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Accounting for Sustainable Livelihoods: The dialectic between Fairtrade and Biodiversity

Lanka, Sanjay (2017) Accounting for Sustainable Livelihoods: The dialectic between Fairtrade and Biodiversity. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Abstract

This thesis investigates whether using agricultural biodiversity, smallholder farmers are closer to having a sustainable livelihood as compared to when they depend on promises made by Alternative Trade Organizations (ATOs) such as Fairtrade. The framework within accounting for biodiversity has not considered the loss in biodiversity and the potential role played by agricultural biodiversity in providing sustainable livelihoods. Further, studies about Fairtrade’s accountability have focused on the household when there is a need to investigate the accountability of Fairtrade at the co-operative level since the Fairtrade system mostly works with co-operatives of farmers. The main research questions of this thesis are: What does a sustainable livelihood in the coffee supply chain entail at the level of a co-operative? Does Fairtrade deliver on its promise of providing a sustainable livelihood at the level of a coffee producer co-operative? Whether and how agricultural biodiversity would affect the livelihoods of a co-operative of coffee farmers? A dialectic/historical materialist methodology is used in combination with multiple methods for a case study of a coffee co-operative in India. A theoretical framework was developed that incorporates the labour theory of value along with the science of agroecology to detail the challenges to the achievement of sustainable livelihoods. Fairtrade fails to deliver sustainable livelihoods at the level of the coffee co-operative. Agricultural biodiversity using an agroecological approach supports sustainable livelihoods to the extent of reducing the dependence on external inputs but challenges remain due to a continued dependence on corporate value chains. This thesis contributes to the literature in accounting by introducing the concept of sustainable livelihoods as a means to check the accountability of NGOs such as Fairtrade. The focus on agricultural biodiversity extends the field of accounting for biodiversity to incorporate the social and environmental impacts on agriculture.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5601 Accounting
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School
Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School > Essex Accounting Centre
Depositing User: Sanjay Lanka
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2017 08:27
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2017 08:27
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/20020

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