (score card?)
èmethods for addressing concerns
– conditions on contract, special forms of support, incentives, etc.
• Sources
• General sources (websites, articles) about Fairtrade (and Fairtrade campuses)
• Websites of (potential) providers
• Sources (websites, articles) examining the providers
• Sources (websites, articles) raising examining relevant issues
• Style Guidelines – (focus more on the structure of the argument)
Attached is the textbook for this course maybe helped with the writing!

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