2008-03-06: Global social responsibility, technology and consumer choice: the EPSRC Fair Tracing Project

The Fair Tracing Project team will be visiting the Department as guest speakers in the New Political Communication Unit on March 6, 2008, 5-6.30pm. Room Windsor 1-03. This is an open, free event. All are welcome.

The Fair Tracing project, funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), aims to help bridge the digital divide between Northern consumers and Southern producers by using tracing technology to enhance the Fair Trade model of trade. Fair Trade is a proven and growing international movement that aims to better the lives of small-scale producers in developing countries by guaranteeing to Western consumers that products bearing the Fair Trade logo have been made under equitable conditions in developing countries. Consumers are empowered with the knowledge to make an ethical distinction between the goods they purchase, while small-scale producers in developing countries are empowered via this distinctive marketing advantage. In its implicit challenge to consumers, producers and importers to act more responsibly, the Fair Trade movement is correcting the inequities of global trade.

Fair Tracing will (1) give producers a better overview of the value chain and price structures along it and valuable market information; (2) empower consumers by allowing them to trace the product’s origin and value chain on which they can base their ethical choice when shopping; (3) allow Fair Trade companies to demonstrate how to do business differently/they can prove the technical feasibility of tracing and demonstrate that these devices can be used not just for companies to gather information about consumers, but for consumers to scrutinise companies; (4) be used as an exciting new campaign tool to be used to lobby for a different kind of globalisation; and (5) offer an innovative idea to retail companies interested in improving their ethical sourcing and corporate responsibility guidelines.

The talk will include Dr. Apurba Kundu, University of Bradford; Dorothea Kleine, Royal Holloway, University of London; Dr. Ian Brown, UCL and Oxford Internet Institute; and Dr. Ann Light, Queen Mary, University of London.

For further information, please see the project's website.