Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Online Help for Fair Trade

Greetings from the famous room N101 at the Australian National University in Canberra, where Jennyfer Lawrence Taylor is speaking on "ICT Pathways for Consumer-Producer Feedback Loops within the Fair Trade System". She is asking if social media-like systems help connect first world consumers to third world producers, where there is a large cultural gap.

With schemes such as Fairtrade it is assumed that the developing nation producer deals directly with the first world distributor. However, normal trading arrangements would assume a local intermediary and I suggest perhaps they could deal with consumer questions. As an example, when teaching  web design to museum staff of the pacific, I was asked about web sites for museum shops. My students pointed out to me that they have essentially the same items on sale in the shop as on display in their museum. The shop then acts as an intermediation to educate the consumer about the items.

Research Questions

• How is ICT currently used in fair trade supply chains to facilitate feedback loops? How might ICT be applied in future to improve these information flows?

– What types of feedback do consumers currently provide to producers, and what are their motivations for giving feedback?

– What consumer feedback would producers like to receive, and how would they use this feedback to influence supply chain operations?
– How is feedback modified, filtered and translated back through the supply chain to producers by intermediaries such as Australian importers?

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