At the same time as fair trade certified products are capturing an increasing market share, a growing number of scholars and practitioners are raising serious questions about who benefits from certification. Through a critique of north–south narratives, this paper draws on contemporary themes in fair trade scholarship to draw out different ways of thinking about fair trade outside of the dichotomous north–south framing.
Fair trade certification is a mechanism used by coffee cooperatives to assist farmers with accessing cash income and securing a better price for their product. Third-party certifiers regulate the fair trade label, which is tied not only to price, but also to standards for production and development. In this paper I examine these standards as they are deployed in self-declared autonomous communities in the highlands of Chiapas, Mexico.