Center for Fair & Alternative Trade

Colorado State University

“Fair Trade: Broadening and Deepening in Economic, Social and Political Domains”

Presented by Tatsuya Watanabe, Professor, Tokyo University of Economics

Tatsuya Watanabe, Professor in the Faculty of Contemporary Law at Tokyo University of Economics, presented “Fair Trade: Broadening and Deepening in Economic, Social and Political Domains.” 

Dr. Watanabe’s presentation sought to compare and contrast the situation of the Fair Trade movement in Japan with other countries in which the movement is more fully developed. To do so, he analyzed the nature of mainstreaming, distinguishing its two major dimensions, broadening and deepening as outlined by Douglas Murray, Laura Raynolds, and Pete Taylor (2003).  Using these concepts, he carried out case studies in two countries, Japan and the United Kingdom, illuminating the strategies that different fair trade movements implement as they attempt to influence and change consumer behavior.

Seminar - Tatsuya Watanabe

Dr. Watanabe’s analysis suggests that mainstreaming strategies should be context specific. In the case of the UK, for example, broadening of fair trade is rather well-balanced and the challenge seems to be that of deepening in economic and political domains. Fair trade in Japan, however, has much narrower and shallower roots in the society. There is evidence that the Japanese public takes fair trade as a corporate initiative instead of civil society one as is in the UK. The Fair trade movement in Japan thus needs to make every effort to have fair trade rooted more deeply in the society.

Dr. Watanabe argued that social deepening appears to hold the key to successful mainstreaming of fair trade and suggested that such initiatives as Fair Trade Towns, Churches and Schools as well as Fair Trade at Workplaces deserve more attention and resources if the fair trade movement is to become a real force for transformation.