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Business and Professional Ethics Journal


published on October 5, 2016

Jeff Everett, Dean Neu, Abu Shiraz Rahaman
DOI: 10.5840/bpej201692644

Ethics in the Eye of the Beholder
A Pluralist View of Fair Trade

This paper examines fair trade through a variety of ethical lenses as a means of determining whether or not it is, indeed, fair. The specific lenses employed are utilitarianism, justice, rights, virtue, and care. The context examined is coffee production and the analysis is based on twenty-three interviews conducted with fair trade coffee producers and other associated actors in the country of Guatemala. The paper highlights how each of these lenses draws attention to the unique moral dimensions of fair trade, and demonstrates how a pluralist view enables a better grasp of the complexity of the ethics surrounding fair trade than is provided by any one, singular framing. Implications of the analysis are provided for business educators, practitioners, and students of fair trade.