The role of fair trade certification for wages and job satisfaction of plantation workers

Lead author: Katharina Krumbiegel       Year: 2018      

Publication Abstract

Worker welfare and employment conditions in the agri-food-producing and processing sectors in the global south have become an increasing concern for consumers. Sustainability standards, such as Fairtrade, play an important role in agri-food markets of horticultural produce and may be a tool to address these concerns. However, so far the implications of Fairtrade certification for extrinsic and intrinsic employment factors of hired labor on large-scale plantations remain hardly understood. In this paper we assess its effect on workers’ hourly wages and their level of job satisfaction with primary survey data from 325 randomly sampled workers from eight different export-oriented pineapple companies in Ghana. We apply a linear, linear mixed model, and instrumental variable approach to take into account the multilevel characteristics of our data and possible selection bias. Our findings show that both hourly wages and job satisfaction are indeed higher on Fairtrade-certified plantations. Factors of increased job satisfaction are likely driven by higher wages, permanent employment contracts, training opportunities, company services such as medical care and paid leave as well as established labor unions on Fairtrade-certified plantations.


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  • Publication type:

    • Journal article
  • Other authors:

    • Katharina Krumbiegel
    • Miet Maertens
    • Meike Wollni
  • Countries:

    • Ghana