[en] Fair Trade Organizations ; Belgium ; social enterprise
[fr] organisations de commerce équitable ; Belgique ; entreprise sociale
[en] This article analyzes the dual process occurring in the field of Fair Trade organizations (FTOs) in Belgium. On the one hand, there has been a gradual diversification of the organizational landscape over time from pioneering volunteer-based non-profit organizations to a broader array including cooperatives, group structures, businesses and individual entrepreneurs exclusively devoted to FT. On the other hand, a process of networking is currently taking place among the various types of FTOs in the context of the creation of a Belgian Fair Trade Federation (BFTF). Drawing on neo-institutional theory, including institutional entrepreneurship, this article examines how and why these two processes have taken place. A qualitative field study in the Belgian FT sector, including interviews with 15 FTOs, offers rich empirical material which illustrates the diverse patterns of these organizations. Based on the observed combinations of different variables among Belgian FTOs, a taxonomy reflecting diverse means of conceiving and organizing FT activity is suggested. The different categories of FTOs and the evolution of these categories over time seem linked to the broader institutional evolutions of FT at the international as well as at the Belgian level. Finally, several factors are reviewed to explain why the diversity among Belgian FTOs has not been an obstacle to their collaboration.
Centre d'Économie Sociale - CES
Researchers ; Professionals ; Students ; General public