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Campaigning for sustainable food: sustainably certified consumer communities

Campaigning for sustainable food: sustainably certified consumer communities The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship between consumer movements and sustainability certification bodies in the development of food-related consumer campaigns.Design/methodology/approachThis paper adopts a longitudinal approach to the study of an empirical case, the Fairtrade Towns (FTT) movement in the UK. It combines netnographic analysis on the FTT’s online forum with interviews with members of the community and of the certification body coordinating the movement.FindingsThe author conceptualises Sustainably Certified Consumer Communities (SCCC) as a distinct sub-group of consumer movements whose identity coalesces around a sustainable certification and that mobilises supporters with the purpose of promoting social change through the marketplace. The longitudinal approach allows the identification of definitional elements, main practices and unresolved tensions of this concept.Originality/valueResearch addressing the social movement dimension of contemporary food-related sustainability certification is limited. The present study advances consumer research through the conceptualisation of SCCC and contributes to a new understanding of the political roles that market-oriented certification bodies can play in consumer activism. From a managerial perspective, it provides valuable insights into practitioners interested in fostering community engagement. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png British Food Journal Emerald Publishing

Campaigning for sustainable food: sustainably certified consumer communities

British Food Journal , Volume 123 (3): 16 – Feb 5, 2021

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
0007-070X
DOI
10.1108/bfj-06-2020-0457
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship between consumer movements and sustainability certification bodies in the development of food-related consumer campaigns.Design/methodology/approachThis paper adopts a longitudinal approach to the study of an empirical case, the Fairtrade Towns (FTT) movement in the UK. It combines netnographic analysis on the FTT’s online forum with interviews with members of the community and of the certification body coordinating the movement.FindingsThe author conceptualises Sustainably Certified Consumer Communities (SCCC) as a distinct sub-group of consumer movements whose identity coalesces around a sustainable certification and that mobilises supporters with the purpose of promoting social change through the marketplace. The longitudinal approach allows the identification of definitional elements, main practices and unresolved tensions of this concept.Originality/valueResearch addressing the social movement dimension of contemporary food-related sustainability certification is limited. The present study advances consumer research through the conceptualisation of SCCC and contributes to a new understanding of the political roles that market-oriented certification bodies can play in consumer activism. From a managerial perspective, it provides valuable insights into practitioners interested in fostering community engagement.

Journal

British Food JournalEmerald Publishing

Published: Feb 5, 2021

Keywords: Consumer movements; Sustainable certifications; Sustainable labels; Voluntary sustainability standards; Sustainable community movement organisations; Fairtrade Towns; Netnography; Consumer activism

References