Code-of-conduct organizations (CCOs) for sustainable agriculture, such as Fair Trade and Eurep-Gap, are rapidly changing the face of agribusiness. Yet, there is little understanding of how these organizations contribute to sustainability. This study therefore presents a case study of the strategies by which CCOs aim to achieve their sustainability objectives. A cross-case comparison indicates that many strategic differences between codes of conduct can be traced back to two types of CCOs: those weighting principles over size, and those weighting size over principles. The former put a measuring rule in the market, and enable primary producers to differentiate themselves from mainstream production. The latter set lower requirements, but target mainstream production and involve large retailers and processing firms. Given the unique roles played by these types of organizations, sustainable development is best served by the synergy that results under co-opetition: when the two types of rival organizations coexist.
|Publication status||Published - 2006|