Fair Trade - contradicting or complementing SE: a critical research on RISE's Fair Trade activities within a social entrepreneurial framework

Mikkel Gottlieb

Studenteropgave: Masterprojekt


Over the past decade Fair Trade (FT) has been praised as the miracle-cure to poverty globally, by securing a better deal for marginalised farmers and creating community development, while respecting the environment. In that sense, FT can seem to be in the scope of social entrepreneurship (SE) by addressing societal issues by means of creating social, economic and environmental value. Although in recent years FT has been subject for several critiques based upon inadequate improvements in the local communities. This research report is therefore inspired by the complexity of FT as a social entrepreneurial tool for development and poverty reduction. By a conducted field study in Uganda, the focus of this research report is on the social entrepreneurial elements or the lack of these in the NGO; RISE's FT activities and FT in general. By exploring social entrepreneurial concepts and indicators a social entrepreneurial framework (SEF) will be developed in order to investigate if FT is complementing or contradicting SE. This is done by interpreting the collected empirical data from the field study of RISE to the SEF. On a theoretical level it seems like the organisational culture of RISE and its FT activities are fitting within the SEF and can thus be viewed as complementing social entrepreneurship. Although in practical reality several lack of SE elements are identified which illustrates that RISE seems to be more like a traditional enterprise, with a single economic profit-oriented view on FT. In conclusion, FT in general is considered as contradicting SE, based upon its nature as a Western one-size fits all model. In order to address this, the research report stresses the importance of the development of a participatory africanisation strategy of FT. Thus, the report indicates that it is vital for RISE to africanise their FT activities, in order to create social, environmental and economic capital in the local communities of Mayuge.

UddannelserMaster i Socialt Entreprenørskab (MSE), (Masteruddannelse) Master
Udgivelsesdato30 maj 2014
VejledereChristine Revsbech


  • Fair Trade, social entrepreneurship, social enterprise, social innovation