1 INDUSTRY By ALISON M. MONTGOMERY A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2014
2 Â© 2014 Alison M. Montgomery
3 To Hattie
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This dissertation is the culmination of years of work, planning, and dreaming. There are so many people who have helped me survive and sometimes thrive during coursework, qualifying exams, fieldwork, and dissertation writing. Though it is impossible to thank everyone who has supported me, I do want to take a moment to mention those who have especially contributed to the production of this dissertation. I would first like to thank the generous funders who believed in my project and supported my research. The University of Florida Center for African Studies (CAS) supported me during my coursework by awa rding me the Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship, twice for Swahili and once for Afrikaans. This support made graduate school possible and also gave me the necessary language foundations. The University of Florida Department of Anthropology has be en a strong supporter of mine, affording me the opportunity to teach my own course and helping me to navigate the grantwriting process and various university requirements. CAS and the Anthropology Department also provided support for numerous professional conferences throughout my graduate career. I have especially appreciated the help and encouragement from the Anthropology and CAS teams, especially Karen Jones, Juanita Bagnall, Pat King, Pam Freeman, Todd Leedy, Corinna Green, and Ikeade Akinyemi. Fulbri ght IIE and the National Science Foundation provided the means with which to conduct my fieldwork in South Africa. I am honored to be a recipient of these prestigious awards and am forever grateful for my time in South Africa. I am also grateful for my res Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies, and especially for the guidance from Andries du Toit.
5 The dissertation writing process was made possible thanks to the University of Florida Gradu ate College and the University of Rochester Frederick Douglass Institute for African and African American Studies (FDI) . My time at the University of Roche ster allowed me to present my research as a work in progress. I was also able to sort through my idea s with the generous faculty members and fellows in FDI and the University of Rochester Department of Anthropology, specifically Cilas Kemedjio, Sarah Seidman, Kristin Doughty, and Daniel Reichman. This dissertation would not be possible without the support of my professors and committee members , notably Brenda Chalfin, Maria Stoilkova, Abraham Goldman, Abdoulaye Kane, and Peter Collings. No one has contributed more to my graduate career, grant prepa ration, research, and dissertation writing than my advisor, Brenda ions have always been high, and, as a result, she pushed me to ac hieve more than I knew possible. She has been the ideal advisor, helping to lay the foundatio ns for my fieldwork, sort through my data and ideas, and clarify arguments. Her contributions to my research and dissertation are immense. She has filled gaps in my knowledge, directed me towards relevant resources, and challenged my interpretations. Dr. C halfin approaches her role as advisor with a rare understanding of her students. She knows what each needs and motivates accordingly. Dr. Chalfin exemplifies what I hope to be: a productive scholar and committed mother. Dr. Stoilkova was an invaluab le ass et when sorting through theoretical claims and dis sertation organization. Dr. Goldman challenged my assumptions and helped me think through the realities of agricultural life, making my research and writing much stronger. Dr. Kane helped to clarify ideas a nd pointed me towards wider issues in
6 Anthropology and African Studies. This dissertation has benefitted greatly from their critiques and suggestions, just as I have benefitted from their consistent encouragement. Dr. Collings h as been an important mentor for my teaching and professional development. This research was greatly improved thanks to the help of my research assistants, Charlet and Charlton. I will refrain from using your surnames to honor your requests. You both provided insight into my research questions and data that I would not have had without you. You also were excellent interviewers whose rapport with research participants proved invaluable. Thank you for your dedication to this project and to the betterment of farm worker livelihoods. I wo uld like to thank my graduate school colle a gues who reviewed my fellowship applications, furthered my research and writing in various ways, and offered limitless support. Many of you have become my dearest friends a nd I feel blessed to have you in my life. While many colleagues have supported me throughout the years, I would like to especially thank the individuals who directly contributed to this research and dissertation. Thank you, Meredith Marten, Lauren Fordyce, Cara Jones, Noelle Sullivan, Steve Davis , Steve Lichty, Scott McPherson, Jean Dennison , Stephanie Borios, and Michelle Eusebio . I have had numerous opportunities to meet scholars at language institutes and through fellowships. Sarah Ives, Cody Perkins, Todd Ellick, Jessica Ruthven, and Jacqueli ne du Plessis have all helped me to think through my research and writing. I am grateful for all of the moments we have shared in the US and South Africa and for the lifelong friendships that were forged. I am also grateful to my colleagues from the
7 Univer sity of Oklahoma who maintained a presence in my life and professional developm ent, namely Emilee Baker Ringo and Jessica Blanchard . The support of my dear friends throughout the years has been wonderful. So many people showed interest in my work and supp orted me personally as I moved around the world and followed my dreams. I would like to extend a special thank you to Chiku Sinha, Kelly Shockley , Matt Kindell, Dara Martin, and Lindsay Griffith. Chiku, your friendship provides me with so much encouragement and joy. Hattie is lucky to have you as her godmother. My fieldwork in South Africa is the cornerstone of my graduate education. Numerous people made my time there both fruitful and enjoyable and supported me through challenging times. I wou ld like to thank the women and men of the South African wine industry. Though for the sake of anonymity I cannot name you, I want you to know that you have not been forgotten. I am grateful that you welcomed me into your homes and places of work. We forged friendships that I cherish and you taught me so industry and to show how Fair Trade operates in the South African context. It is my hope that you will find my work to be a useful contribution. One person in particular was a constant source of love and support while in South Afr i ca. known a glass of wine and connected conversation. I would also like to thank Emily Sheard, Louis Heering, Emma Pirie, Ben Sheard, Garry Sheard, Victor Corrigan, and Altus van Lill. When I think of South Africa, I always think of you.
8 The love and support of my family has been critical to the completion of this dissertation and my graduate career. I would like to thank my parents, Trudy and Dawcett Middleton; my grandparents, Breman and Carolyn Montgomery; my aunt, Gayle Montgomery; and my siblings, Alex and Dian e Montgomery and Kerry and Meliss a Middleton. Mom, thank you for visiting South Africa and learning about my work and life there. Thank you for checking on me regularly and offering a shoulder to cry on when I needed it. Mema and Aunt Gayle, thank you for always letting me know how proud you are of me. I am also grateful for the love and support of my in laws, the McWhorter family. a wonderful husband who supports me in all things. You always know exactly how to comfort me, motivate me, inspire me, and make me smile. Thank you for working so hard so that I could stay home with our daughter and finish my dissertation. Your countless sacrifices have not gone unnoticed. Thank you for knowing my heart, valuing my mind, and striving to further the interests and wellbeing of all parties in our little family. I love you forever and am wholly committed to us and our family. Hattie Montgomery McWhorter that love like this existed until you arrived. Your smile is infectious. Joy and goodness ing child. I thank God every day for you. I am here for you always and will do anything to ensure a meaningful and happy life for you. Lilly and Lucy, you are the sweetest dogs and I love you both very much.
9 Thank you for making me pause each day so that we can all walk, play, and enjoy the
10 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF FIGURES ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 14 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 15 C H A P T E R 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 17 Introductory Remarks ................................ ................................ .............................. 17 South Africa in Historical Perspective ................................ ................................ ..... 17 Settling the We stern Cape ................................ ................................ ................ 17 Apartheid ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 19 Transition to Democracy ................................ ................................ ................... 21 The Post Apartheid State ................................ ................................ ................. 22 Race ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 22 Land ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 24 Race in the Western Cape Province ................................ ................................ ....... 26 Coloured Identity ................................ ................................ .............................. 27 Portrait of a Western Cape Farmer ................................ ................................ .. 30 The South African W ine Industry ................................ ................................ ............ 32 Farm Profiles ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 33 Introduction to Fair Trade ................................ ................................ ........................ 35 ................................ ................................ . 39 Alternative Glo balization ................................ ................................ ................... 40 Decommodification ................................ ................................ ........................... 41 Niche Market Access ................................ ................................ ........................ 42 Framing Theories ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 43 Global Assemblages ................................ ................................ ........................ 43 Flexible Bureaucracy ................................ ................................ ........................ 47 Unintended Consequences ................................ ................................ .............. 49 ................................ ................................ ....... 52 Study Objectives ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 56 Methodology ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 56 Participant Observation ................................ ................................ .................... 57 Interviews ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 58 Archival Research and Document Review ................................ ....................... 59 Fieldsites ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 59 Commodity Selection ................................ ................................ ....................... 60 Research Assistance ................................ ................................ ........................ 61 Research Limitations ................................ ................................ ........................ 61 Chapter Outlines and Arguments ................................ ................................ ............ 62
11 Chapter 2: Fair Trade in South Africa ................................ ............................... 62 Chapter 3: Black Economic Empowerment and Certification Models ............... 62 Chapter 4: Motivation to Certify ................................ ................................ ........ 63 Chapter 5: Decertification ................................ ................................ ................. 63 Chapter 6: Policy Reform ................................ ................................ ................. 64 2 FAIR TRADE IN SOUTH AFRICA ................................ ................................ .......... 66 Founding Fair Trade South A frica ................................ ................................ ........... 68 ................................ ....... 68 The South African context ................................ ................................ .......... 68 Fairtrade I nternational ................................ ................................ ................ 72 Fair Trade South Africa (FTSA ) ................................ ................................ . 74 Fairtrade Label South Africa (FLSA) ................................ .......................... 74 FLO Cert ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 75 Producer n etworks: Fairtrade Africa ................................ ........................... 75 Southern African Fairtrade Network ................................ ........................... 76 Association for Fairness in Trade ................................ ............................... 76 The j oint b ody ................................ ................................ ............................ 76 ................................ .................. 77 Fairtrade Label South Africa ................................ ................................ ............. 78 Becoming a Full Voting Member ................................ ................................ ...... 80 Fair Trade South Africa: Rebranding and Greater Inclusion ................................ ... 82 The R ise of C ompeting E thical C ertification B odies ................................ ......... 82 Dev eloping a M ission ................................ ................................ ....................... 83 Consequences of Flexibility: the Corporatization of Fair Trade ............................... 87 Rebranding Fairtrade ................................ ................................ .............................. 91 Concluding Remarks ................................ ................................ ............................... 92 3 FAIR TRADE CERTIFICATION AND BLACK ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT ...... 97 Introductory Remarks ................................ ................................ .............................. 97 Re Imagining Post Apartheid South Africa: Theoretical Considerations .......... 98 BEE and the Fair Trade BEE Addendum: Born in Chains ................................ 99 F air Trade vs. Non Fair Trade Farms ................................ ............................. 100 Black Economic Empowerment ................................ ................................ ............ 101 The Black Economic Empowerment Addendum ................................ ................... 102 Ownership in the Land ................................ ................................ ................... 104 Ownership in the Winery ................................ ................................ ................ 113 Ownership in the Label ................................ ................................ ................... 119 Concluding Remarks ................................ ................................ ............................. 127 4 MOTIVATION TO CERTIFY ................................ ................................ ................. 132 Introductory Remarks ................................ ................................ ............................ 132 Theorizing Motivation ................................ ................................ ............................ 133 ................. 134
12 Wineries and the assemblage ................................ ................................ .. 135 Producers and the assembl age ................................ ............................... 136 Workers and the assemblage ................................ ................................ .. 138 Certification and the assemblage ................................ ............................. 138 Fair Trade as a Regulatory Space ................................ ................................ .. 139 Deregulation and Agra rian Struggle ................................ ................................ ...... 143 Case Study One: Namaqualand Organic Winery ................................ .................. 145 Scandal at the Voortrekker Cellar ................................ ................................ ... 148 Pricing and p ayments ................................ ................................ .............. 150 The 1999 and 2004 c onstitutional d ispute ................................ ............... 155 Rebuttal from Voortrekker m anagement ................................ .................. 157 Empowering Workers ................................ ................................ ..................... 163 Case Study 2: The Blourivier Project ................................ ................................ .... 168 Kloof Uitsig ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 169 Creation of Terroir Wine ................................ ................................ ................. 170 Project Vision ................................ ................................ ................................ . 173 Producer Response to Certification ................................ ................................ 174 Workers Gain Power Within the Assemblage ................................ ................. 179 Case Study Three: Mooihoek ................................ ................................ ............... 182 Concluding Remarks ................................ ................................ ............................. 184 5 DECERTIFICATION ................................ ................................ ............................. 186 Fairtrade Certification and Audit ................................ ................................ ........... 186 Certification and Audit Literature ................................ ................................ .... 188 Third party certification and embeddedness ................................ ............ 188 Ethical auditing: flexibility or weakness? ................................ .................. 189 Decertifica tion as a G lobal A ssemblage ................................ ......................... 189 The FLO Cert Auditing Process ................................ ................................ ..... 191 The Certification Battle ................................ ................................ .......................... 193 Namaqualand on the Offensive ................................ ................................ ...... 198 The Gap Audit: An Opportu nity for Reinstatement ................................ ......... 200 Worker Involvement ................................ ................................ ....................... 203 .............. 204 Decertification ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 204 Obfuscating T raceability ................................ ................................ ................. 207 Reapplication ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 209 The Emergence of Fair for Life in South Africa ................................ ..................... 212 Exclusion and the Assemblage ................................ ................................ ............. 218 Concluding Remarks ................................ ................................ ............................. 22 0 6 POLICY REFORM ................................ ................................ ................................ 222 Introductory Remarks ................................ ................................ ............................ 222 Theorizing Policy Reform ................................ ................................ ...................... 223 Fair Trade as a F lexible B ure aucracy ................................ ............................. 224 Depoliticizing P olicy ................................ ................................ ........................ 226
13 Policy R eform and the G lobal A ssemblage ................................ .................... 228 The Black Economic Empowerment Addendum ................................ ................... 230 Questioning t he BEE Policy ................................ ................................ ............ 231 Stakeholder Power and the Assemblage ................................ ....................... 233 Debate, Negotiation, and Consultation ................................ ........................... 234 Workers Unite to Address the BEE Addendum ................................ .............. 237 Outcome ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 241 Paraquat ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 241 Debate, Negotiation, and Consultation ................................ ........................... 244 The R ole of W orkers ................................ ................................ ...................... 248 Outcome ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 249 Exporting Bulk Wine ................................ ................................ .............................. 249 Debate, Negotiation, and Consultation ................................ ........................... 250 Outcome ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 254 Concluding Remarks ................................ ................................ ............................. 254 Competition within Stakeholder Groups ................................ ......................... 255 Competition between Stakeholder Groups ................................ ..................... 256 7 CONCLUSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 258 Findings ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 259 Recent Developments ................................ ................................ ........................... 262 Reforming the H ired L abor S tandard ................................ .............................. 262 E volution ................................ ................................ ....................... 265 Fair Trade W ine in C omparison ................................ ................................ ...... 265 Farm W orker S trikes ................................ ................................ ...................... 266 Implications of R ecent D evelopments ................................ ................................ ... 267 APPENDIX: PERMANENT WORKER SURVEY ................................ ......................... 268 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................. 271 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ .......................... 280
14 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 2 1 Hierarchical structure of Fair Trade in South Africa ................................ ............ 95 2 2 Fair Trade South Africa Stakeholder Nexus ................................ ....................... 96 2 3 Social Network Overlap of Fair Trade in South Africa ................................ ........ 96
15 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy NEGOTIATING THE SPACES OF FAIR INDUSTRY By Alison M. Montgomery August 2014 Chair: Brenda Chalfin Co chair: Maria Stoilkova Major: Anthropology African wine industry. Fairtrade, a reformist approach to sustainable development that uses the market to provide market alternatives, took an experimental turn in South Af rica. For the first time, it merged its global model with a state led reform initiative: Black Economic Empowerment (BEE). The BEE addendum to Fairtrade certification in South Africa was intended to add depth by mandating diversity in management and provid ing farm workers with an ownership stake in the business. Though this policy initiative has not succeeded in contributing to post apartheid agrarian reform, it has set appr oach to policy. legacy of structured racism by privileging the voices of those who possess the cultural capital necessary to engage with an international bureaucracy. Thus, the South African
16 case exposes problematic power relationships throughout the Fairtrade network that subvert its mission of empowering workers and linking consum ers with producers. My mixed method approach included participant observation, semi structured interviews, and archival and document review. My research adds to discussions of Fairtrade by highlighting the plight of an understudied contingency: management and workers on farms that join Fairtrade scalar transformation. South Africa successfully pr essu red Fairtrade to allow the G lobal South greater control over construction of the socioeconomic models by which it is governed. Despite adopted progressive approach, I found that farm workers are oppressed in new ways due to Fairtrade cert ification, an d this oppression is, in turn, masked by Fairtrade certification.
17 C HAPTER 1 I NTRODUCTION Introduct ory Remarks This dissertation examines how Fairtrade operates in the South African wine industry and the outcomes of certification (and its pro cesses) for both local and global stakeholders. Illustrated in the vignettes above, this study reveals the deeply embedded, racialized hierarchy of power and privilege. It investigates how inequalities This dissertation explores the wider consequences of participation for the reproduction of state authority as seen through the convergence of state led reform initiatives with global certification in South Africa and with Fairtr ade as a global brand. South Africa in Historical Perspective Settling the Western Cape In 1652, when the Dutch East India Company founded a refreshment station at the Cape of Good Hope and white settlers began to arrive, hunter gatherers and pastoralists were still the sole occupants of what is now the Western Cape Province of South Africa (Thompson 2000). As these settlers grew in numbers and in wealth, three key processes contributed to the social stratification which would become the foundation of apar theid. Firstly, the Dutch East India Company released many of its land, which legally the company did not have the right to give (Elphick 1977). Secondly, the Company reco gnized the need for more labor and thus slaves were brought from Indonesia, Madagascar and India. These slaves, called the Cape Malays, were enlisted with the task of helping to build colonial infrastructure under Dutch supervision
18 (Erasmus 2001; Penn 2005 ). Despite the freeing of slaves in the Cape in 1838 due to a British act abolishing slavery in Britain and all British colonies, most of these former slaves stayed on the farms and were involved in the same type of labor as before. Thirdly, displacement o ccurred as the Dutch settlement expanded from Table Bay in order to gain more land for cultivation. This was done at the expense of the pastoralists who were forced to either leave their desirable land or to stay on as low ranking employees, or servants, o f the Dutch (Thompson 2000:33; Penn 2005). This settlement was confined to the Cape Peninsula until 1679 when the Company began making land grants to the ever growing number of settlers in what is now the Stellenbosch area. These settlers often used much more land than they were granted by the Company, though any kind of land ownership could be considered invasive and illegal using modern definitions. White farmers claimed to own the land that the Dutch East India Company had permitted them to use even th ough the idea of private land ownership was a foreign concept in African cosmologies (Thompson 2000). These settlers continued to expand northward and to treat the land as their own, buying, selling and inheriting it. As it became clear that the European settlers, most of whom were from the lower classes in their previous societies, were not leaving, violence ensued. Forts were built and eventually the Europeans emerged victorious as a result of their superior weapons and their exploitation of indigenous factions (Thompson 2000). Thus the land issue was becoming heavily linked with the question of political power. The Afrikaners were increasingly encroaching on land that had been inhabited by Khoikhoi peoples, the indigenous herders and hunters of the W estern Cape. Thompson
19 colonial society, set apart in both appearance and culture from both the Whites and the pson 2000:38). During this time, the Khoikhoi were considered indentured servants rather than slaves. Khoisan peoples, when met with the force of Dutch colonialists advancing into the South African interior during the 18 th decisive challenge: submit, The Western Cape Province is populated primarily by Afrikaners and Coloureds. Afrikaners are the descendants of the Dutch settlers and comprise one of two egory, the other component being English settlers who arrived in the 19 th century and with whom the Afrikaners have a tempestuous history. Coloureds are descendants of the Khoisan and other groups, which is discussed in greater depth later in this chapter. Apartheid century South African thinking about racial segregation and apartheid was strongly influenced by nineteenth century scientific ideas of race and human difference. Apartheid ideology drew on an often contradictory synthesis of race science, German ideas of cultural nationalism, and the quasi religious in full Orwellian pr opaganda claimed to give each racial group its own space (geographic, access to resources, political identity, etc), in accordance with its ability to manage that space. Resultantly, it claimed that whites possessed the strongest capabilities and therefore had the right to lay claim to the best space.
20 categories white, Indian, coloured, and black African different access to human rights and freedo cities and towns, education, health, etc. (Erasmus 2008:172). In order to ensure the economic privilege of whites and to make i deas about separateness a reality, the South African government enacted numerous laws that would further white interests and oppress the black majority. The Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act of 1949 and the Immorality Act of 1950 prohibited members of dif ferent racial groups from marrying one another or engaging in any kind of sexual relationship, all under the guise of maintaining Christian morality and propriety as seen through the e of of four distinct racial categories: white, black, Asian, and coloured (Adhikari 2005). The Group Areas Act and Separate Amenities Act worked together to remove the black presence from white South Africa. The goals of the Suppression of Communism Act of 1950, the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1953, the Unlawful Organizations Act of 1960 and the Prohibition of Political Interference Act of 1965 were to stifle all but the mildest possible opposition to white minority rule, and in effect, to the dominant National Party (Thompson 2000). Though these laws have been repealed for at least 20 years, some far longer, they have left South Africa with a legacy of structural ineq uality. This dissertation focuses upon the Afrikaner and coloured heritage groups, thus it
21 apartheid. Under the apartheid doctrine, coloureds did not maintain the same privil ege as whites (English and Afrikaner), but occupied a higher legal category than the black African population. While still oppressed under the apartheid regime, coloureds enjoyed a relative amount of privilege compared with blacks. They had better access t o education, more formal and modern housing in more desirable townships, and better major political ramifications in the transition to apartheid and post apartheid er as as noted in the sections below with coloureds giving their newly minted democratic vote to the political party of their oppressor. Transition to Democracy South Africa was unequally divided along racial lines from the time of Dutch settlement of the Cap e and this division was codified into law throughout South African history, though most formally when apartheid began in 1948. Though a definitive break with the past occurred when South Africa ended the apartheid regime and transitioned to democracy, raci al inequality continues to be a major problem in the post apartheid state. Klein (2007) shows how negotiations that ended apartheid also tied the hands of ANC leaders who may have wanted a more revolutionary and transformative direction for South Africa. By the time that F.W. de Klerk assumed the presidency in 1989, he had come to the realization that the system of racial domination could not be reformed, but rather must be dismantled in such a way as to protect the interests of the white minority, thus co Klein (2007) argues that the NP achieved this through negotiations with the ANC between 1990 and 1994. The NP realized that it was going to lose political power and
22 there fore focused its attention on maintaining economic power and solidifying property rights. The ANC was weary of the decolonization effort in Mozambique, where the smashing t As a result, Klein argues that they focused too much on winning political power autonomous central b ank, constitutionally supported economic laws, and unfettered capitalism that would further entrench racial inequality (Klein 2007). Archbishop Desmond Tutu noted the lack of real socioeconomic improvement that the end of apartheid brought to marginalized transition if the quality of life of these people is not enhanced or improved? If not, the Concerns over the lack of transformation, as noted previously in this chapte r, remain a problem in the post apartheid era. Neither BEE nor Fair Trade certification have affected real change, and, conversely, sometimes serve to further entrench inequality by giving non transformative practices an ethical stamp of approval. Still, F air Trade and BEE have opted not to become lost in hard line approaches to Marxist revolution, but rather attempt (with mixed success) to enact meaningful reform. The Post Apartheid State Race Ideas about ethnicity and race were so deeply entrenched during the apartheid and relate to others, despite the ending of the apartheid system. Racial constructs are especially rigid in the rural areas, where social networks, profess ional and economic
23 potential, access to services, visibility and voice are in large part determined by race. historical and political construct that is culturally contextual and situation specific. Race is made and rema de over time as a learned way of seeing ourselves and the world. Race is not a fixed or tangible thing in our blood or 1 This socio historical construct of race has defined modern South African history, before, during, and after apa rtheid. Empowerment are a form of reverse racism (Erasmus 2008:173). They believe that these consider the ways in which ideas of race have shaped formal and commonsense thinking, institutionalized practices, as well as material and subjective realities in the pre history has dealt them (Erasmus 2008:177). The Democratic Alliance (DA) party and othe rural Afrikaners I met, as they believed that they were being disenfranchised in the New South Africa. These research participants could be very convincing in their tales of woe and marginalization. When faced with these tales, it is important to remember the 1 sanctioned racial category in order to improve their positionality within South African society.
24 legacy of apartheid and the continued structural violence perpetrated against rural coloureds. Land Land reform is the transference of land from one actor or group of actors to another, often for political reasons and resulting from inequalities based upon historical disposs essions, land theft, and unequal access to resources. Moyo (2007) argues that ea of land reform is highly contentious due to its implications for private property rights, food security, political unrest and general agricultural viability. It is also an expensive undertaking, as previous land owners are often though not always compen sated for their land, and occasionally are supported in beginning their venture once on the land. Accepting that power and land ownership are often linked in the rural Western Cape, especially in the agricultural sector, it is therefore critical to underst and how land came to be acquired by white South Africans and under what conditions and against what objections they maintain this ownership and power. With the relatively peaceful and heavily negotiated fall of apartheid in 1994 (Cooper 2002) came the com promise that land rights would be protected concurrently with the pursuance of a market based land reform program that would promote national reconciliation (Hall 2004). South Africa opted for a land reform strategy that recognized the unique settlement pa tterns of different provinces throughout the state (Penn 2005; Elphick 1977; Legassick 1989). Negotiators agreed to plan land reform around the Natives Land Act of 1913, the racially based law which forcibly removed non whites
25 from their land, relegating t hem to just 13% of South African land, areas called Thus, different provinces have approached land transference in varying ways: restitution, redistribution and tenure reform. U nder the restitution system, parties who can prove that they or their kin were forcibly removed from agricultural land after 1913 make a claim on the land (Fay and James 2009). The government then verifies the assertions of these black claimants and offers the current white landholder a market price at which he must sell the land to the government, which in turn gives it back to the previously dispossessed claimant (Hall 2009). The Willing Seller Willing Buyer approach, the most common form of transference in the Western Cape Province, utilizes a market led approach (Wegerif 2004; Borras 2003; Hall 2009). Redistribution has been a slow process, as only 5% of agricultural land has been was later pushed back until 2014 (Ntsebeza and Hall 2007). Of the 5% that has been transferred, it is unclear how much of this land is currently under production. Land tenure reform provided secure rights to land state, communal and privately owned (Hall 2 009:6). Despite these reform initiatives, land beneficiaries typically struggle once on the land due to deregulation. The premise of South African land reform is found in the African National Congress (ANC) Freedom Charter of 1955 which argued that there w However, the ANC found this promise difficult to keep, especially due to the negotiations that took place between the ANC and the apartheid National Party (NP)
26 th 2007). Funding such a large scale project has also proven difficult, as the ANC inherited a great deal of debt from the apartheid state (Klein 2007:212). The South Af rican state has had difficulty with determining a coherent land reform strategy, financing the plan, and supporting beneficiaries. In fact, the state still seems unclear as to who exactly beneficiaries should be (i.e. does it want to promote smallholders, develop a black commercial farming class, support cooperatives, focus on communal land tenure, etc). Numerous scholars have noted that there has been a lack of will on the part of the ANC to deeply engage with the land question and that too much power has been left to the market, with no coherent plan in place (Ntsebeza and Hall 2007; Hall 2009; Cliffe 2009; Cousins 2009). Lahiff and Cousins (2001) argue that this lack of state prioritization of land reform has popular v (Lahiff and Cousins 2001:652). Race in the Western Cape Province The racial make up of the Western Cape Province looks quite different from the rest of the country. According to the Africans are the majority group, comprising 79.2% of the national population. Nationally, whites make up 8.9%, coloureds 8.9%, and Indians 2.8% of the population (Statistics South Africa 2011:25). In the Weste rn Cape, coloureds are the majority, comprising 48.8% of the population, followed by black Africans at 32.8%, whites at 15.7%, and Indians at 1% (Statistics South Africa 2011:21). The majority of the black African population in the Western Cape is located in Cape Town and the surrounding areas. The difference in racial composition is even more pronounced in the rural municipalities
27 where this research was conducted, where coloureds make up 74.7% of the population, whites 14.8%, black Africans 8.5%, and Indi ans 0.6% (Statistics South Africa 2011:21). This unique racial composition has created various realities and practices from political governance to social and kinship ties to language that sets the Western Cape apart from the rest of the country. Thus, th e relationship between coloureds and white Afrikaners, or in some senses of labor versus capital, is of key importance here. In the Western Cape platteland, most land owners are Afrikaner and most farm workers are Coloured, thus showing the distinctive and continuing racial and socioeconomic division in the rural sector. Coloured Identity What does it mean to be coloured? Some posit that coloureds are a mixed race group, originating in the Western Cape. Many of the producers with whom I worked called them view, coloureds are a mix of other South African races : black, white, indigenous, Malaysian, etc. Coloureds are thus defined by what they are not. They are not black. They are not white. In an attempt to subvert the disc in the aforementioned position, some contemporaries argue that being coloured means origins, coloureds combat some of the nega 2005:213). Tired of being defined by what they are not, many coloureds latch on to their Khoisan heritage as the defining feature of what it means to be coloured, historically speaking.
28 Clearly there is not a consensus on who is and is not coloured, just as there is not a single interpretation on what coloured identity entails, as discussed below. Sharp aries of [coloured] identity will always be provisional and being coloured meant to her. She responded simply yet profoundly that being coloured , almost being white and having all of the privilege that 2 Discussing coloured identity and issues pertaining to coloured people was uncommon, and even considered politically incorrect, until the mid 1990s (Jackson 2005; Adhikari 2009). Some scholars argued that researching coloured identity was that was codified into law by white supremacists, it is logical that anti apartheid activists and scholars how they should be defined and what identity to embrace. Adhi kari argues that despite the rejectionist line energetically as part of a pragmatic strategy of promoting non racial 2009:5). However, beginning in the mid 1990s, scholars and activists began to 2 Coloured hair, oloureds often try to distance themselves from this black Africanness because of the oppression and differences in identity that the African hair represents. fr
29 2005:210) instead of simply criticizing it as an apartheid era racial category created fo r the purpose of furthering black oppression and white privilege. The National Party and the ANC even courted the coloured vote, with the ANC embracing a pan African, liberation stance and the NP invoking a racist campaign that played upon minority fears. apartheid ANC politics by virtue of their not being black and due to the limited and relative privileges they received during apartheid (Jackson 2005:211). Some feared that they would be punished for the preferential, t hough still oppressive, treatment they received under apartheid. Currently, the coloured population in the Western Cape where over 70% of coloureds reside (Adhikari 2009) is split with its vote between the ANC and Democratic Alliance (DA). Some scholars a rgue that more educated and urban coloureds tend to vote ANC, while their less educated rural counterparts often vote DA (Jung 2000). However, my research amongst coloured farm and winery workers in the Western Cape does not show this divide. Rather, these less educated and rural research participants were only slightly more likely to vote DA over ANC. Some that did vote DA confided in me that they only did so due to threats by their employers of losing their jobs, homes, and livelihoods. In the 1994 electi on, coloureds voted heavily for the reformed apartheid era party, the NP, meaning that the ANC did not win the majority in that province and some of its power regionally and nationally was curbed. As a result of the increased importance that the coloured v ote played in Western Cape politics, studying and
30 been seen as somewhat racist (Adhikari 2009:6). Many activists were increasingly interested in learning about colour eds in order to encourage them to vote ANC. Portrait of a Western Cape Farmer Farmers in the two regions of the Western Cape Province where this research was conducted are almost exclusively Afrikaans. These producers as they preferred to be called are la nd owners and prominent people in their respective communities. Logically, some producers are better off than others, but all share a level of prestige. In total, I worked with approximately 40 producers, 20 in each of the two regions where this research w as conducted. Though painting the portrait with broad strokes, I think it useful for the dissertation to generalize these producers into two groups. The first producer profile is that of the wealthy Afrikaner producer. These landed elite typically own lar ge plots of land that has been handed down through generations of farmers. They live in large homes some of them remodeled early 20 th century Dutch Colonial manors with all of the modern conveniences and technology. Though the producers themselves drive ba kkies 3 , their wives often drive luxury cars. These producers are able to travel internationally on occasion. They are seen as elite members of their communities. Some of these producers possess university degrees in agriculture or business (obtained from the University of Stellenbosch, the premier Afrikaans language and agriculture school in South Africa) and some do not, though their children certainly do. Producers from this group who are now in their 20s and early 30s almost exclusively have a universit y degree. Before entering varsity, these children typically leave their 3
31 small farming communities in order to attend elite private boarding schools in Paarl and Cape Town. This is one way that the producers and their wives set themselves apart from the oth er white families in their communities. Not only do their children not attend the public schools with the coloured children, they also do not attend the local private school, whose majority is made up of white students. These producers are able to provide their children with the best education available in the Western Cape. The second producer profile descriptive of my research participants is that of a landed Afrikaner with a nice home, though typically not manor esque. These producers, like their wealthi er counterparts, drive bakkies , though their wives drive cars that are more modest. They typically vacation in Southern Africa. Some of these producers noted to me that they were in debt and this debt made their farming operations more difficult. It also m eant that they had to find the best possible price for their grapes. The educational profile of these producers is similar to that of their wealthier counterparts. Some of them have university degrees and some do not, though they all prioritize the educati on of their children. Producers in this group also place their children in private schools. However, they typically cannot afford to send them to expensive boarding schools in Paarl and Cape Town, thus opting to place them in local private schools instead. I found all of these producers to be welcoming and cordial. They are friendly people with a deep love of the land. Asserting their African ness, they say that they are committed to their country, no matter how hard the ANC makes life for them. They fee l victimized by the new government and marginalized in the competitive global wine market. Maintaining the laager mentality, they feel that they must protect their land,
32 cultural identity, language, and way of life from the outside world. This creates a to [white] outsiders, it is with rare exception that one is not at least occasionally reminded that they do not fully belong. Farm workers are typically of coloured desc ent socioeconomic constraints under which they are born. The South African Wine Industry The South African wine industry has been characterized by growth and reform since the end of apartheid. With the removal of international sanctions and pariah status, South Africa transitioned from domestically driven table wine production to higher quality export production (interview by author). South Africa is the eighth largest wine produci ng nation, following France, Italy, Spain, the United States, Chile, Argentina, and Australia (South African Wine Industry Statistics 2013). South African wines are typically in direct competition with their South American counterparts on the export market (interview by author). In 2012, 48% of all wine produced in South Africa was exported (SAWIS 2013). According to SAWIS, there are 8 wine producing regions in South Africa, 7 in the Western Cape (Olifants River, Malmesbury, Klein Karoo, Paarl, Robertson, Stellenbosch, Worcester, and Breedekloof ) and 1 in the Northern Cape (Orange River). The Stellenbosch region is the largest producer (SAWIS 2013). The Western Cape Based on 2012 statistics, the re are 3,440 primary grape producers and 582 wine cellars (SAWIS 2013). Over 100,000 hectares of wine grapes under cultivation in South Africa and approximately 1,500,000 tons of grapes were crushed in 2012 (SAWIS
33 2013). 65% of wine grape production in 201 2 consisted of white grapes and 35% red grapes. The most common whites are Chenin Blanc and Colombar, while the most common reds are Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz (SAWIS 2013). South Africa, however, is also known for excellent Sauvignon Blanc and Pinotage . Pinotage, a red (interview by author). economic Impact of the Wine Industry on the South African Economy found that the labor intensive wine industry is responsible for 8.8% of employment in the Western Cape. It contributes 2.2% to the national GDP (SAWIS 2009). Though the wine industry will likely remain labor intensive for some time to come , producers are moving towards increased mechanization in an effort to more efficiently produce and process wine grapes. Additionally, producers aim to limit the impact of workers, who are increasingly involved in strikes and other forms of on farm labor p rotest (interview by author). Farm Profiles As I will discuss in the methodology section later in this chapter, I have chosen not to reveal the specific farms where I conducted my research. There are only approximately 30 Fairtrade certified wine estates in South Africa. Therefore, it is important that I keep farm profile details to a minimum so that estates are not easily recognizable to readers. There are several general characteristics worth noting, however. The areas where I focused my research were wine growing regions. One region where I conducted research was defined by a semi arid landscape, with vineyards surrounding a major river and its arteries, the lifeblood of
34 the area. Wine estates from this region focused primarily on large scale bulk production, with cellars operating more like highly efficient factories than the romanticized winemaking boutiques featured in films. Oak barrels are rare and the front of house tasting crew likely have additional cellar respo nsibilities, as wine tourism is still in its infancy in the region. The other region where I conducted the majority of my research is also not a premier winegrowing area, though less marginal than the aforementioned region. This latter region is also defin ed by bulk production, though there is a greater emphasis on creating high quality wines to compliment the bulk. Wine tourism is well developed, though typically does not attract an international audience like its elite counterparts. In both regions, far ms and cellars are, with rare exception, owned and managed by Afrikaners. Workers are primarily coloured, though there are black migrant workers from the Eastern Cape, Zimbabwe, and Malawi. On farm housing is typically provided by management for farm worke rs, a relic of the apartheid era. This housing is often sub par, though some farms invest more in their labor housing than others. Cellar workers tend to live in townships and are transported to work by management in the back of lorries and pick up trucks. Farm work is backbreaking. During harvest, workers strain in high temperatures to cut grapes from the vines, bending and navigating as necessary. After plucking bunches of grapes, workers must then load them into buckets and transport the buckets to the truck. Elderly and pregnant women are not expected to carry their buckets, though they still must bend and stand all day. Young male workers help these women with their buckets. Cellar workers also work long hours, though their conditions are often
35 prefer able to those of workers laboring in fields. Cellars are kept cool as necessitated by wine production and workers have regular access to toilets. Introduction to Fair Trade It is within this climate of profound inequality divided upon racial lines and continued from the apartheid era that Fair Trade entered South Africa in 2004. South African advocates for post apartheid transformation called for reform within Fairtrade Inter national the premier global organization of the Fair Trade movement in order to better address the needs of their particular situation. Power in the rural parts of the st ructured racism. White Afrikaners typically occupy the space of farm/winery owners and managers and colour eds that of farm/winery workers. Local Fair Trade advocates Fairt standards, implementation and audit culture is now built upon a flexible bureaucracy that is characterized by instabilities, fissures, and mutatio ns . South African reform advocates pushed Fairtrade towards the flexible bureaucracy that it is today, success fully negotiated for their interests within the global paradigm. I illustrate throughout this dissertation the composition and motivations of South African stakeholders and how these groups navigate and influence larger Fair Trade bodies, noting outcomes f or all relevant stakeholders: farm workers, farm owners, wine industry leaders, and various Fair Trade, NGO, and governmental bodies. Fair Trade is an international economic initiative that aims to empower mar ginalized producers across the Global S outh th rough the promotion of equitable production, distribution and consumption practices. Based on a trade not aid approach to sustainable development, Fairtrade International was officially launched on a world -
36 wide scale in 1997. It is now a widespread templat e for agrarian reform, encompassing over 50 producer states in Africa, Asia and Latin America (DeCarlo 2007). Fair Trade as advancement opportunities, provide equal employm ent opportunities, engage in environmentally sustainable practices, build long term trade relationships, and provide Fa irtrade International , the premier globally re cognizable ethical trade organizat consumers, promote fairer trading conditions and empower producers to combat International 2013). International 2013). The fair trade movement originated in the post World War II era, when religious groups began to develop alternative trade organizations (ATOs) aimed at providing a type of charity to handicraft producers in developing countries. The movement picked up steam and transformed in the 1960s, as radical student groups saw fair trade as a w ay to oppose capitalist markets. Oxfam, which promoted and sold fair trade goods, popularized the idea in the late 1960s, bringing fair trade to the main stream. Throughout the 1970s, various ATOs popped up around the globe, inspired by disparate motivatio organizational home and switched its focus from handicrafts to agricultural goods.
37 The first Fairtrade label, Max Havelaar, launched in the Netherlands in 1988 and sold ethical ly produced and marketed coffee from Mexico in Dutch supermarkets (Fairtrade International 2014). Throughout the 1990s, Fairtrade grew in Europe and North America under the Max Havelaar and Transfair labels. In 1997, the various country labels and initiati ves decided to unite under the umbrella of the Fairtrade Labeling Organization (FLO) based out of Bonn, Germany (Fairtrade International 2014). Standards and governance were streamlined and the organization quickly grew. A primary brand mark, the Fairtrade label, launched in 2002 and facilitated movement and marketing of goods as well as improving the visibility of the mark (Fairtrade International 2014). The next major shift occurred in 2004, when FLO and FLO Cert split in order to promote the integrity o f independent, third party certification. The second critical shift of 2004 came when South Africa successfully negotiated for national policy to merge with independent Fairtrade certification to further empowerment, as based on national realities rather t han accepted global models (Kruger and du Toit 2007). This was the first time that the global model was reformed to reflect state driven policy, and proved a critical juncture in ushering in the era of Fairtrade as a flexible bureaucracy. Finally, in 2012, FLO changed its name to Fairtrade International to signify its position as the premier global Fair Trade body. a guiding document produced by key figures in the movement in 2007 and discussed frequently since sets th e them with beneficial and stable trading partners (Fairtrade Labeling Strategic Review
38 White Paper 2007). However, the reality of Fair T rade often looks much different. For e xample, Fair Trade in South Africa is dominated almost entirely by commercia l farms that achieve certification through the or labor standard, commercial farms gain certification through a three pronged approa ch to management of its workforce, in addition to general environmental and business requirements. The first underlying principle is that workers, and not management or owners, maintains full control of the Fairtrade premium money that goes back to the pro ducer estate when consumers purchase Fairtrade goods. The second principle is that workers have the right of freedom of association and collective bargaining. This sort. Th e third principle is that working conditions, from pay to health and safety, must meet or exceed national standards. Worker rights must be upheld (Fairtrade International 2014:1). Hired labor certification elicits impassioned debate between Fairtrade stak eholders. (Caldwell and Bacon 2010:64). Proponents of the inclusion of a hired labor certificat ion scheme argue that including them allows Fair Trade principles and outcomes to reach more beneficiaries (Chu 2010), it makes the Fair Trade label more visible thus improving consumer awareness of potentially empowering alternative trade models (Erickson 2010), and it forces large corporations to improve their business practices (Baker 2010; Chu 2010). Opponents to the inclusion of hired labor certification in the Fair Trade movement who consider themselves purists argue that commercial farms
39 distract fro m the primary mission of empowering marginalized producers (Raynolds and Murray 2010; Salman 2010). Scholars argue that some large corporations and image without undertaki conomy While Fairtrade purports to be a standardized model for ethical trade, in reality it is a form of flexible capitalism that works within an uneasy and contingent space (Harvey 2005). F airtrade presents itself as an alternative to the conventional market system that has left many people marginalized and disempowered (Stiglitz and Charlton 2005), occupying a regulatory space that institutes alternatives to capitalism, though still functio ning within the domain of neoliberal markets. Neoliberalism has created this space for different types of moral economies such as corporate social responsibility, microfinance, and various other alternative trade organizations. Still, at their core, Fairtr ade and other moral economies are reformist initiatives that focus on mending the market through the promotion of market driven social justice rather than by creating a new model (Loker 2007; Fridell 2003). Fairtrade, though not as radical as some movem ents that seek to undermine the Fairtrade have noted that this bifurcation of intentions working w ithin the free market to promote market alternatives has increasingly led to confusion concerning how Fairtrade should be implemented (Luetchford 2008; Kruger and du Toit 2007 ; Moberg and Lyon 2012 ing disparity
40 between the declared public aims the well being of all and its actual consequences Moberg and Lyon (2012) argue that there are three key perspectives on the role of Fair Trade in the new econ omy: Fair Trade as a form of alternative globalization, Fair Trade as decommodification, and Fair Trade as a provider of niche market access. I show that Fair Trade despite the more revolutionary intentions by many actors within the movement and the Fairtr ade International organization is a reformist initiative that primarily functions as a provider of niche market access. Accepting this third perspective but also going beyond the three categories outlined by Moberg and Lyon (2012), this dissertation also a rgues that Fair Trade improves the conditions of employment on hired labor estates even if only minimally and that it allows consumers greate r choice when shopping. However, in realty, the Fair Trade choice is more about creating consumer identity and prom oting a positive self image than empowering marginalized producers. Alternative G lobalization Many scholars view Fair Trade as an alternative to the free market that works within the market. Scholars taking this stance argue that the movement provides a of and business sustainability for certified produ cers (Moberg and Lyon 2010:7). Jaffee of the very markets that have generated those injustices (Jaffee 2007:1). Murray and laborers, and other impoverished sect ors of the G lobal South, are using market based strategies to mobilize consumer awareness in order to bolster incomes and empower
41 that Fair Trade does not try to reverse globalization or regulate markets, but rather prov ides an alternative way of going about globalization and accessing the free markets (Murray and Raynolds 2007:6). Consumers have the option of redirecting their purchases toward sustainable development. Scholars who view Fair Trade as a means of alternativ e globalization argue that the movement defies economic principles that enters the market and people are willing to pay more for products that are produced in ethical and environmentally friendly ways. One of the main objectives of this kind of alternative globalization is to return to 2010:7). With more stable trading relationships and better prices for goods, Fair Trade aims to deliver on its promise of empowering marginalized producers in the Global South. Many advocates of Fair Trade argue that its po Decommodification Decommodification serves to link producers and consumers and make producers less reliant on market forces as a result of this newly established and m ore perso nal relationship. D ecommodification advertising depicts smallholder producers working the land, smiling, and benefiting from the stability and various development projects th at Fair Trade funds allow them to implement in their communities (Moberg and Lyon 2010). This approach to Fair Trade allows consumers to feel good about their purchases rather than to think critically about what kind of socioeconomic environment
42 t he free market creates for groups who are less able to compete. Decommodification m arketing masks the reality that the majority of Fair Trade participants are not smallholder farmers, but rather are hired laborers for plantation and commerc ial farms. The view of Fair Trade as linking producers and consumers through the marketplace relie s on a consum er belief in their own agency. T he y optimistically believe that they can contribute to sustainable transformation through their purchasing choices. neoliberal ideal tha t the state is not the best regulator of capital, but rather these transactions can best be accomplished through the free market by linking producers and empowerment within that Fairtrade is a non state actor that is trying to manipulate the market in way that benefits producers that have been previously disadvantaged (Besky 2008:5). Fairtrade strives to give consume rs the freedom to pay premium prices that ideally will empower producers. Niche Market A ccess Moberg and Lyon ( 2010) argue that a more accurate position is that Fair Trade provides certified producer s commodity markets (Moberg and Lyon 2010:8). Du Toit ( 2000 ) posit s that many farmers engage with Fair T rade in order t o more easily market their products abroad rather than due to a desire for transformation within their specific agricultural sect or. Still , he believes that many established white farmers are , in fact , interested in promoting posit ive change in their communities, if only secondarily. attracts some of them to the Fairtrade concept is the possibility of social investm ent in
43 the workforce through the development funds made possible by 2000:2). I illustrate how producers are primarily motivated to engage with Fair Trade in order to access niche mark ets. Framing T heories This study rests upon frameworks of flexibility, allowing for hybridity, heterogeneity, contradict ion, and mutation. I situate the dissertation within the current strand of anthropology that questions the wisdom of holding too tightly to a single overarching theoretical templat e. Rather, I argue, one must have a framework and orientation in mind, but let the data speak as it will. I believe that Knauft (2006) puts it best. He states that the contention in present an between the diminishing notion that paradigms do and should exist in cultural anthropology and the s work is necessary and theory provides useful ways of analyzing data and linking it with wider questions. This study benefits from the use of several frameworks and theorie notions concerning flexible bureaucracy, Global A ssemblages argue that the assemblage implies heterogeneous and Ong 2007:12). This study is grounded in a global assemblage framework, in which
44 false dichotomies are r ejected (i.e. the dualism of local/global) and the perspectives and relative agency of all actor groups explored. This study c onsiders how each group of stakeholder s has agency to shape the Fair Trade nexus and the ability to contribute to the shifting for ms of Fair Trade globally, Fair Trade in South Africa, and South African agrarian reform, particularly in regard to worker empowerment. The flexible nature of the Fair Trade system provides the space in which this assemblage works. The global assemblage framework, though it has not been fully explored in the context of Fair Trade commodities, is particularly well suited to work on emerging social forms, like Fair Trade. I argue that commodity studies and Fair Trade studies have been too focused on linear approaches of commodity chain analysis. T hey often portray the sites of production as at the mercy of the larger movement. Though t here are varying d egrees of power amongst actors, I illustrate that power is often decentralized within the movement, even if a stakeholder must obfuscate certification standards in order to (Scheper Hughes 2005:175). Power resides not just within the central Fair Trade governing body, but r ather is decentralized, with the sites of production being sites of actual power, as the producer networks grow. One important caveat is that consumers are relatively power less within the assemblage. This study refutes the claim that Fair Trade centers on the consumer and trajectory, or implementation. Most consumers are not aware of the realities of Fair
45 farmers and farm laborers that it touts as its beneficiaries. Theorizing research findings embrace the heterogeneo us , conflicting, and nuanced nature of my research findin gs. T he global assemblage framework accepts hybrids and dualisms (Latour 2011) , rejecting false dichotomies and totalizing figurations of concepts and events. Fair Trade is neither goo d nor bad. It h as its victories, specifically the improvement of the quality of life of workers and their families, market access for struggling producers, and a greater awareness for consumers concerning the disenfranchisement of people at the sites of production. Fair specifically the re entrenching of existing problematic power relationships under an e thical guise and a reformist rather than revolutionary approach to a disempower ing global market . Scheper n of the organ trade argues that the remember when asking basic questions o is conducive to success and empowerment. In other words, the more empowered a stakeholder is as they enter the Fair Trade syst em, the more likely they are to see a benefi t from partaking in its certification . Collier and Ong (2005) argue that global assemblages are not freed from their context, a reason why the framework is so attractive and well suited to the study of agricultu ral commodities in post colonial societies, especially post apartheid South
46 Africa (Collier and Ong 2005). At the same time that the framework focuses on localism, it also prioritizes linking this with global realities. It does so by rejecting the local/gl obal dualism. Rather, it brings them together, showing how various hybrids breed new kinds of constellations of power and practice. standards making, certification, and audi delimited by specific technical infrastructures, administrative apparatuses, or value allows for this study to gain releva nce beyond that of simply understanding a singular case study centered upon specific contexts. Fair Trade certification and is relevant to wider questions of moral bureaucracies, ethics, market alternatives, and the ability of external measures to attempt to change the ways in which capital triumphs over labor. The discussion of global forms is also salient to the question of the Fair Trade heterogeneous contexts and objects in terms that are 2005:11). The Fair Trade audit is a global form in that it attempts to exert control over the sites of production, despite differences at each site. Specific global assemblages come to be defined as muc h by their exclusions as by their global forms, and their exclusions become a part of their global form (Collier estates from questions of certification, decertification, an d policy reform reveals Fair Trade as a reformist rather than revolutionary initiative. As noted above, stakeholders who enter the system with a degree of power are better able to negotiate for their own
47 interests and navigate the spaces and flexibility of Fair Trade. Those who enter the system with relatively little power especially farm workers find that certification does little to change their positioning. A weakness of the global assemblages theory is that it does not provide a strong framework for ana lysis of research findings, rather just the space in which to theoretically and methodologically explore heterogeneous elements and contingent relationships. However, the very nature of the assemblage allows for the utilization of multiple levels of inquir y that provide clarity about the subject matter and its particular implications at hand. By employing other relevant theories, this study intends to build up on the global assemblage theory and contribute to scholarship that might develop more overarching claims though not universal or totalizing that would strengthen the structural approach of global assemblages is at the same time one of its strengths and weaknesses. Thus, this study has benefited particularly fr om complimenting the global assemblage frameworks with other theories . Flexible B ureaucracy The notion of a flexible bureaucracy is central to this study. Pires (2009) defines flexible bureaucracy as: a) the combination of hierarchy and experimentation t hrough the recognition that discretion is as much a defining feature of bureaucracy as rules and formal procedures; b) the acceptance that heterogeneity in membership, fragmentation in structures, and inconsistency in behavior as opposed to corporate coh erence, cohesiveness, and uniformity are more frequently than not the outstanding features of real bureaucracies; and c) the exploitation of such conditions as an endowment of multiple sources of action (coexistence of different views, techniques, practi ces, beliefs, and behaviors within the same organization), which create opportunities for continuous learning and improvement of practice, as well as for holding bureaucrats accountable through means that are not harmful to their capacity to implement succ essfully public policy goals and address continuing social problems (Pires 2009:23).
48 I define flexible bureaucracy as an organization or entity that maintains a hierarchical structure but is attuned to the interests of various stakeholders, allowing them t o lobby the structure. Weber (1922) argues that bureaucracy is an organizational system based on hierarchy, adherence to set rules and protocols, and power made real through discipline. Bureaucracy can often be rigid, in an effort to be consistent. While Weber saw bureaucracy as a way to advance society, he also recognized its ability to limited individual freedom. As rules become normalized, it becomes more difficult to change them. I argue that Fair Trade operates as a flexible bureaucracy. At the same time that Fair Trade maintains the characteristics of a bureaucracy, a space of flexibility has create certification addendums and exclusions that are appropriate to nati onal contexts, and mutate standards. as it allows for stakeholder input concerning these morals. This flexibility is especially important for producers and workers, as they are ones who must adhere to the note that just because an organization is flexible does not mean that it is consultative or democratic. I argue in later chapt
49 flexible approach to standards was taken in an effort to grow the movement, accommodate various historical specificities, and reject institutional imperialism. Fair Trade reveals itself as a flexi ble bureaucracy in that it changes its structure and rules as circumstances and outcomes of various power struggles dictate. As with ethics, and power differentials that are produced by its flexibility. This study fleshes out the realities of flexibility, notably its inconsistent implementation. Farm owners regularly complained to me c oncernin g their interactions with Fairt rade International Unintended C onsequences can end up coming together into powerful constellations of control that were never power and control as a result of development projects, even though this sinister reality was in opposition to the intentions of many of these development practitioners. However, Ferguson argues that when standardized development packages are imposed on a country without concern for its specific cultural and historical realities, the results are often unintend ed. His central argument is : development projects in Lesotho have consistently failed to achieve their stated object ive the country that bears little relation to prevailing realities. They do, however, succeed in expanding th e field of bureaucratic state power in
50 This central thesis is relevant to t Despite the best intentions of the organizing committee from South Africa, Fair Trade has done little to transform the key labor problems of wine industry. Rather it has imposed new technologie s of power , where already empowered stakeholders cement and expand their power. They did not alities. My study shows that even when practitioners begin a pr oject by accounting for local specificity , it is still difficult to break away from global governing models that underemphasize the impor tance of such specificity. South African Fair Trade proponents in the early 2000s petitioned and conferenced with FLO Bonn to intertwine certification and standards in de epen the transformative power of Fair Trade in the country. Despite being successful in their bid to incorpora te BEE into South African Fairt rade certification, little sustainable transformation has occurred . Rather, already [relatively] empowered commerc ial farmers, whether consciously or not, have found ways to circumvent the empowerment objectives of the movement. They gain niche market access in the competitive global wine industry while implementing minimal reforms in terms of labor practices, living standards, and socioeconomic empowerment for the primarily coloured farm workers. This study shows that global models whether this case often have little positive transfo rmative power at the sites of production.
51 Conversely, they may actually serve to re entrench existing racist or classist power dichotomies and give them an ethical stamp of approval. ged portraying Lesotho to be a national economy based upon agriculture rather because it was not in a position to deal with the actual problem of the exploitation of labor and terms of migration in the South A frican mining industry, Fair Trade has reframed the realities of apartheid and its legacy of structured racism in order to allow for the certification of commercial agriculture, thus applicable in the South African context (Ferguson 1994:177). For Lesotho, rearranging reality had ignored (Ferguson 1994:178). Ferguson addresses the significant unintended consequences of this development intervention. Specifically, it gave the government a stronger foothold in a region where it had been historically less involved. Th e Canadian development initiative in bureaucratic power and decrease in the ability of people to lobby through political channels has proven disempowering for individuals, especially those who are least able to engage with the state apparatus and global governing schemes.
52 The rearranging of realities has led to a number of side effects for South African Fair Trade wine. As noted above, though the FTSA founders we nt to great pains to make Fairt rade certification accountable to national realities by intertwining certification s Black Economic Empowerment initiative, their effort proved futile. With democracy still in its infancy, Fair Trade South Africa opted to include white owned commercial farms in its certification model (the hired labor certification scheme), thus tasking the same individuals who were oppressors of black and coloured workers just years before with implementing transformative socioeconomic empowerment for these workers. The producers who contributed to creating an agrarian landscape where movements like Fair Trade are necessary are the same producers who are now the its audit culture is strong enough to overcome self interest and the obstacle of leaving the implementat ion o f empowerment to previous oppressors. de programmes do besides fail to help poor pe , I do not ask whether or not Fair Trade is fair. Rather, I dissect the ways in which Fair Trade policy and practice are created, implemented, manipulated , subverte d, and re imagined. I also pay Anthropology moved in the past decade from a focus on grand theoretical Knauft believes that it is not surprising that focusing on grand theoretical debates has gone out of fashion. He
53 long run. Instead, their polarizations Scholars have moved away from sweeping claims for two main reasons. The first is a belief that it is important for anthropologists to address not just details or overarching implications, but also to addr ess the middle range components of each story (Knauft 2006; Merton 1968). This approach to theory construction is useful in that it links individual phenomena with its wider theoretical implications. Scholars are less interested in grand theoretical debate s and more interested in weaving together multiple paradigms so much as it augurs to be post The second main reason is that anthropologist s are increasingly honest about and open to the contradictions of empirical data, and, in fact, some frameworks are even built around embracing t his hybridity and heterogeneity (Latour 2009; Collier and Ong 2005). The use of middle range theory allows for explorations of apparent contradictions. Rather than ignoring or explaining away problematic data, middle range theory allows the flexibility to add ress this data. I make use of middle range theory, tying the empirical data with wider frameworks. I aim to link overarching claims about Fair Trade and post apartheid agrarian transition with the specificities from fieldwork encounters. Despite the ethical aspirations of Fair Trade, farm workers continue to be systematically disenfranchised of their power, rig hts, and socioeconomic potential on oppression in the wine industry even with Fair Trade certification this study is able to
54 contribute to wider arguments about the state of ethi cal commodity certifications and realities of the post apartheid rural landscape. I argue that labor is exploited and overlooked in a range of direct and indirect ways within the Fair Trade wine industry and that this exploitation and neglect is not isola ted, but rather merely an example of established patterns of oppression. I briefly summarize these configurations of disempowerment here, though the arguments are mission , capital still triumphs over labor. This section will analyze the various direct and indirect, new and old ways that this occurs. There are certain conditions in Fair Trade that enable capital to triumph over labor in established ways. While Fair Trade pu rports to be transformative, its positioning within the market providing an alternative purchasing choice rather than trying to revolutionize the market and global agrarian forms allows the historical and ongoing realities at the sites of production to sup ersede its empowerment potential. For example, workers remain oppressed in that they are occasionally still subject to verbal and physical abuse from managers and farm owners. 4 Perceptions of workers often remain unchanged in the rural Western Cape. Thus, workers have few genuine opportunities for leadership in farming, cellar, and business practices, despite Fair Trade and the Black Economic Empowerment initiative. They are, however, afforded numerous leadership roles in name alone. Paternalism was the no rm before the entrance of Fair Trade, but is unintentionally normalized within Fair Trade as well. Producers argue that workers 4 I found that this was less true on Fairtrade f arms than on their uncertified counterparts. Though abuse still occurs on Fairtrade farms, it is rare.
55 cannot understand the complexities of international markets and certification bodies, nor the standards and bureaucracy that mus t be navigated to ensure success. Hence, worker input is avoided other than to rubber stamp decisions that management has already made. Before Fair Trade certification, producers treated workers as little more than bodies, used for labor and financial gain . Now, under the supposedly protective umbrella of Fair Trade, workers are again used for labor and financial gain, but now are also used to grow an ethical movement. Fair Trade allows capital to triumph over labor in new ways as well. Under the apartheid regime, farm workers were systematically and purposefully excluded from decision making processes because of their racial categorization. Though this exclusion is no longer codified into law, and, in fact, South Af rica actively (though not consistently or aggressively) attempts to correct this exclusion through tenets of the Black Economic Empowerment initiative, Fair Trade allows for worker exclusion to occur despite specifically advocating for inclusion. I thus argue that this is a new form of exclusion, Farm owners, corporations, and markets continue to triumph over workers. What is new is that Fair Trade certifies and markets products as though this oppression does not occur, thus removing the platform from which workers can call for their rights. Because workers labor for Fair Trade certified farms, many consumers and advocates assume that empowerment has been achieved. That is has not, and that capital is still removing labo r from decision making processes that could serve to right this wrong, is evidence that development goals are not being met . Worker voices are ignored, circumvented, and undermined wit hin Fair Trade . They are not consulted and are often
56 outright neglected during Fair Trade policy reform negotiations. Auditors can choose businesses of which they are pa rtial owners. Study O bjectives Rather than pitting local against global, which often proves to be a false dichotomy, this study builds from the global assemblage framework which places all relevant actors on the same plane and considers the convergence, co llision and assimilation of different forces (Collier and Ong 2007). It traces the flow of Fair Trade policy across space and socioeconomic position. Such a combination of domestic and international vantage points makes it possible to consider whether and how the empowerment of national Fair Trade bodies in the global realm fosters empowerment or disempowerment among an agrarian underclass on the home front. My primary research question is how Fair Trade certification in South Africa affects farm owner and worker livelihoods , impacts agrarian policy, and reshapes the global Fair Trade consortium. Methodology Through use of a mixed methodological approach, I engage with a variety of stakeholders to better understand how each group negotiates their position w ithin the work of Chalfin (2004), Nordstrom (2007), Walley (2004), Sawyer (2004), Dunn (2005), and Gupta and Ferguson (2002). These scholars trace networks and ideas, br ing together local socioeconomic conditions with global paradigms, and engage with actors ranging from marginalized peoples to policymakers.
57 T he following methods shape my data collection: 1) participant observation; 2) semi structured and structured inte rviews; and 3) archival research of business plans, certification documents, and records of negotiations between parties. This mixed methodological approach allows for an in depth examination of my research objectives. These methodologies were used over th e span of 18 months independently and with the help of local research assistants. Participant O bservation Participant observation comprises the main method of data collection. I lived in the communities where I worked, thus gaining invaluable insight into the various ritual and practice of each community. I was a regular fixture in the wine cellars and on the vineyards, speaking with workers and managers, attending meetings and trainings, etc. I accompanied Fair Trade liaisons to worker trainings, auditors on their inspectio ns, managers to disciplinary hearings, viticulturists as they examined vines, and workers as they grocery shopped. I spent many a night around a braai , dancing the langarm to my favorite Afrikaans pop hits, and listening as winemakers go ssiped and philosophized about wine, the New South Africa, etc. I spent one week during harvest working alongside laborers as they picked grapes. 5 I thought it important to spend this time participating in the labor of harvest so as not to make the common mistake of romanticizing the wine industry. I was able to surmise a great deal about farm labor, 5 On one particular day, temperatures reached over 35 degrees celsius (over 95 degrees fahrenheit) while we picked pinotage grapes, a difficult grape to pick, as one has to manuever around the vine in order to reach the grape. It was during this backbreaking work that I was able to get a real sense of what working conditions were like for farm worker research participants. There were no mobile toilets (a v iolation of Fair Trade standards), which only seemed to concern white management when I was present. When I asked the manager why a toilet was not always present, he matter of [the coloured workers] culture to go in the fiel ds. And anyway, if I provided the mobile toilets then no one
58 how workers networked during breaks, and worker manager relations. This methodology also provided me with the necessary relationships to delve deeper into semi structured interviews and widen my network. I also conducted participant observation while in Cape Town. I attended all of the quarterly FTSA Board of Directors meetings and three consecutive annual general meetings. I was present at numerous Fair Trade w orkshops and attended wine events. An important opportunity for particpant observation occurred at the 2010 Fair Trade Africa (FTA) meetings in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. These meetings proved important not only for the formal discussions of FTA policy, but also because it allowed access over a four day period to the top Fair Trade policymakers and strategists in Africa and beyond. I gleaned a great deal about the nature of various relationships and competing ideologies as a result of this trip. Interviews While qualitative methods were prioritized, qauntitative methods were also used, specifically with a subset of my structured interviews. I interviewed a systematic stratified sample of approximately 200 farm workers using proportionate sampling. I utilized disproportionate sampling for my interviews with approximately 75 farm owners, managers, government officials, consultants, Fair Trade employees, and other relevant personnel in order to not under represent this powerful contingency (Bernard 2006). I aske d research participants to give oral histories of their lives and their communities and discussed policy and practice with all stakeholders. For the quantitative portion of my research, I asked approximately 25 workers at each of my three primary farms to participate in structured interviews, with each worker being asked the same questions. Interviews were conducted in both English and
59 Afrikaan an additional structured interview set on the estate that changed ethical certifications, whereby I asked research participants to describe their experience with the transition. I asked numerous questions about knowledge, empowerment, and choice. All structured interviews were conducted in Afrikaans with the help of bilingual research assistants. Archival Research and Document Review The document review portion of this study consi sted of analyzing email exchanges between various Fair Trade personnel and farm owners, managers, and workers. These exchanges typically discussed certification and policy questions, but occasionally detailed scandal and dispute. I also sorted through doze ns of unpublished policy papers and minutes from various meetings, which helped to complete the picture that was already well formed by participant observation and interviews. Fieldsites I conducted research throughout the Western Cape Province of South Af rica, especially in Cape Town and in rural, wine growing regions. Prior to selecting the Western Cape as my fieldsite, I conducted premilinary research in the Eastern Cape and Northern Cape. Data collection derives from three communities: Cape Town and two rural Western Cape communities that are remote Afrikaner strongholds. The Capetonians describe them as divorced from liberal progressive ideologies concerning race and nation building. 6 most Afr estates, and communities. 6 Many Capetonians had not heard of these communities.
60 I spent 18 months, in total, conducting this research. I based my work out of Cape Town the site of NGOs, Fair Trade headquarters, university think tanks, and numerous other official bodies for six of these months. I lived in the two rural communities for six months each. Despite my base in any particular location, I was still highly mobile throughout my fieldwork, traveling to important meetings and logging tho usands of kilometers in my little blue Volkswagen. I came to know the backroads of these communties were, even when separated by hundreds of kilometers. People and social networks were quite fluid, and within a few months I was starting to have mutual acquaintances with many people that I met, even when meeting them in different contexts. Commodity S election Fair Trade wine producers are the focus of my study for a number of reasons. The most common Fair Trade certified commodities in South Africa are fruit, tea, wine, table grapes and raisins, and handicrafts. Rather than investigate all Fair Trade commoditie s, I focus on one in order to thoroughly trace my research questions selected wine because the majority of Fair Trade certified farms during 2010 2011 were vineyards and m ore importantly because the most interesting policy questions were taking place in the wine industry. The selection of wine was fortunate due to heated debate over formative policy, decertification, and scandal. I learned a great deal about viticulture, w inemaking, and wine tasting. This depth of understanding of the winemaking process contributed to the analysis of my research findings. For example, because I understood the process and what it takes to make
61 quality wine at affordable prices, I detected wh y producers would want to buy certain ethics. One estate moved wine from tank to tank not for the purposes of fermentation and/or storage but rather for bank valuation fra ud. Research Assistance Three research assistants helped conduct interviews and collect data. I hired these assistants on a contractual basis, typically one week at a time, to help with structured interviews with farm workers in Afrikaans. Though I reach ed an advanced level with Afrikaans, their assistance ensured that I did not miss important nuances. The two male assistants and one female assistant are all of coloured heritage and are in their 20s. I conducted the majority of research independently, tho ugh these assistants proved invaluable when we worked together. They not only conducted interviews in Afrikaans, but they also typed field notes in English. We spent hours in enlightening discussion after the completion of work days. Additionally, the fema le research assistant facilitated several farm worker focus group sessions. Invariably, the sessions she led proved far more informational and impassioned than my sessions. Research L imitations As is the norm in South Africa, especially rural South Afric a, my social networ k was greatly limited by my own ethic heritage . It is important to disclose that the majority every attempt to socialize with coloured friends, though t hese opportunities were less common. I will not forget one night after the May 2011 municipal elections, a coloured friend invited me to his home to braai . I happily attended and we ate a steady course of chicken, lamb, and beef and drank sparkling wine. W hen I inquired why we were
62 departing from the usual braai drink of brandy, beer, red wine, or white wine poured atop a mountain of ice, the host earnestly stated that I was the first white person to come into his home in the township and eat with his famil y. He wanted to make an occasion of it. Chapter O utline s and A rguments Chapter 2: Fair Trade in South Africa This chapter traces the developm ent of Fair Trade in South Africa, specifically Fair Trade South Africa (FTSA) and Fairtrade Label South Africa (F LSA) . After discussing South Africa n agrarian history , the chapter details how the post apartheid state became a trailblazer within the Fair Trade movement by negotiating for flexibility and creating the space for the increased prominence of the Global Sou th in policy discussions. It concludes by addressing the current crisis that Fair Trade both globally and in South Africa finds itself faced with: whether or not to grow the movement and continue certifying corporate clients or to focus instead on improvin g producer and worker support and maintaining the original vision of the movement. Chapter 3 : Black Economic Empowerment and Certification Models For almost a decade, Fairtrade International certification in South Africa converged with the post apartheid program. This chapter details how this experiment attempted to change the Fair Trade movement, contribute to South African agrarian reform, and positively affect farm worker empowerment. Fairtrade certification in South Africa required additional compliance criteria, as the global standards in their current form were seen as too shallow to affect real transformation in the South African context. Producers in South Africa had the added
63 requirement of providing their workers with at least a 26% share in either the farm land, the processing structure (i.e. for wine this was the winery/cellar, for citrus the packhouse, etc.), or the brand/label. This chapter presents a case study for each of the three ownership models an d finds that, though some models are more stable than others, none of the models have contributed to noticeable economic gain for workers or meaningful worker empowerment. The chapter also notes that workers did not have a say in which model was selected f or their farm, thus they were not empowered in the decision making programs of the company from the start. Chapter 4 : Motivation to Certify This chapter addresses why South African wine producers seek Fair Trade certification. Through detailing three uniq ue case studies, this chapter argues that producers enter Fair Trade as a way to gain niche market access, improve business sustainability, and increase profits. Only secondarily are producers on these South African hired labor wine estates interested in d eveloping their workforce and providing better living and working conditions for them. Workers had no say in whether or not to seek certification and have little say in how it is implemented. Chapter 5: Decertification This chapter details the messy disp ute between one winery and Fairtrade International that lasted for over one year. This chapter aims to highlight the gray areas present within Fairtrade certification and auditing, showing that Fairtrade is indeed a flexible space in which powerful actors can negotiate for their own interests. However, this chapter also shows how workers were systematically left out of the decertification process by both Fairtrade and the producers. This evidence supports my claim that Fairtrade has strayed from its core ob jective of empowering workers. The chapter ends
64 Fair Trade certification body, and the potential that this increased competition has to further change Fairtrade Interna tional and the Fair Trade movement as a whole. Chapter 6: Policy Reform This chapter traces the four prominent policy questions within Fairtrade in South Africa from 2010 2011. First, the chapter addresses the Black Economic Empowerment addendum to Fairt rade certification and the question of whether or not it should be maintained as part of the South African standards. Proponents of maintaining the addendum argued that it helps advance post apartheid agrarian reform by converging local and global, public and private models. Opponents argue that it is an additional trade barrier for South African producers that makes them less competitive globally and hinders growth of Fair Trade in South Africa. Secondly, the chapter addresses the question of pesticide us age on vines, specifically the chemical Paraquat. Fairtrade and numerous other entities banned the use of this chemical in order to promote environmental sustainability and protect workers from chemical hazards. However, many grape farmers in South Africa felt that they were unable to maintain healthy fields and vines and thus keep their businesses afloat without the use of Paraquat. Thirdly, the chapter explores the idea of banning Fairtrade bulk wine from South Africa. Proponents of the ban argue that it would keep value added in South Africa and would create jobs. They believe that Fairtrade wine is a niche product and that Fairtrad e and its producers have not taken advantage of an opportunity to genuinely further development in the Global South, instead preferring to sell to the least common denominator and make Fairtrade wine as inexpensive as possible. Opponents of the
65 ban argued that it creates another trade barrier for South African producers and that it disproportionately advantages stakeholders who own bottling facilities while marginalizing South African producers who do not have bottling capacities. Fourthly, the chapter addr esses the rebranding of Fairtrade from the Fairtrade Labeling Organization (FLO) to Fairtrade International. It argues that this process was done without consultation of almost any Fairtrade stakeholders, thus setting an example of paternalistic power play s at the highest ranks of the organization. Throughout all of these policy questions, the chapter pays particular attention to worker involvement at the policy level and the consequences of each policy decision for the workers.
66 CHAPTER 2 FAIR TRADE IN SOUTH AFRICA South African Fair Trade advocates pushed for greater flexibility within Fairtrade International in effort to politicize Fair Trade. These consultants, academics, development practitioners, and farmers aimed to make global trade not a id development responsive to national realities rather than reliant on a singular global development consultant, asserted one night as we dined on springbok 1 and bobotie 2 in a remote area of the winelands. Fair Trade advocates in South Africa believed their post apartheid reality, Heloise noted while recounting the foundations of the move ment in South Africa. As they pressured the global organization, South African Fair Trade stakeholders laid claim to the construction of the socio economic models by which they would be governed. Two developments in particular pushed the boundaries of nati onal Fairtrade International towards its current position as a flexible bureaucracy. The first push from South Africa towards global Fair Trade flexibility came in 2004, wh en South African stakeholders argued that certification would better achieve development goals if there was a South Africa specific addendum to the global standards (Kruger and du Toit 2007). Heloise and other consultants, academics, and stakeholders lobbi ed and negotiated for Fair Trade standards to converge with the 1 Springbok is a type of antelope indigenous to Southern Africa. Springbok comes from the Afrikaans for 2 Bobotie is a Cape Malay casserole style dish made of minced meat, egg, and curry spice.
67 development strategy. Of historical significance in the annals of ethical trade, this was the first time tha t Fairtrade International revised its standards at the behest of a producer nation. South Africa again challenged the status quo when, in 2009, Fairtrade Label affiliate. FLSA allowed South Africa to become the first producer nation to market its goods domestically and to coordinate licensing and fee collection. In 2012, FLSA became a full voting member of the Fairtrade International General Assembly, again furthering the p ower of the Global South within the Fair Trade assemblage. pressuring the latter to become the flexible bureaucracy that it is today. A flexible bureaucracy i s an organizatio n or entity that maintains a hierarchical structure but is attuned to the interests of various stakeholders, allowing them to lobby the structure Fair Trade South Afric a (FTSA) and Fairtrade Label South Africa (FLSA) have pioneered wide ranging reform within Fairtrade. FTSA insisted that Fairtrade International affirm its commitment to social justice and development by merging its standards with national policy initiativ es while FLSA demanded the inclusion of the Global South in organizational governance. This chapter addresses the development of Fair Trade in South Africa and how national priorities informed global models. I show that FTSA and FLSA were critical in push ing Fairtrade towards greater inclusivity of the Global South, successfully negotiating for South African national interests and those of other producer nations
68 within the global assemblage. These considerations advance the literature on ethical trade by d ocumenting and analyzing a critical shift in the field. South African stakeholders successfully pressured the global Fairtrade body to embrace, for the first time, the Global South as a site of policy innovation and full membership in global decision makin g bodies. Founding Fair Trade South Africa Fair Trade in South Africa developed as a response to Nort hern domination of the movement. Fair Trade advocates in South Africa found the peripheralizaton of Southern perspective s unacceptable and decided to org anize in order to promote national interests (Kruger and du Toit 2007:208). Though FTSA has morphed significantly throughout its history , one key theme holds true: it pushed Fairtrade International as an organization and Fair Trade as a movement to wards gr eater inclusion of the G lobal South in policy questions, representation, and organizational ownership. South Africa was instrumental in forcing Fairtrade to be flexible, a role that it now embraces as part of its corporate culture. Stakeholders in the Fai The South African context Internationally recognized terms of Fairtrade certification for agricultural exports and enterprise were first established in 1997. Only in 2002 did they surface in South Africa when the Fairtrade Labe ling Organization (FLO) began to certify wine, citrus and tea producers (Charman 2007). South Africa challenged the boundaries of Fairtrade International from the moment it entered the ethical trade market. Though alternative trade organizations had been a ctive in South Africa for years, it was the entrance of
69 Fairtrade International (at that time called the Fairtrade Labeling Organization) in South Africa in 2002 that put Fair Trade on the map. As the number of South African f arms joining Fairtrade swelled, the organization dilemmas which [could] not be resolved by simply appealing to established practice and 007:200). South Africa forced Fairtrade to reconsider apartheid made in an effort to reform the pos t apartheid agrarian landscape if a commercial farmer was fully compliant, then meeting the requirements to join Fairtrade was easy. At the foundation of the Fairtrade system is certification, which is made tangible through standards, audits, markets, and labels. The meeting of requirements, or standards, is evaluated by a formal third party entrance audit and then subsequent yearly audits. If the entrance audit is successful, the farm/winery is offered Fairtrade certification. Certification provides acces s to niche markets and stable trade channels and relationships, making it attractive to potential Fairtrade participants. Certification also allows the farm/winery to place the Fairtrade label on its products, signifying to consumers that ethical and envir onmentally sound production standards were utilized. These easily attainable standards raised questions for South African agrarian change advocates about how transformative Fairtrade actually could b e in South Africa. These interested stakeholders question ed whether allowing standard Fairtrade certification in the particular South African context would cheapen the movement and re entrech pre existing racialized power inequalities. Additionally, if certification was
70 easy to gain, advocates wor ried that not o nly would its transformative power diminish , but also that the Fairtrade agricultural markets would become oversaturated wine and produce . South African agriculture was built on the ba cks of impoverished workers who were historically disposse ssed of their land. South African stakeholders, therefore, asserted that the established Fairtrade model would not work in its national context. Kruger and Du Toit cogently capture the origins of Fairtrade in South Africa in their 2007 chapter entitled fairness: Fair Trade conventions and worker The stakeholders they address consultants, academics, and NGO representa tives began to discuss what greater flexibility would mean for Fairtrade ( which had not been faced with a certification question of this magnitude before) and to rethink its own organization al future (Kruger and du Toit 2007:207). In 2004, Fairtrade International decided to hold a consultative meeting with South African stakeholders, listening to the South African call for flexibility and revised standards for its particular national context. specific reforms, policies, and practice required that Fairtrade become more flexible. Rather than premised upon ideology, South African stakeholders initially pushed for flexibility in order to meet certain national o bjectives. Only later did they realize the potential to reform the organization as a whole by changing the position and power of the Global South through greater flexibility.
71 The meeting was originally planned to be held in Bonn, Germany, but illustrating of the growing prowess of the G lobal South and goodwill on the part of Fairtrade International it was moved to a small agricultural town located about an hour outside of Cape Town (Kruger and du Toit 2007:208 9). This meeting proved t o be a critical junctu re for Fairt rade, as it gave an initial answer to questions about its future and ho w it would govern now that the G lobal South was making new demands. Fairtrade took its first step towards flexibility by agreeing to revise its standards to better reflect t he needs of a specific context. Additionally, this meeting called the Fairtrade Fresh Fruit and Empowerment Consultation Forum marked the first time that Fairtrade International engaged in consultative process with stakeholders outside of its own managemen The organization moved away from a hierarchical structure and towards a global assemblage model. The Fairtrade Fresh Fruit and Empowerment Consultation Forum debated whether Fairtrade would make certification requirements in South Africa more stringent in order to comply wit h its transformative ethos and if it would allow plantati on agriculture on a large scale. After days of discussion, the Forum presented a solution to the South African ethical trade predicament: Black Economic Empowerment (BEE). My research shows that the BEE addendum to certification was the first time that the g lobal Fairtrade standards and national policy converged, giving the state greater power within a heretofore distinctly neoliberal, state transcendent entity.
72 The BEE addendum to South African certification was important because it deepened standards and found a national policy initiative that had the potential to ownership and labor profile made this an especially bold addendum. F arms in South Africa have historically be en and remain today primarily white owned commercial enterprises. These primarily Afrikaner p roducers own the land and manage the farming operation. Black or Coloured farm workers sell their labor for wages and housing, just as they did under apartheid. 3 W hite landowners became increasingly interested in Fair T rade certification as they struggled with the convergence of numerous national and global policies. South Africa moved from a highly regulated economy to a deregulated economy void of government subsi dies at the same time that labor laws became stricter and new international players specifically Argentina and Chile made wine markets increasingly competitive (Kruger and du Toit 2007:203 5). My work addresses the outcomes of this meeting, grateful to tho ugh moving beyond the foundational work of Kruger and du Toit. Fairtrade I nternational In order to address the story of Fair Trade in South Africa, with all of its twists and nuances, it is important to first understand the organizational structures at p lay and global organizational body, Fairtrade International formerly the Fairtrade Lab eling Organization (FLO). This international governing body is at the helm o f the F air Trade movement. E stablish ed in 1997, Fairtrade is headquartered in Bonn, Germany, though 3 security and the removal o f the dop system under which workers were paid partially in wine.
73 its 25 member initiatives are based within the various Fairtrad e consumer and marketing countries . In addition to its Bonn based staff, Fairtrade is compris ed of three producer network organizations (Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Asia) and national Fairtrade organizations made up of labeling initiatives and marketing organizations. Licensing initiatives are responsible for promoting the Fairtra de logo in International 2013). Fairtrade is governed by a Board of Directors made up of actors from each of these groups. In 2012, Fairtrade International voted to g ive the Global South producer networks a greater stake in the decision making of the organization, a role that was previously controlled significantly by the labeling initiatives based in the Global North . The General Assembly is now comprised of 50% produ cer network representatives and 50% labeling initiatives. This change was made in order to give the Global South and rather than having terms of empowerment and trade di ctated to them by the Global North. The Board is made up of five labeling initiative representatives, four producer organization representatives, two trader representatives, and three external members (Fairtrade International 2013). Fair Trade (two words) refers to the movement that intends to provide alternatives to the free market through the free market, link producers and consumers, give producers better prices for their goods, provide market access for marginalized producers, and improve the livelihoo ds of the marginalized peoples that the mov ement represents. Fairtrade (one word ) refers to Fairtrade International, the foremost of ethical
74 certification and governing bodies within the Fair Trade movement, and the organization with which this dissertatio n primarily concerns itself. Fair Trade South Africa (FTSA) No national Fair Trade body has done more to challenge and shape Fairtrade International that Fair Trade South Africa (FTSA). FTSA was the organization set up to develop and support ethical trade in South Africa. FTSA was intended to work complimentarily with and negotiate as necessary with global Fair Trade bodies to promote the interests of South African producers and other domestic interes ts. FTSA has had numerous iterations since its establishment in 2004, as will be discussed in this chapter. FTSA is now defunct. However, Fairtrade Label South Africa (FLSA), sprung forth from FTSA and remains a key player in the Fairtrade International as semblage. FLSA works exclusively within Fairtrade International, while FTSA was a multi stakeholder organization supporting all interested ethical trade bodies in South Africa . Fairtrade Label South Africa (FLSA) An offshoot of FTSA, and equally importan t in promoting the position of the initiative. It is also the first producer state to license and sell Fairtrade goods on the domestic market. With support from FTSA, F LSA formed in 2009 as a licensing affiliate within Fairtrade International. In 2012, FLSA became a full voting member of Fairtrade International with all of the requisite rights and responsibilities. FLSA promotes Fairtrade on the domestic market and colle cts licensing fees.
75 FLO Cert Of critical important to this dissertation is the FLO Cert organization. FLO Cert is the ISO 65 accredited 4 third party certification body used by Fairtrade International. FLO Cert derives its name from Fairtrade Internationa l (formerly the Fairtrade Labeling Organization) , with which it was originally linked . The two organizations split in 2004, as some affected parties complained that that there was a conflict of interest between the two and there would be stronger checks an d balances if the organizations were separated. FLO Cert maintains a headquarters in Bonn, Germany and has numerous subsidiary offices located around the globe. The Southern Africa office, FLO Cert SA, makes its home in Cape Town. FLO Cert is a for profit organization tasked with auditing, certifying, and decertifying Fairtrade producers. FLO Cert is involved in interpreting standards and consulting with other Fairtrade bodies on appropriate certification measures and best practice. Producer n etworks: Fair trade Africa Though producer networks are not central to my research, they do play a role in pushing the Fairtrade organization towards greater flexibility and inclusion of the Global South in policy considerations. Producer networks have also played peri pheral a role in disagreements between Fairtrade International, FLO Cert, and producers, attempting to moderate points of contention. Fairtrade Africa is one of the three producer networks working under the Fairtrade International umbrella. Based in Nairob i, Kenya, Fairtrade Africa is tasked with supporting producers through evaluating minimum pricing, representing their interests in the wider Fairtrade organization, mediating disputes, etc. 4 ISO 65 is the international certification body norm based upon transparency and independence from the bodies being certified.
76 Over 300 producers/producer organizations make up Fairtrade Africa (Fairtrade Africa 2013). Southern African Fairtrade Network The Southern African Fairtrade Network (SAFN) based in Cape Town but reporting to Fairtrade Africa in Nairobi is one of four networks under the umbrella of Fairtrade Africa. Ther e are also regional networks for East Africa, West Africa, and North Africa. SAFN along with the other regional networks are tasked with supporting producers in the following areas: standards (pricing, pesticide usage, etc.), capacity building, market acce ss, and networking (Fairtrade Africa 2013). Association for Fairness in Trade During the time when this research was conducted (2009 2011), no organization did more to promote the interests of farm and cellar workers than t he Association for Fairness in Trade (AFIT). AFIT is a Cape Town based NGO that was started by South African Fairtrade beneficiaries in 2005 in order to represent beneficiary and worker beneficiar ies to address and call for their interests and to further their understanding of governance, rights, and the Fair Trade process (Environmental Monitoring Group 2013). AFIT is supported primarily by Comic Relief UK and the Environmen tal Monitoring Group, w hich is based out of Cape Town. The j oint b ody The supposed stronghold of worker decision labor certification scheme and a central on farm contingent for my research, t he joint
77 body 5 is the democratically elected group of w orkers who are tasked with administering the premium funds collected from Fairtrad e certification. These funds are to be used to develop various empowerment projects that are intended to benefit workers, their families, and their surrounding communities. Fair Trade South Africa i se to P rominence and often competing bodies, it is now possible to move forward with detailing and des cribe the process of creating a flexible bureaucracy, using the example of Fairtrade Label South Africa. I show that forging a flexible bureaucracy is a procedure fraught with back and forth negotiation and political maneuvering. Flexibility allows for new constellations of power, and therefore is not easily achieved. Fair Trade South Africa has played a leading role in reshaping the Fairtrade nexus and fostering evolving sites of power in a variety of ways. As mirrored in its own move towards greater incl usivity, it has in turn demanded that Fairtrade International become more inclusive as well. Specifically, FTSA has fought for the greater inclusion of the global South in Fairtrade business and policy interactions since its inception in 2004. Unwilling to let the global North dictate its terms of certification, FTSA immediately implemented the Black Economic Empowerment addendum as part of its certification scheme upon becoming an organization. FTSA has been an example to other Fairtrade producer states in calling for increased representation within Fairtrade 5 In 2013, Fairtrade International changed the name of the J
78 degree of flexibility, for the better incorporation of local realities into its global models. That there was even spa ce for South African Fair Trade advocates to make that demand illustrates the growing power of the Global South and evolving views of flexibility within global Fairtrade bodies. Fairt rade Label South Africa In April 2009, after a five year battle with the Fairtrade governing body in Bonn, Germany, FTSA signed an agreement allowing for the creation of Fairtrade Label South Africa (FLSA), which at that time served as the only national labeling affiliate to the global Fairtrade labeling initiative (Adema 2009; FTSA 2009). FLSA also served as a marketing associate, meaning that it was allowed to promote and sell Fairtrade certified goods in country, though these goods were officially labeled through Fairtrade International in Bonn. The stated mission of Fairtrad social justice, facilitate growth, and increase the impact of Fairtrade in South Africa primary purpose of developing a nationally based l abe ling affiliate in South Africa wa s to endorse the domestic marketing of South African produced Fairtrade goods, thus permitting FTSA to keep the licensing fees and use them for further development of the nding the label domestically and positioning Fairtrade certified goods on the local market are fourfold. First, FTSA wanted to unseat the accepted Fairtrade practice of marketi ng certified goods only in the Global North. FTSA members argued that only allo wing Fairtr ade products to be sold in the Global North, only allowing the Global North seats at decision making tables , and effectively silencing the G lobal South in policy questions served to undermine the Fairtrade movement. They posited that Fairtrade I nternational,
79 as an organization, could not genuinely meet the needs of its intended beneficiaries without giving them a larger stake in the org anization. T his process took five years. In 2009, FLSA could market Fairtrade goods domestically but was not a f ull member within Fairtrade International, rather just a labeling affiliate. Secondly, FL SA planned to increase the sales of Fairtrade goods so that more smallholder s and agricultural laborers would reap the benefits. As more producers and companies enter the system, more licensing and labeling fees are generated. This allows for FLSA and other labeling initiatives to promote and m arket Fairtrade goods domestically . Ideally, this also means that more resources can be allot ted to producer support. However, my research has shown that FLSA has not been involved in this aspect, rather noting that it is the role of Fairtrade Africa, the Southern Afric an Fairtrade Network, and AFIT. Third l y, FTSA saw an opp ortunity to lessen the carbon footprint of Fairtrade advocates argued that keeping goods that were produced in South Africa on South African supermarket shelves was the most env ironmentally sustainable path. FTSA also argued that South African consumers had just as much right to purchase ethically and environmentally sustainable goods as their European and American counterparts, especially if these goods w ere produced on their ow n soil (Montgomery, original interviews). And fourthly, Fairtrade wanted to allow for additional markets for South African Fairtrade ce rtified producers. Most producers already sell a percentage o f their produce domestically but are not allowed to put the Fairtrade label on these goods and thus are
80 unable to receive additional premium funds for their workers. FLSA argued that it makes sense for goods produced u nder Fairtrade standards to reap the full benefit of their production by being sold domestically . If domestic sales can be certified as well, more Fairtrade premium money can be returned to the joint body to invest in social and economic development projects . Becoming a Full Voting M ember In October 2011, during the end of my fieldwork in South Africa , Fairtrade Label South Africa moved from being a labeling affiliate within Fairtrade International to become the first producer country to also be a full member of the global organization. The Fairtrade bureaucracy was in the process of significant change . This move towards flexibility was the result of years of lobbying on the part of FTSA and FLSA and by other actors who also advocated for a more equitable distribution of power within Fairtrade Interna tional. FLSA proved its worth in the Fairtrade assemb lage by nearly quadrupling its Fairtrade sales from 2009 to 2010 (Fairtrade International 2011). Full membership in Fairtrade allows South Africa voting rights in the General et to become a full member of Fairtrade International and we are proud to clear the way to stem and we look forward assisting other emerging markets such as Kenya and Brazil in South Africa has historically shown itself to be a trailblazer, demanding flexibility that hon ors the spirit of the Fair Trade movement by empowering producer nations. This determination to empower the Global South through negotiating within the flexible
81 Shortly before it became official that South Africa would become a full member of Fairtrade with the ensuing rights and responsibilities the director of FLSA noted to me that FLSA had its sights set on more than just full membership. He argued that other producer states in Southe rn Africa had to go through Fairtrade in B onn for their labeling needs. Joost said in domestic market (i.e. it sold wine from South Africa, coffee from Kenya, chocolate fro m Ghana), that the next logical step was for FLSA to label for other Southern African states as well. This step would serve to improve communication between producer states and labeling initiatives as South Africa would be located within the same region a s the producer states and is itself a producer state and would again keep licensing fees in Southern Africa. These transitions would a gain increase the power of the G lobal South within Fairtrade. This is yet another example of South Africa asserting its po wer within the global assemblage and promoting flexibility within the Fair Trade movement and Fairtrade International. Other producer states have taken notice, with several now either serving as marketing initiatives (i.e. Mexico) or applying and lobbying to become full members (i.e. Kenya and Brazil). FLSA has been to this point the most influential F airtrade producer state. It challenged Fairtrade standards and norms an d paved the way for the G lobal South to gain greater equality with its Northern counte rparts. It has als o proven that countries in the G lobal South provide new markets, thus growing the Fair Trade
82 movement and allowing Southern consumers access to more of the commodities that it produces. Fair Trad e South Africa: Rebranding and G re ater I nclusion During my tenure in South Africa, I was invited to attend and take minutes for the quarterly Fair Trade South Africa Board of Directors meetings. In total, I attended four meetings during the course of 2011. Aside from normal business operations dealing with staffing, planning for upcoming meetings and events, sharing news, etc., the meetings focused heavily on developing an identity for the organization that had seemingly lost its way after the creation of FLSA. If FLSA was now functioning and h ad met many of the objectives of FTSA, what now was the role of FTSA? The Board worked towards this identity creation through its increasing inclusion and its focused effort to develop a new purpose and mission. The R ise of C ompeting E thical C ertification B odies FTSA, from its inception, was very FLO centric. 6 This was in line with FLO centric ethical certification in South Africa as well. However, as new ethical certification bodies gained prominence globally and in South Africa, FTSA was forced to reeval uate its practice of catering to F airtrade International structures and producers. COFTA (The Cooperation for Fair Trade in Africa), the regional chapter for Africa of the WFTO (World Fair Trade Organization), uses Fair Trade principles to ethically certi fy and provide markets for agricultural commodities and handicrafts. The Rainforest Alliance focuses its certification on environmental sustainability and socioeconomic 6 its name, FTS A/FTN had also changed its approach and had become more inclusive.
83 development. 7 Fair for Life IMO is another major international player and one that is i ncreasingly gaining ground in South Africa for ethical certification. There are numerous other certification bodies as well, including the South African based Turqle Trading. FTSA was now subject to the same demands for flexibility that it had placed on Fa irtrade International. As COFTA, Fair for Life, and other bodies grew indi vidually and more producers who participated in FTSA clamor ed for the organization to expand beyond its self imposed boundaries, FTSA began to reexamine its organizational mission an d how it a ssembled its Board of Directors. It adopted internally the notion of flexible bureaucracy that it demanded previously from global bodies. U ntil that point , it was compr ised primarily of parties affiliated in some way with Fairtrade International. I attended the FTSA Annual General Meetings each year from 2009 2011 and inclusivity was always a point of discussion. But it was in 2011 that I was positioned for deeper insight into the organization as a result of my attending the quarterly Board of Dir ectors meetings. This greater insight paired with genuine change within the organization made for an interesting case study that began with a call for greater inclusivity and ultimately ended with the dissolution of the organization in 2012, approximately one year after my departure. Developing a M ission Understanding that flexibility and a reworked mission was critical for the continued relevance of the organization, FTSA embraced the openness to change that it 7 A common complaint I heard during my fieldwork was that organizations like the Rainforest Alliance were cheapening ethical and environmental certifications due their shallow standards, st andards that were not nearly as stringent as those of Fairtrade International.
84 had previously demanded of Fairtrade Interna again proved itself to be a flexible bureaucracy, as all levels of the hierarchical structure were now open to flexibility and negotiation. Later chapters will illustrate how this flexibility operates at the sites of production between producers, workers, and other local stakeholders and how negotiations with the national and global Fairtrade bodies evolved. FTSA hosted a strategic planning meeting in August 2011, after a year of debate between Board members as to t he role of the organization. This one day planning session was funded by a European NGO. The meeting was attended by the Board of Directors, the director of FLSA (who maintained his post as director of FTSA after the split, though admitted that he saw the two roles as a conflict of interest and that he was able to devote little time to FTSA), and myself. The meeting was administered by a consultant. The meeting began with attendees reiterating why they were there: after the necessary split between FLSA an d FTSA, the 2010 FTSA AGM gave the Board the mandate of developing new core objectives and becoming increasingly inclusive of all ethical certification bodies operating within South Africa. The meeting participants understood creating a mission for the org anization to be important because it had not had an identity since the split with FLSA. Without a clear purpose, FTSA could not properly seek external funding, nor could it provide services. ples were, thus leaving little time for action points. It was determined that FTSA must be multi stakeholder oriented, that it must represent the principles of the Fair Trade movement
85 (the key terms that were chosen were equality, ethical, solidarity, gene rous, sustainable, transparent, proactive, and inclusive), and that it must find ways to engage in producer support and communication about its roles and accomplishments. The two portfolios that were developed producer support and communication were then t asked with developing short and long term strategies that could lead to a clearer identity and to donor funding for the continuance of the organization. However, the meeting had to be adjourned due to time, though both portfolios agreed to continue these d iscussions before the next quarterly Board of Directors meeting. The planning session ended with a feeling of hope about the future of FTSA, with participants agreeing that South Africa was in a unique position once again to do something radical on the Fai r Trade global stage, as there were no other significant multi stakeholder Fair Trade organizing bodies. Unfortunately, participants left the session with continued uncertainty as to how to attain this trailblazing role and what it would even look like if attained. Though the portfolios did correspond through email after this meeting, nothing significant was achieved. The discussion concerning developing a FTSA action plan was continued at the FTSA Annual General Meetings three months later. As she had si nce my first AGM in 2009, Heloise, the development consultant, facilitated the AGM. Afte r presentations by COFTA, Fair f or Life, and FLO Cert clearly designed to raced inclusivity Heloise began the time fo r strategic s quite amazing that FTSA has come this f stuffy conference space on an especially warm Cape Town afternoon. This AGM is a result of all of the c
86 The approximately 100 AGM attend ees were asked by Heloise to divide up into groups based upon their constituencies. Once in the group, they were to determine s should be for 2012 and how those goals would be measured. I joined the farm worker contingency meeting . Participants asked that FTSA do a number of things, but topping the list of objectives was the providing of on farm Fair Trad e awareness training, gre ater security for workers in terms of finances and labor conditions, and training for management so that they would better understand their obligatio ns to workers under Fair Trade. Timing, again, was an issue and the AGM adjourned before a concrete plan f or the future of F TSA could be developed. Group representatives provided t he Board of Directors with the insights from each of the constituencies. The Board was then tasked by AGM attendees with developing a strategy for the future of the organization . My time in South Africa ended a few weeks later, though I occasionally heard word that FTSA was still not having much success with developing an organizational strategy. I received an email in late 2012 saying that the organization had been dissolved due to lack of a coherent action plan and lack of funding. When rigidity is diminished and an era of flexibility and negotiation ushered in, organizations are forced to reevaluate their ultimate goals and determine where they can bend and where they must re main steadfast. For Fairtrade International, flexibility sparked a great deal of controversy amongst stakeholders, especially in regards to evolving power structures and the question of corporatization (discussed below). However, this flexibility ultimatel y made the global body more attuned to national realities, further empowering Global South producer nations.
87 The demise of FTSA shows a consequence of flexibility. After the founding and subsequent success of FLSA, FTSA leaders embraced flexibility, which ultimately meant stepping back from its deep ties to Fairtrade International. Leaders whether affiliated with Fairtrade International or a competitor welcomed this greater inclusivity. Unfortunately, once power was reconfigured, FTSA was not sure what act ions to take to utilize this power. Ultimately, FTSA had run its course when FLSA was founded, though it hung on for three more years. Though FTSA maintained the potential to promote inclusive Fair Trade practices, worker and producer support, and various other tasks, its lack of a mission in an already tight funding environment made it challenging to acquire the grants necessary to stay afloat. FTSA folded, though leaders state that it could be resurrected in the future, if needed. FTSA remains flexible ev en when dormant. Consequences of Flexibility: the Corporatization of Fair Trade Flexibility has made Fairtrade International more attuned to national realities, empowering Global South producer nations within the global assemblage. However, it has also undermined the very foundation of the Fair Trade movement: empowering marginalized producers in developing nations. When power is reconfigured, powerful actors are better positioned within global assemblages to negotiate for their interests. In this case, large global corporations seek Fairtrade certification as a marketing tool. These c orporations are in a position to successfully lobby Fairtrade for preferential local farmers and workers benefit minimally. A major current debate within Fairtrade concerns the corporatization of th e organization . Proponents of certifying global businesses argue that doing so will grow the brand, increase consumer awareness , and generate more licensing fees . As the
88 brand grows, so too does its ability to support producers and improve worker livelihoo ds. Opponents to corporatization argue that by focusing primarily on growth, Fairtrade International is losing sight of what should be its core objective: empowering marginalized producers and workers . Despite significant dissent, Fairtade is increasingly moving towards corporatization . FLSA and FTSA have historically received the majority of their funding from European NGOs. However, l icensing fees in South Af rica have increased drastically due to the growth of domestic sales and t he certification of Cadb urys, with its consequent entrance onto the local market. The FLSA director , Joost, is a strong proponent of certi f we want to make FLSA sustainable, we need these big guys to make sure you get your license fee incomes so that you can promo te to Cape Town from the Fairtrade Africa meetings in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. We need these big guys in order to invest in growing the Fairtrade label in South y important to balance corporations Joost ar gued. Citing the example of Cadburys purchasing cocoa from small Ghanaian produc ers (though not exclusively), Joost posited that more producers would benefit if Fairtade certification continued to embrace corporate clients. Joost also believes that certifying corporations bolsters the businesses of smaller producers bec ause corporations advance consumer awareness of the Fairtrade label. Corporate clients have the resources to promote Fairtrade and to advertise the ir involvement in Fairtrade, a challenging undertaking for sma ller producers . Proponents
89 of corporate certifi cation argue that greater brand awareness helps everyone in the . Moberg and Lyon (2010) disagree, citing numerous corporate cases. Corporations have seen the benefit of engaging in Fair Tr ade and gaining certification, global agribusiness companies come to dominate the fair trade market, those who advocate fair trade as a mechanism to reform the world mar ket are likely to see its goals and Lyon go on to discuss a handful of corporate cases where the multinational corporation sought Fair Trade certification in an effort to revive a tarnished reputation. Moberg and Lyon (2010) illustrate how Starbucks sought Fair Trade certification as a result of an international boycott against the coffee retailer due to its buying practices. It paid producers very low prices for their c offee beans in order to increase its own competitiveness and profit margins. Starbucks avoided this public relations nightmare by gaining Fair Trade certification and prominently displaying the Fairtrade mark on its products and in its advertising. However , 2006 data shows that less than 4% of Starbucks sales came from Fair Trade coffee (Moberg and Lyon 2010:10). Proctor and Gamble utilized a similar strategy: it sought Fairtrade certification as a way of whitewashing its other business and buying practic es. Thus, it marketed itself as an ethical, Fair Trade company, but in actuality only added a small Fair Trade rights abuses with its West African cocoa production, and thus soug ht out Fair Trade as
90 a means of correcting the marketing problem that its business practices had caused (Moberg and Lyon 2010). Moberg and Lyon (2010) save their most scathing critique of Fair Trade corporatization for Nestle. They argue that the company had a poor image internationally for a variety of trade, labor, and marketing practices. It boycotted the Fair Trade movement for many years, arguing that it corrupted free market policies, before opting to include a singular Fair Trade component in its em pire. Still, it then marketed itself as an ethical company, despite only one of over 850 product lines being Fairtrade certified (Moberg and Lyon 2010:11 12). Opponents of certification assert that control of much of the global coffee industry has enabled it to force down producer prices, the company is widely believed to be responsible for the misery However, many stak eholders (smallholder proponents, NGOs, etc.) la ment the corporatization of Fairtrade, claiming that the organization has forsaken its key tenet of empowering marginalized producers. They complain that Fairtrade has grown more quickly than its capacity to empower producer s and workers and that leaders hip spend s the major ity its time with corporate leaders, causing them to under prioritize the needs of producers and workers. These stakeholders question wh at Fairtrade has become if it is pri marily focused on market access . Genevieve, FLO Cert , challenged that while she believes that Fairtrade certification should pr omote rural transformation, standards do not dictate that it must. She argues that Fairtrade is intended to provide marke t access, a fair price for
91 markets. Jaffee (2007) offers one of the strongest critiques of the corporatization of the corporate participants to which it has turned to meet the laudable goal of boosting demand for its products, the movement risks diluting its co re values and its ability to Growth of the Fairtrade brand has, unfortunately, become synonymous with the dilution of standards, both in South Africa and internationally. Rebranding Fairtrade Fairtrade Internati onal is increasingly concerned with its trajectory, specifically how to progress the movement and reflect this path in its image and brand . Should it promote smallholders and support workers on hired labor estates and plantations ? Or should Fairtrade grow the brand and make certification and maintenance requirements more accessible so that more producers can enter the fold and reap the benefits of the label? Most producers, consultants, and NGO workers in South Africa argued that Fairtrade International sh ould put more resources toward producer and worker support, that it should maintain stringent and empowering standards, and that it should improve communication with existing members before expanding. Several stakeholders noted that they worried that Fa irt capacity for support and oversight. In early 2011, Daniel from Fairtrade Africa expressed concern over the direction Fairtrade International was taking and what these developments meant for power within the Fair Trade g lobal assemblage . Specifically, the CEO who has since resigned
92 unilaterally decided to change Organization (FLO) to Fairtrade International in order to outwardly signify the development of the new global brand strategy. This strategy reflects a focus on branding and growth rather than on improving existing organizational infrastructure. Neither the FLO Board of Directors nor the producer networks (i.e. Fairtrade Africa, etc.) were consulted concerning the name change. s further exemplified by the creation of the Global Account Management department, which was tasked with courting and managing large corporate accounts like Starbu cks, Nestle, and Cadburys. Daniel lamented tha Corporate clients have a competitive edge because they can dictate their terms and standards more easily than smaller producers . Fairtrade argues that growing the brand to include corporate par ticipants will not only improve consumer awareness but will also provide increased licensing fees that can be used for producer support. This trickle down a pproach to the Fair Trade growth is hotly contested amongst stakeholders. Fairtrade , they argued, emerged in an effort to empower marginalized producers, not as an opportunity to provide corporations with an ethical marketing angle. When corporations gain certification, power shifts away fr om Fair Concluding Remarks South Africa perhaps more than any other producer nation has been instrumental in reshaping Fairtrade International, propelling the organization towards the flexible bureaucracy that it is today. I n turn, FTSA then embraced the same flexibility that it demanded of the global Fairtrade body, though with startlingly disparate results.
93 Fairtrade International implemented a singular global standard until 2004, when South Africa successfully negotiated f or a certification model that better addressed national transformation goals. Fairtrade certification converged with a state led transformation initiative for the first time when the Black Economic Empowerment addendum became part of South African standard s. South Africa again asserted its power within the Fair Trade global assemblage in 2009 when it successfully lobbied Fairtrade to become the first Global South licensing affiliate. Three years later, the newly minted Fairtrade Label South Africa won ful l member status, becoming the first producer nation to also serve as a licensing initiative. Currently, FLSA collects licensing fees from South African producers and markets Fairtrade domestically. FTSA and FLSA actively encouraged other producer states in the Global South to assert their power within the assemblage, taking advantage of the flexibility created by their trailblazing actions. Several nations from Kenya to Mexico to Brazil have followed suit by developing their own independent national Fair Trade bodies and/or by seeking licensing affiliate or full member organization status. These negotiations and lobbying efforts have changed the face of Fairtrade, making the organization increasingly receptive to producer state demands. Thanks to South Af rica, the Global South now has more power within the assemblage and a precedent for demanding flexibility. Despite groundbreaking achievements, South African Fair Trade has faced numerous setbacks. Due to lack of funds, FTSA disbanded in 2012 after 8 suc cessful years of multi stakeholder alliance, global negotiation, and producer support. There is
94 now no entity tasked with coordinating the needs of all South African Fair Trade stakeholders and providing a unified platform to represent the voice of ethical trade. Increased flexibility within Fairtrade has also paved the way for other stakeholders to negotiate for their interests as well. Specifically, corporations entered the Fair Trade assemblage from a position of such great power that they have easily be en able to bend certification requirements to their benefit. This move towards corporatization fundamentally changes Fair Trade, moving it from a producer focused trade not aid program to a minimum standards/growth focused model. It is likely that Fairtrad e would flexibility possibly made this shift easier.
95 Figure 2.1 Hierarchical structure of Fair Trade in South Africa FTSA Association for Fairness in Trade (AFIT) Workers FLO Cert FLO Cert South Africa Farms and Cellars Fairtrade International Producer Networks (i.e. Fairtrade Africa) Southern African Fairtrade Network Producers Workers Labelling Initiatives (i.e. FLSA) Producers and Cellars Workers
96 Figure 2.2 Fair Trade South Africa Stakeholder Nexus Figure 2.3 Social Network Overlap of Fair Trade in South Africa Fair Trade South Africa (FTSA) Fair Trade bodies (Fairtrade International, Fair for Life, COFTA, etc.) Producers Workers (represented through AFIT) FLO Cert SA FLSA Consultants, academics, policy informants FTSA Sites of production (AFIT, producers, cellars) Fairtrade International
97 CHAPTER 3 FAIR TRADE CERTIFICATION AND BLACK ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT Introductory Remarks In 2004, South African Fair Trade advocates met with officials from Fairtrade In ternat ional in Bonn, Germany in the small agricultural town of Grabouw about an hour outside of Cape Town to negotiate how best to implement Fair Trade in South Africa. The advocates argued for an addendum to Fairtrade certification in South Africa in order to m ake the ethical standards more meaningful and endow them with the capacity to influence sustainable change in the post apartheid state. From 2004 2012, South African producers were required to comply with the Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) Addendum to ce rtification. Producers were given three years after their initial Fairtrade certification to become BEE compliant and thus maintain their heretofore conditional certification. Specifically, certified estates were required to give or sell an at least 26% sh are in the land, the brand, or the winery to farm and cellar workers. Though Fair Trade certification improved farm worker livelihoods however minimally this chapter shows that the BEE addendum was unsuccessful in promoting agrarian transformation, regardl ess of the selected ownership model (i.e. 26% in the land, brand, or winery). Despite the good intentions of the BEE addendum, the unintended consequence conducted over 200 workers interviews which revealed that workers had been promised change before by the African National Congress at the commencement of democracy, by various political parties, and by Fair Trade but they felt that their exploitation remained relatively unc hanged. Workers expressed that they felt farm and cellar owners
98 sought Fair Trade certification for their own enrichment. In order for the workers as a whole to become 26% owners of one of the aforementioned aspects of the business (while only one to five or so white individuals owned the remaining 74%, therefore maintaining control of the business), they typically had to purchase this share. This chapter details relevant South African history, the Black Economic Empowerment Initiative, and provides a comp arative analysis of the three BEE ownership models. It also addresses several questions. How did each of the three case studies achieve BEE compliance? What were worker understandings and opinions of BEE? What were the forces, structures and conditions that enabled if not guaranteed the non transformative outcomes? Re Imagining Post A partheid South Africa: Theoretical Considerations Some of the same scholars who have been critical of BEE also argued for its inclusion in South African Fair Trade certification (Kruger 2003; Kruger and du Toit 2007). Though th likely unintentionally) erred on the side of weak reform, that the creators of FTSA were aware of this potential pitfall and worked to avoid it by implementing the addendum and thus deepeni shows the power of the global assemblage. South African Fair Trade stakeholders were heard and the South African case was acknowledged as defying the heretofore standard Fair Trade model. Thoug h I illustrate how the BEE addendum was ultimately unsuccessful in South Africa, in 2011, over 100 farm worker representatives voted unanimously to maintain, but reform, the addendum. I argue that both Fair Trade and Black Economic Empowerment are reformis t initiatives that unintentionally serve to divert poverty and inequality from a political to a managerial realm.
99 BEE and the Fair Trade BEE Addendum: Born in Chains My research shows that regardless of which ownership model was implemented, quality of life was improved but power relations remained unchanged. Fair Trade certification in South Africa provided a tangible good for farm workers and their families, but fell short of its aim of reforming the post apartheid agrarian landscape. Pont e, Roberts, and van Stittert (2006) argue that the policy constraints within which BEE was formed and implemented restrict its ability to create the change its advocates hoped for (Ponte et al 2006:933). Klein (2007) addresses precisely this, illustrating how the ways in which the ruling apartheid political party the National Party (NP) negotiated the mostly peaceful end to apartheid protected white interests and tied the hands of revolutionaries. She asserts that F.W. de Klerk 1 and other NP Leaders realize d that the apartheid system was not sustainable but still wanted to protect white interests. As a result, they were willing to give up political power as long as the economic interests and property rights of English and Afrikaner South Africans were protec ted. Thus, Black Economic Empowerment, like other post apartheid policies, is apartheid democratization. Kruger (2003) posits that BEE unintentionally undermines the political nature of what ref orm advocates are attempting to achieve in the democratic era. She argues that m arketing and codification technologies are deployed to move the terrain of Thus, reform advoc ates and government officials become lost in the managerial tasks of properly implementing BEE and often lose sight of the original goal of transformation. 1 F.W. de Klerk was the last apartheid era South African President, serving from 1989 1994. He shared the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize with Nelson Mandela for their joint effort to e nd apartheid.
100 Scorecards are kept and point values assessed, but revolutionary ideas and philosophical debates are often sidelined. adoption of the BEE addendum, the successes of certification fall short et al 2003:ii). She argues that farm worker interests remains is couched solidly in self ameliora tion discourse (education, training, combating alcoholism) rather than on farm worker organization and My own research supports the cynical conclusion of Kruger, d u Toit, and Ponte (200 3) that the adoption of the BEE policy allows wine industry leaders to embrace a degree of change without addressing the fundamental structural relations of power that are at the root of black 1). Thus, I argue that the merging of Fair Trade and Black Economic Empowerment in South Africa was a marriage of two well meaning but imperfect movements. It is little surprise that the results of this union have been less than transformative. Regardless, led reform initiative highlights the power of the global assemblage. Fair Trade vs. Non Fair Trade Fa rms I found that despit e the problems surrounding Fair T rade certificat ion i n South Africa, workers at Fair T rade certified and thus BEE compliant farms are better off than their non cert ified counterparts. Though Fair T have not been achieved, workers do enjoy improved living and working conditions with
101 greater access to policymakers and advocates who will listen to their concerns. 2 Though Fair Trade mandated structures often proved ineffect ive and susceptible to structures aimed at providing workers with a voice in business management and their working conditions) are an important step in the empowerment process: they acknowledge that workers are vulnerable and the current system imperfect. Joint management and create ways for workers to participate in business management and to air gri evances. This research found that this oversight whether or not all Fair Trade standards were followed resulted in improved working conditions on farms and in cellars. Though I argue that Fair Trade certification outcomes are far from what Fair Trade marke ts to consumers and even what it would like to see at the sites of production, certification has been useful in that workers on Fair Trade certified farms are better off than their uncertified counterparts. Black Economic Empowerment Black Economic Empowe rment (BEE) is an affirmative action type program that has been implemented to address the injustices and inequalities present within the South African economy due to centuries of racially discriminatory policy that culminated in the apartheid state. It wa s created to correct the economic injustices of apartheid. Inherent in the BEE plan is the assumption that two economies exist simultaneously in South Africa. In 2003, when arguing for BEE in the face of much criticism, the South African government stated that: 2 Addressing their concerns, however, is another matter. I found mixed results here. Some policymakers and advocates were more invested in acting on behalf of workers than others.
102 One of the major consequences of the change in structure in the economy sophisticated economy based on skilled labour, which is becoming more globally competitive. The second is a mainly informal, marginalized, unskilled economy, populated by the unemployed and those unemployable in the formal sector. Despite the impressive gains made in the first economy, the benefits of growth have yet to reach the second economy, and with th e enormity of the challenges arising from the social transition, the second economy risks falling further behind if there is no decisive government intervention (Presidency 2003:97). The BEE policy was designed to help merge the first and second economies into the realm occupied by the former and to uplift previously disadvantaged peoples. There are different sectors within the BEE initiative, and this dissertation will refer specifically to Agricultural Black Economic Empowerment (Agri BEE). The Agricultu ral Black Economic Empowerment Charter is a sectoral transformation charter which was launched in July of 2004. The charter calls for the following: 1) promotion of equitable access to previously disadvantaged individuals (PDIs) at all levels of the agri cultural value chain; 2) the deracialization of land ownership and skilled positions in agriculture, including management; 3) allowing PDIs to achieve their full potential in the agriculture sector through education and resource allocation; 4) facilitating structural economic activities, infrastructure and skills training; (Agri BEE C harter, Department of Agriculture 2005:3 4) The Black Economic Empowerment Addendum In order to gain Fairtrade certification in South Africa, farms and wineries must be BEE compliant. This means that black and coloured hired laborers must own a 26% communa l share in one of three categories for the wine industry: land, winery or label. It
103 is common that hundreds of farm and winery workers own a 26% share and a handful of white Afrikaner farmers own 74% of the company. This percentage technically allows worke rs to have a say in the company and makes it illegal for the primary owner to sell the farm or winery without the input and consent of the other shareholders. However, my research shows that this 26% share has not actually changed power dynamics in rural S typically do not have any degree of control over the business. One white farm and land , improving the standard of their houses, and providing different trainings as long as not going to let the government or Fairtrade come in and tell me that I have to let a Fairtrade claims to support democratic processes, however, the ownership model for gaining BEE compliance was chosen exclusively by the w hite producers and business owners on all 15 Fairtrade certified wineries in South Africa. Workers did not have a say in which ownership approach was implemented, but rather had their empowerment structure dictated to them. There are three ways that farms and wineries can honor the ownership component of Black Economic Empowerment and gain Fairtrade certification in South Africa: providing a 26% worker share in the land, winery, or the wine label. However, it is very telling that over half of the workers I interviewed did not know what BEE was and did not know which ownership component their farm or winery had selected. Those who
104 were aware of Fairtrade, BEE, and the ownership component still frequently felt marginalized and completely outside of the decisi on making process. Though the the result of Fairtrade and its BEE mandate, most felt that these improvements were minimal and only correlated to better housing and greate r opportunities for their children, not in any kind of changed power dynamic or economic prowess. The interview questions are included in an appendix. Ownership is a transaction that does not necessarily result in empowerment. Producers and workers both ha ve gains and losses inherent within this transaction. Specifically, workers gained the potential for profit and power while producers gained improved cash flow, Fairtrade certification, and the potential for improved social standing. Workers lose the abili ty to make more revolutionary claims about reforming power and producers potentially lose a degree of power over their businesses. Producers also become obligated to certification and auditing systems outside of their control while workers gain the advanta ge of these same systems working on their behalf. Ownership in the Land On a sunny spring day, I sat in the air conditioned Mooihoek conference room with a focus group made up of Mooihoek farm workers who were also Joint Body members. Mayonnaise dripped fr om the greasy chicken sandwiches I had brought with me from the nearby town deli. We drank Coca Cola as we discussed their lives and work. Workers answered my questions politely but disinterestedly, focusing more on containing the mess made by their sandwi ches than the focus group, until I asked about their on farm power and ownership of the BEE farm. I asked if they took part in
105 decisions about the Mooihoek or BEE farms. This question resulted in a quick and mannered worker in his mid mid thirties and the older of two women on the Joint Body, lamented. My observation of questioned the workers about what they gleaned from the AFIT spring school, they replied that they discovered that Mooihoek was one of the best Fairtrade farms. The workers were clearly uncomfortable saying anything negative in front of Awie. However, the workers argued that even if they did not have the power that they wanted at Mooihoek or on the BEE farm, Fairtrade certification and BEE compliance improved their lives. record of who is working on the farm and how many hours they work. Workers will receive a share of the yearly dividends. The first pay In addition to the promised pay out, workers felt that Fairtrade had provided other benefits. However, these tangible and current ben efits were not tied to their BEE ownership. agricultural at [the local] college. The Joint Body sometimes buys food for people in
106 need. We now have a truck that we can share. And workers shared when discussing the worth of Fairtrade. Ownership of the BEE farm also created an unintended consequence in that it encouraged workers to think about what other roles ownership could play in their lives. In ad dition to owning the BEE farm, workers wanted to own something else: their homes. The first of the three Fair trade certifiable approaches to Black Economic Empowerment is a 26% worker share in the land. This is the preferred approach amongst most workers and AFIT, as evidenced through individual interviews and group debate at the October 2011 AFIT Annual General Meeting. They argue that while a winery or wine label could easily go under, the land is always present. This approach to gaining certification also converges most closely with the South of land reform. With the relatively peaceful and heavily negotiated fall of apartheid in 1994 came the compromise that land rights would be protected concurrently with the pursuance of a market based land reform program that would promote national reconcil iation (Hall 2004). However, this market based willing seller willing buyer approach that has been adopted in the Western Cape Province due to l ongstanding settlement patterns 5% of agricultural land in South Africa has been redistributed. The state views joint ventures
107 between white owners and black or coloured beneficiaries as the best way to move towards a more holistic land reform program. politicizes the land reform strategies by assuming that there an equal playing field exists. Farm owners are typically not motivated to sell their land and potential Black buyers are typically not knowledgeable concerning the conditions of their purchase. Dozens of workers joining together to buy a plot of land from a single producer but a proper management system is often not established for the new venture. Under this program, the government gives grants on behalf of the workers to pay the 26% market va lue of the land to the white owner. The original owner can use this capital to reinvest in the farm. In the Fairtrade farms that I studied that utilized this approach to BEE compliance and Fairtrade certification, the original owner benefited greatly from selling this nominal portion of his farm to his workers. He had increased cash flow, gained BEE compliance and therefore access to new Fairtrade markets and domestic markets with a BEE mandate , and was viewed as ethical and generous within his home communi ty. And because he only had to sell 26% of the land, he was still very much in control of the farm and power dynamics did not change. Ownership, therefore, enric hing the farmer and re endowing the agricultural elite. In practice, 26% land Though workers often felt pride in being lan d owners, they had few tangible benefits to being shareholders.
108 Mooihoek, one of the three main estates where I conducted research, opted for the land ownership component to BEE compliance and Fairtrade certification, but undertook a different approach to land ownership than the one described above. Like many farm owne an Afrikaner landed elite was not willing to sell his 100 workers a portion of his 400 hectare family farm, noting that it had been in his family for six generations. Rather, Awie wanted to purchase a new piece of land in conjunc (LRAD) grant. This 50 hectare plot was a marginal piece of land that required maintenance marketed under a special ethical label 3 . Awie had originally intended to own 50% of this new BEE farm and for the workers to own 50%. However, the ever evolving and increasingly strict Department of Land Affairs would not grant the LRAD under these terms, instead stating that if Awie was going to own 100% of his family farm, then workers would need to own 100% of the new farm if they wanted LRAD funding. Awie and the workers agreed, and the workers have full ownership of the new farm, though Awie serves as a mentor and manages the farm as though to mentoring for free for the first ten years while the workers learn about business and Fair Trade certified. 3 He hoped to sell more wine as Fair Trade in the future, but could only sell as much the market dictated. Awie noted that approximately 10% of his wine was sold as Fair Trade, though 100% was Fair Trade certified.
109 But what did mentorship me an in reality at Mooihoek? I found that workers were aware of their ownership of the second farm, though their knowledge of farm though no one knew who was being mentored or what types of skills transference were oint Body tries to tell me what to do on this farm is the day I walk away from Fairtrade. We have private ownership here [in South Africa], speaking of the farm in which he maintained 100% ownership, his views of workers resulted in a lack of actual mentorship on the worker owned farm . Awie was a successful farmer in his own right, but was not adept at mentoring workers, or a select group of managerial caliber workers, to su ccessfully farm. This is owners with mentoring workers (and thus with aiding agrarian reform) without actually providing any kind of training or incentive for the former. Add itionally, Awie did not believe in the ability of Coloured workers to run a farm. Thus, worker ownership as an element of BEE compliance was a regulatory space rather than a site of transformation at Mooihoek. It was a managerial strategy with a progressiv e name. A follow up study to see how mentorship has progressed would be useful. It is possible that with more time under his belt, Awie has improved as a mentor and the workers have become more involved in the BEE farm.
110 Workers posited that there were man y benefits to their Fair Trade certification. Materially, workers noted that their housing was upgraded, including putting in indoor plumbing, repairing roofs, providing warm water, and outfitting each home with DSTV. Fair Trade premiums paid for the 100 w orkers to jointly own a car, making easier, though coordinating the transit needs of 100 workers and their families was a challenge. Workers have greater access to skill s training and rights workshops due to certification. Workers maintained numerous complaints with their work and housing. First and foremost of these material concerns, workers were disappointed with their pay. Many of them supported a large family or we re the primary earner for a group of people, yet they made an abysmal salary, approximately R1300 per month 4 . Workers asserted that their homes were too small and in need of additional repair, that job performance expectations were not always effectively c ommunicated, and that joining a trade union was discouraged (despite strict Fairtrade standards to the contrary). Tertius, a farm worker and member of the Joint Body, was an articulate young father who had high hopes for the farm due to Fairtrade certifica tion and BEE ownership of a farm. However, he bitterly declared that he had labored tirelessly for 13 years and provide him with new on farm opportunities like moving into a more managerial position. This hope was not realized. 4 The exchange rate in 2011 was approximately R7 to 1USD.
111 The most disconcerting issue workers faced on their BEE compliant farm was a ven the foreman makes his own decisions here. Awie decides everything. We want to make decisions too. The Joint Body and premium but Awie makes all of the decisions the meetings. Awie was indeed in control. The workers gave their input, but once Awie had made his mind up about how to spend premium funds or how to manage the farm, there was no longer room for discussion. In about the well being of the workers and their families and wanted work and life on the farm to be positive for everyone, but he was unable to relinquish control or part with his paternalistic management style. a reflection of his personality, but rather of structural conditions and historical realities in rms and workers. They were taught to make their businesses viable while treating their workers fairly. 5 Producers believed that they were best managers for their farms and that workers were often incapable of successful farm management. This belief was par tially the result of a lack of precedent in South Africa of viable worker run farms. 5 ecent post apartheid belief.
112 Joint Body decisions despite Fair Trade standards stating that the workers should be entirely in control of the decisions concerning the Fair Trade premium about prem ium y need Though the workers argued that they were better off than their non Fair Trade counterparts and better off than they used to be because of Fair Trade, there were no usiness plan, shareholders would begin receiving dividends from the profit in 2014. Further research is necessary to determine if shareholders have indeed received dividends and thus more tangible benefits from the land ownership. Regardless, workers were proud to be landowners, even if ownership did not currently provide them with additional income, power on the farm, or prestige in the community. They believed that maintaining the BEE addendum and their shareholder status was a process. Though the benefi ts of their land ownership were minimal, they believed that the fact that they were owners at all opened the door for future progress. Workers were hopeful that they would eventually have a say in how the business was run, would garner a larger income, and would improve their lives. They saw Fair Trade and land ownership as tools that provided them with what they really needed in order to transform their lives: various trainings, access to new professional networks, and the potential for additional income. Workers did not see Fair Trade or land ownership as
113 successes in and of themselves, but rather as the vehicle that could lead them to their desired future. Awie was grateful for the BEE addendum at the same time that he resented it. Like most producers w ho had made BEE compliance a part of their business in order to inclusion of the addendum within South African Fairtrade certification. He believed that the addendum a dded depth and kept many producers out of the system, preventing an oversaturation of the South African Fair Trade wine market. In the same breath that Awie applauded the depth and market sensibility of the addendum, he lamented that Fair Trade required BE E compliance before it was even fully mandated by the South get difficult due to the progress requirements. Fair Trade requires more than the law requires which ma kes it difficult. You need strict discipline in any company structure and Ownership in the Winery grou p of farm and cellar workers assembled around him. Errol a slightly overweight, middle aged man wore pressed trousers and a brightly striped black shirt with the top two buttons undone and no undershirt, a style that evocated his fondness for urban life an Errol was a Coloured member of Namaq ualand middle management, hired more
114 worker meetings in which ownership in the cellar featured, Heinrich decided to take i nterested farm workers on a tour of the cellar and answer their questions about shareholding. d m uniform, shared with me shareholding in the cel The second approach to BEE compliance and Fairtrade certification is that of selling work ers a 26% share in the winery. Workers purchased 26% of the winery through low interest bank loans aimed at furthering agrarian transformation and supported by the South African state . This approach to BEE compliance is exceptional within Fair Trade in Sou th Africa, as this now decertified winery received special permission to undertake this approach and has been the only winery to date to do so. This BEE ownership model is an example of how South African realities put their own stamp on the Fairtrade syste m and exercised power to reshape their part of the assemblage. This approach was undertaken by a winery and farming cooperative owned by four Afrikaner brothers. The se brothers were the sole owners of the winery until they sold a 26% to the workers. The b rothers took this new income stream and invested in
115 purchasing a second winery that would process conventional wine. The owners had a limited cash flow . At the same time, they saw an opportunity to diversify their business a way from only producin g, bottlin g, and marketing Fair T rade wine and move towards a more balanced business that paired ethical and conventional production. Selling winery shares to t he workers made business sense . One of the main problems with this approach is that the winery could decl are bankruptcy and the workers would be left with nothing. Rydal, a well educated, stylish, and urban based Afrikaner and the consultant employed by Namaqualand Winery to create and manage its empowerment initiatives, developed the cellar shareholding stra tegy. When I argued that it was possible the workers would never see a benefit of their 26% share in the winery due to reinvestment of profits or if the winery went bankrupt and questioned whether these risks necessitated a change in the BEE ownership mode l, Rydal countered that this system was especially empowering in part I met with Rydal numerous times during the course of my fieldwork, but it was our last meeting in Cape Town that proved the most enlightening. Rydal explained what his goals were when setting up the worke people the vision that they can achieve something and that they can save something for their old age; that there is a long term economic benefit for them to working for irst were given their certificates 6 last year they 6 The certificate is a promissory note. Workers can sell and trade these notes amongst themselves but the trust cannot yet (as of 2011) buy them back or pay out dividends due to a lack of funds.
116 of Sauvignon Blanc before expressing one of his concerns with the Coloured farm retirement, I found that this w as not because of a lack of forward thinking, but rather because their wages were too low to maintain a minimum standard of living, much less plan for retirement. At the time this research was conducted, the main problem with the 26% ownership share in the winery was that workers did not create it, understand it, or spoken farm worker who immigrated to V ergesig River area from Zimbabwe, noted. Jannie stated that he felt like a powerless s hareholder who may or may not ever earn money from the cellar profits. A consultant created the shareholding scheme with input from the brothers. Though Rydal gave several presentations concerning the shareholding scheme and rightly prioritized reinforcin g knowledge of the system through regular discussion of the called it) and the workers struggled to understand it. Workers were split on their
117 understanding of the shareh olding agreement. Only workers at the highest ranks understood that the shareholding plan resulted from the need for BEE compliance. What they did understand is that they were promised a part of the business, though they were not promised a say in how it w ould be run. They were to expect to receive dividends at some point and these dividends would be based, in part, on how long they worked with the winery and what position they held. For the workers, at least during the time of this field research, their pa rtial winery ownership provided them with no additional power or decision making abilities. It provided them, rather, with an abstract promise about a future pay Rydal countered that the workers stood only to gain, which was in accordance with Fair Trade principles, and thus should bear with Namaqualand while it worked out the kinks in the commercial partner has signed all guarantees. So the workers have no real risk. They have put in no money. They just put in sweat. But not even that because they get paid To date, workers at this winery have not received any dividends or shares of the years of working with the winery and if there are enough funds to pay out the divid ends. The shareholder clause, signed by workers who did not understand what they were signing, also stated that the Board of Trustees consisting of the five Afrikaner brothers
118 and one coloured worker had the right to decide whether profits should be reinve sted in the business or if a portion of it should be released for shareholders. If this six man then the workers went another year without seeing any tangible benefit fro m their ownership share. Though one worker did sit on the Board of Trustees, worker interests were not represented. The coloured worker noted to me on numerous occasions that he felt bullied in these meetings and often even told that he did not have the bu siness acumen necessary to make these kinds of decisions about the company. At the same time that he was degraded, the brothers also tried to create fissures between this coloured Trustee and the other workers. Regardless of the motivations of the brothers or the effectiveness of the shareholding system, workers at Namaqualand genuinely did have a better quality of life then workers at neighboring farms . Their housing, as with the housing at the majority of other Fairtrade certified farms, was significantly improved over their non Fairtrade peers in the area. The winery employs a nurse to visit each worker regularly. CrÃ¨ches have been upgraded. A sports field is in place. My research shows that one of the greatest benefits of Fair Trade certification has bee n the quarterly meetings where workers are kept up to date on winery business, especially in relation to their ownership stake. Workers had mixed feelings about the shareholding in the winery. Some of the people I interviewed felt pride in owning something so big, even if only in part, and hoped that if they stayed with the company for long enough their shares could go towards providing better lives for their children. Others felt that the fact that they had never received benefits was further proof of thei r own marginality. Workers were also
119 concerned that they did not help to develop the shareholding model of which they had a 26% ownership stake. Ownership in the Label Andre, Cherise, Aldert, and I sat in plastic chairs in the middle of the local township winter night. We all wore our coats and scarves, as most South African buildings do not have central heat, with this rustic church being no exception. Fortunately, Andre was a church leader with keys to the building, so we were able to have privacy and space when we gathered to discuss the operative. respected and soft spoken veteran farm worker, when sp because of the p loved female community member in her mid helping the workers and we [the Joint Body] have many more plans. But Kloof Uitsig worried that the project will not run smoothly if the [Kloof Uitsig] Cola.
120 strong and consistent but I can already feel a difference because we [the Joint Body] Aldert, a Blourivier Joint Body leader and prominent member of AFIT, shared the workers will lose the 25% shares from the wine that Kloof Uitsig exports through Terroir, but we will still get the premium. If we [the workers and Kloof Uitsig] stay with Terroir, we will still get the 25% from the Blourivier label on the grapes that they As this conversation with Andre, Cherise, and Aldert shows, workers were far more concerned about the stability of the Blourivier project than they were about their 26% ownershi p stake in the Blourivier label. Fairtrade premium funds and donations that time. Though Fairtrade awareness was notably high within Blourivier, awareness of compliance was not. Only when Blourivier was faced with extinction was the worker ownershi p stake in the brand recognized. This ownership stake, during the time of my field research, provided workers with a new element of power: the ability to weigh in on
121 the potential split between their wine distributor (Terroir) and their producers (Kloof Ui tsig). The BEE ownership stake was intended by its Fair Trade South Africa advocates to provide workers with an additional income stream and more power. While no monetary gain was realized during the time of my fieldwork, workers did gain additional power within their Altusberg Valley assemblage. The final way in which a farm/winery can become compliant with the BEE ownership criteria and achieve Fairtrade certification is through providing workers with a 26% share in the wine label, or the brand. This is the most ephemeral of the ownership models, as management could decide to start a new brand and discontinue the original brand, at which point all of the equity discovered in the original brand is lost. One of the main wine estates I researched enacted t his ownership model . A South African bottler/exporter , Terroir, saw an opportunity to diversify its business into the arena of ethical trade, and, thus, in 2005 approached one of its leading volum e wineries about becoming Fair Tr ade certified and selling t heir wines exclusive ly to the bottler/exporter. Kloof Uitsig cellar, a cooperative of 14 farmers, most of whom are brothers or cousins, agreed. Terroir joined with Kloof Uitsig to begin their joint venture Fair Trade project, called Blourivier 7 . Blourivier received its start up funding partially in loans and partially in gifts from Terroir. These upstart costs paid for expenses such as improving housing and getting the paperwork in order. Together with the over 2000 worker s on these 14 farms, the Terroir developed Blourivier, the new ethical label/ brand of wine. Terroir owned 74% of the label and the Kloof Uitsig workers owned 26%. T he 14 producers and members of the winery 7
122 cooperative did not have an ownership stake. They simply sold their wine in bulk to the bottler , Terroir , who then controlled the marketing and exporting functions. The sourcing agreement between the Kloof Uitsig and Terroir ended in 2011 and the two entities did not agree on a new way forward together until after this research was compl eted . Terroir now sources Fair Trade grapes and undertakes joint venture Fair Trade programs with a number of farms, not just Kloof Uitsig, though the two bodies continue to work together non exclusively. The transaction between workers and the winery ent ailed a less tangible ownership model than the land or winery options. Workers gained a right to 26% of the profits that Blourivier label generated, though they were not involved in marketing and development of the label. They had a right to decision makin g concerning under which umbrella Blourivier would operate, Terroir or Kloof Uitsig, but they were not involved in the day to day questions concerning the label. Rather, workers became the face of the label. Along with an ownership stake came the understan ding that they would be used as a marketing tool, a transactional benefit for Terroir. Kloof Uitsig workers noted numerous benefits to their Fair Trade certification, and Fair Trade awareness is notably high amongst Kloof Uitsig workers. Most workers felt that their working conditions had improved since the introduction of Fairtrade. Workers believed that they had a say in how the Fairtrade project, Blourivier, was implemented, though they noted that they felt white management was still overly involved. Re gardless, through the Joint Body, they were able to influence the ways in which premium money was spent. Specifically, the Joint Body developed a scholarship program for farm worker children pursuing higher education. These worker
123 representatives were also tasked with selecting the scholarship recipients each year. Workers expressed great pride in the program and their role in selecting beneficiaries. Workers stated that there were tangible benefits to Fair Trade certification as well. Houses were upgraded and workers now have greater access to a variety of trainings, which Blourivier both organized and provided free transport to and from. These meetings and trainings included adult education classes, computer classes at the meetings for each of these trainings/clubs and found them to be positive experiences for all. The project also funded a chemical dependency rehabilitation program, within which individuals were sent to Ca pe Town for treatment. I was impressed by the drug and alcohol rehabilitation support group meetings that were held weekly on the farms. The meetings were conducted by a psychologist specializing in chemical dependency and were well attended by farm worker s. Workers drank coffee while sharing their experiences with addiction and recovery. They encouraged each other on their road to sustained sobriety. These meetings all also had a strong religious component. The meeting opened with a prayer and attendees fr equently credited their religious beliefs for helping them stay sober. This program was especially relevant for workers in the Syndrome. Addiction and FAS are a legacy of the apartheid era dop system, whereby workers were paid in part in wine in order to lower costs for producers and create a cycle of dependency.
124 Workers were most proud of what Blourivier was able to do for their children. Kloof Uitsig children have access to crÃ¨ches that are of a high standard. The buildings are in good repair, the teachers are more qualified than their non Fair Trade counterparts, children are provided with nourishing meals, and their general h ealth and well being is promoted by weekly visits from a traveling nurse. The children perform better when they enter school due to the high standard of the crÃ¨ches. Blourivier bursarie s (scholarships). Each year, the Joint Body sponsors at least two new recent high school graduates to continue their studies at a university or technical college. As long as these students perform well and advance within their degree programs, they are sup ported until graduation. Workers maintained several critiques of Blourivier, Kloof Uitsig, and Terroir. They argued that their wages were too low, women struggled to gain permanent work rather than seasonal contracts, and the housing could be further impr oved. Most importantly, a majority of workers interviewed said that they still do not feel empowered, arguing that the dynamic between producer and worker remains unchanged. Workers expressed that they do not take part in decisions on the farm and most, ev en Joint Body members, feel that they do not have a say in how the Blourivier Fair Trade project is run or in how premium money is spent. Though they are pleased with the projects that have been undertaken, they do not feel that they have ownership of the project or the premium money.
125 Though Fair Trade awareness and knowledge of Kloof Uitsig projects was especially high within this cooperative of farms 8 , workers had little understanding of BEE. My research found that only workers who were involved in the Joint Body leadership maintained some degree of understanding of the 26% share workers held in the Fair Trade label. Most workers understood their Fair Trade benefit to simply be the projects undertaken by Kloof Uitsig. When Kloof Uitsig and Terroir ended their original contract, leaders from both businesses attended Joint Body meetings and explained their position to the workers. Both Kloof Uitsig and Terroir envisioned moving forward with a Fair Trade project (Blourivier for Terroir and a newly establishe d project and brand for Kloof Uitsig), which would involve, in some capacity, the Kloof Uitsig workers, the original beneficiaries of the Blourivier project. It was through these discussions that workers learned of their 26% ownership stake in the Blourivi er label. This raised questions for the workers about what would happen to their 26% if Kloof Uitsig and Terroir formalized their split. The year 2011 was a time of upheaval and education for the Blourivier project and its workers. Workers came to understand the full scope of the Blourivier project, though this only served to present new questions about ownership, dividends, and the origin al loan from Terroir to Blourivier for upstart projects that had no easy answers. The Kloof Uitsig producers and Joint Body members demanded to see the books and find o ut exactly what this 26% share meant and when the workers could expect to see dividends. Though there were no criminal or otherwise unethical bookkeeping or 8 Interview participants from Kloof Uitsig answered that they knew what Fair Trade was and were able to accurately describe it at a higher rate than any other farm where I conducted interviews.
126 business practices being undertaken, that there was so little awareness of this contract amongst pr oducers and workers speaks volumes to their power within the global assemblage and their commitment to the Blourivier project. It became clear if it was not already that Terroir was the driver of the Blourivier project, not the producers nor the workers. Fortunately, Kloof Uitsig and Terroir were able to repair their relationship, though the contract changed. Kloof Uitsig was no longer contractually obligated to sell all of their Fair Trade certified grapes to Terroir, but the co step up to the plate and become more involved in Fair Trade operations and the Blourivier project. This new contract was signed after the completion of my field research, thus additional research is needed in order to determine the current state of the Bl ourivier project and the new Kloof Uitsig/Terroir contract. I found that this cooperative wine estate produced the best outcomes of all three of my main research sites for workers, both in terms of improved livelihoods and empowerment. The Blourivier soci al development projects were implemented and managed by two men, one former Kloof Uitsig farmer and one representative of Terroir, who were both fully committed to Fair Trade principles and improving worker livelihoods. These two Afrikaner men could also r elate to the producers, and thus were able to rally their compliance, if not their support. The case of worker ownership in the brand in order to obtain BEE compliance shows how the flexible bureaucracy allows for innovation on the part of its participant s. Blourivier stakeholders used the ownership model to further empowerment and improve
127 model selection, but rather of its motivation to certify and strong management. understanding of contracts, notably the Blourivier brand ownership contract. Blourivier, more than the other two case studies presented in this chapter, shows how multi stakehol der assemblages can operate in ways where various groups all have genuine power to negotiate. Workers were able to decide if they wanted to be a part of Terroir or Kloof Uitsig moving forward and also had more control over the projects administered with Fa irtrade premium funds than any other group I met. In the case of Blourivier, flexibility was good for development because it genuinely improved the power position addendum compliance options, provided more tangible results with Blourivier than with the other two case studies. However, ownership was still valued by workers at each site, even if workers wanted more from their ownership. Concluding Remarks My research shows th at regardless of which ownership model was implemented, is unsurprising considering that addendum creators opted for a reformist approach to agrarian reform rather than promoting a more transformative approach. Worker power increased as a result of the BEE addendum. Though the already powerful stakeholders (producers, winery owners, bottlers and exports, etc.) did not want to relinquish any of their power while implementing Fair Trade principles and BEE compliance, their power
128 was questioned in new ways by workers as a result of these systems. I argue that wer is the first step towards empowerment. The unintended consequence of the BEE addendum with a few exceptions, specifically on the rare occasion when the workers were given the 26% outright is that Fair Trade certification in South Africa has served to f urther enrich white farm owners. It is, however, important to note that Fair Trade wine producers in South Africa are not the themselves often disempowered in the competiti ve global wine industry, struggling to stay afloat when forced to compete with their subsidized international counterparts, local celebrities who own estates, and local farmers with international financial backing. Farm owners are enriched through the 26% share of the land, brand, or winery because the workers (as a singular unit) must purchase this share and because compliance with the BEE addendum contributes to Fair Trade certification which grants access to niche markets. Workers purchase their ownersh ip stake in two main ways. The first and preferable way for the workers was through government land reform reform process and inability to maintain a coherent transference strategy forced the end of these grants in 2010. The second way was to secure a bank loan to purchase the 26% share. Workers were responsible for repaying this loan, however, the loan repayment was not taken out of their already meager paychecks. Rather, the loan Trade premium money dispensed to the Joint Body.
129 Fair Trade provided white farm owners with access to niche markets in a competitive global wine industry and also unintentionally enriched often struggling producers by providing helpful cash flow through the sale of 26% of an aspect of the this reality. White producers enter Fair worker focused policy addendum. Workers lack of power at the sites of production and within the Fair Trade assemblage makes them especially vulnerable to these unintended consequences. Despite the problems with the BEE addendum, during the 2011 referendum on whether or not to maintain the addendum, workers through the platform of a worker focused NGO voted unanimously to keep the addendum and push for reform. Workers argued that maintaining a 26% ownership share of the business provided an opportunity for positive agrarian transformation. At the refe rendum workshop, they noted that if education about Fair Trade and BEE were improved, workers would be better positioned to demand the reforms to which they were entitled. They felt that the BEE addendum gave them a foot in the door in the Fair Trade assem blage and an opportunity for their voice to be heard. However, in keeping with Scheper Hughes (2005) argument that well positioned contingencies in the assemblage are able to influence outcomes in advantageous ways, worker voices were not prioritized and t he BEE addendum was removed in 2012, with removal advocates citing that the addendum made South African producers less competitive due to this additional trade
130 barrier. Advocates for removing the addendum also noted that more producers and workers would be nefit if Fair Trade in South Africa grew, which was easier with fewer obstacles to certification. Though ownership in the land was the most sustainable approach to fair trade certification and BEE for the farm worker, the success of a system was determine d much more by the motivation of the white farm and winery owners and the education and political savvy of the workers than by the ownership component that was selected. When the Afrikaner producer believed in empow erment and transformation, Fair T rade and the BEE ownership component was implemented in ways that were more sustainable and advantageous for the workers. When the producer used Fair T rade as a way to access niche markets an d diversify the business, Fair T rade certification efficacy was diluted. maintained that a bigger salary would be the number one improvement to their and their time this research was conducted, the minimum wage was R68 per day 9 , though farm strikes and negotiations in 2012 resulted in a significant increase, bringing the minimum wage to above R100 per day 10 . Despite the varied success of the Black Economic Empowerment adde ndum to South African Fair Trade certification, workers and their supporting NGOs argued that the measure was still in its early days and that by virtue of existing at all provided an 9 At the time of this research, that equaled appr oximately 10USD per day. 10 This is significantly less than the workers demanded and is still a low wage, leaving farm workers as one of the most vulnerable groups in South Africa.
131 avenue for reform. Regardless, new entrant producers and other Fair Trad e stakeholders argued that the BEE addendum was an obstacle to certification and thus a barrier to trade. The BEE addendum was removed in 2012 in order to expand Fair Trade in South Africa. Even bigger than what the BEE addendum meant for South Africa is what it meant for the rest of the Fair Trade world. South Africa successfully forced Fairtrade in to the on the ground realities in various producer states. South Africa took the global standard a addendum to South African certification, marking the first time that Fairtrade adjusted its standards for a producer nation. Other nations followed suit, demanding that their specificities be honored as well in order to promote positive social change that reflected the needs of particular national contexts. And so a flexible bureaucracy was born.
132 CHAPTER 4 MOTIVATION TO CERTIFY Introductory Remarks Hannes drove his bakkie 1 down the red, rocky dirt road leading to the Chenin Blanc section of his large family owned wine farm in a marginal wine growing region of eager to show me his well pruned vineyards and recently upgraded farm worker housing. I sat in the passenger seat, having displaced its usual patron lap. After Hannes dropped me off at my own car later that day, the corgi returned to his rightful seat while farm workers crowded in the back of the truck as they were transported to their next work location. Hannes mused while looking out over his expansive vineyard in an area considered a 2 for South African white wine production because its quality bespoke not Voortrek ker Cellar and joined Namaqualand, Voortrekker invited me to come back. The new Managing Director told me that the prices Voortrekker paid was in line with other a rgued that Johan, the MD at Namaqualand Winery, was the visionary he was looking for. Johan promised the new producers who joined Namaqualand Multi Estate Winery high prices for their grapes, with a premium for grapes of exceptional quality. 1 Bakkie is a commonly used Afrikaans word meaning a small, easily maneuvera ble truck. 2 by others throughout the course of my field research.
133 Fair Trade certification provided the winery with the sustainable trade A common refrain from producers I spoke with across the Western Cape was that they must consider business finances before addressing worker empowerment Hannes, a new entrant producer with Namaqualand Winery, echoed his fellow Fair capital triumphs over labor is no surprise. This chapter explains why producers seek out and gain Fair Trade certification, concluding that their motivations are not in line with ut rather with the realities of capitalism. Though the Afrikaner producers with whom I spoke unanimously mentioned the upliftment of their workforce when addressing their motivation to certify, they were honest that it was a secondary concern. First and fo remost, they argue that they are responsible to their own families and for maintaining the solvency of their farms. They support worker empowerment, but only so long as it is in line with business realities. Theorizing Motivation Producers seek Fair Trade certification to strengthen the financial position of their farm by obtaining higher prices for their grapes and more stable trade relationships. Because worker empowerment is not the primary motivating factor for certification, worker power within the Fai r Trade global assemblage is diminished, despite Fair owners who are empowered within the South African assemblage but not necessarily within the global wine market are able to seek, gain, maintain, and los e certification, all without input from the farm workers for whom the system was built. Motivation in South Africa is primarily informed
134 by producer interactions with one another and with Fair Trade standards; workers and Fair Trade principles are secondar y concerns. This motivation moves Fair Trade from a space where it is able to reform inequalities to a regulatory space, primarily concerned with the enforcement of standards. Interviews with South African winery directors, workers, and local competitors confirm that most producers join Fair Trade not because of a deeply held belief in empowerment or an interest in the global Fair Trade movement, but rather because of local realities . For examp le, producers seek better prices for grapes, stable trade relationships, and/or a break with the corruption at and the introduction of st are undertaken voluntarily, such as Fair Trade certification, standards are an initial barrier to market acce ss. But once the labor, environmental, and traceability standards are met, new and often improved markets are made accessible. While producers and how adherence to them im proves the viability of the farm. Producers are commonly urged to certify by a bottler/exporter that sees an opportunity to capitalize on the niche market of ethical trade. Workers regularly lamented in both formal interviews and more casual conversation t hat though they were grateful for the benefits of Fair Trade most notably the improved opportunities afforded to their children they felt used by producers and the system. Workers consistently argued that power relations at the sites of production remained unchanged.
135 In order to assess the transformative potential of Fair Trade, we must examine nd Ong 2007:12). Collier and Ong seamless, and mobile; assemblage implies heterogeneous , contingent, unstable, Scheper Hughes argues that Fair Trade prov to success and empowerme nt (Scheper Hughes 2005:13). T he more empowered a stakeholder is as they enter the Fair Trade system, the more likely they are to see a benefi t from part aking in the system . Numerous studies reveal farm workers as one of the most vulnerable populations in South Africa (du Toit 2004; du Toit 2005; Human Rights Watch 2011), therefore it is not a surprise that the worker stakeholder group enters into the Fair Trade assemblage with very little power. Worker powerlessness is evidenced by the lack of worker involvement in a farm obtaining Fair Trade certification. This chapter details how producers are motivated to certify by personal or business interest rather than by a desire to facilitate worker empowerment. I argue that when workers 1) do not participate in accessing certification; and 2) are not the reason for certification, Fair Trade becomes a regulatory space (detailed below) rather than a vehicle for su stainable transformation and workers have limited power within the assemblage. Wineries and the assemblage Collier and Ong (2005) posit that stakeholders who enter into a global assemblage from a position of power will maintain that advantaged position wi thin the assemblage. Winery directors who often source, manage, bottle, and export wine
136 grapes from numerous producers certainly enter the assemblage from a position of power. Winery executives often push individual producers towards Fair Trade, promising better prices for their grapes and conditions for their workers. These executives do not have the regular contact with workers that the producers have, a reality that further removes farm workers from the spaces where decisions concerning the pursuing of c ertification take place. Decisions about certification lie with empowered white stakeholders, while workers remain passive recipients of the development projects selected for them by others in the assemblage. No group holds more power within the South Afri can Fair Trade assemblage than winery executives. Producers and the assemblage I argue above that producers are empowered within the South African Fair Trade wine assemblage but not within the global wine industry. That producers seek certification to bol ster their businesses is understandable. One may even laud their business acumen and ability to capitalize on niche market access. Producers are themselves struggling with disempowerment in a competitive global wine industry. Space on European shelves is l imited and South African producers face a number of obstacles to gaining that shelf space. They must vie for buyers with similarly priced competitors from South America as well as overcome domestic hurdles such as deregulation and the end of state supporte d agricultural subsidies and marketing boards. Additionally, they face changes in the political climate that make their land tenure less secure and the expectations for labor support (i.e. upgraded worker housing, improved health and safety standards) more intense and costly. In order to maintain the viability of their farms, producers often need to undertake creative business strategies. Accessing niche markets is one such strategy. The viability of these
137 established farms certainly contributes to the stab growing regions. Though farm workers remain vulnerable, they also remain employed. 3 I found that many producers approach worker empowerment from an essentialist understanding of Coloured identity, which has detrimental effects on the spirit in which Fair Trade standards are implemented. 4 An essentialist outlook uses race as a (Erasmus 2008:174). ho hold essentialist views are often vehemently opposed to the idea of race as a biological fact, they nevertheless continue to treat both race and culture in much the same way: as all determining, fixed racial essent ialists, the politics, cultural characteristics, and often aspirations of a people in the South African context, at least biological or social, it is treated as the key indicator of identity. W hen South African producers in the hired labor certification scheme enter Fair Trade not on ly motivated primarily by business concerns , but also embracing a n essentialist perspective on coloured worker s, the result is, logically, not as empo wering for farm workers as consumers and policymakers envision . Speaking frankly about problems with Fair Trade implementation and effectiveness, Steffen, a European Fair understa nd empowerment. often dehistoricized the plight of the coloured 3 4 There are three primary perspectives on race and coloured identity in South Africa: essentialist, instrumentalist, and constructionist (Erasmus 2008; Adhikari 2009). These schools have varied in popularity over time and through various er as of political governance. Currently, the constructionist approach is favored, and other views are seen as outdated, overly racialized (or in some cases even racist), and simplistic.
138 oppression with revisionist eyes. T hese are the same producers that the Fair Trade system under its hired labor certification scheme tasks with implementing social and economic upliftment. Workers and the assemblage I illustrate above that workers were not an empowered stakeholder group within the Fair Trade global assemblage during the time that this study was conducted from 2009 5 and passive recipient. This reality does not negate the real benefit that workers receive because of certification nor the fact that they are a part of the assemblage. Collier and Ong (2005) argue that by virtue of being a global assemblage, the assemblage is flexible and always shifting. That workers are already stakeholders even though possessing limited power speaks to the potential for change in the assemblage dynamic. Workers may be positioned to gain more power and to influence the system in more direct ways in the future. My research found that worker awareness of Fair Trade and other empowerment initiatives like Black Economic Empowerment is growing, as is worker disenchantment with the status quo and their willingness to challenge paternalistic norms, evidenced by the 2012 farm worker strikes in the Western Cape. Certification and the assemblage Fairtrade certification is a non human stak eholder within the global assemblage, entering into a complicated, established web of relationships and placing new demands 5 Empowered groups, such as wineries or producers, often half heartedly consult with workers about policy directive in an effort to gain their consent, or their rubber stamp of approval.
139 upon them. Through these demands (i.e. certification standards), producers begin to view their own position differently. They feel i ncreasingly obligated to their workforce though they still maintain that Fair Trade premiums, rather than the business, should finance upliftment initiatives and see opportunities for improvement, where few were previously visible. For example, Fair Trade standards require certain basic housing standards for workers, such as access to a toilet and walls and a roof that protect inhabitants from inclement weather. Before Fair Trade, producers were more likely to 6 , but once inadequaci es were highlighted, they were willing to commit to the upgrades. Certification has the power to enact standards and promote certain outcomes. Wineries, producers, and wor kers are able to negotiate for changes to standards and/or auditing procedures. And while certification and its standards provide a degree of discipline, this discipline can be circumvented by other stakeholders within the assemblage ( Dunn 2005:175). Fair Trade as a Regulatory Space This chapter argues that Fair Trade is more a regulatory space than a transformative movement. It imposes standards as a way of making consumers to purchase Fair Trade products . Dunn (2005) illustrates how certification of meat in Poland did not necessarily encourage higher a quality product, but rather created 6 Not all producers saw these housing standards as necessities, but rather as comforts. One producer, however, argued that a worker could not be expected to perform well on the job if he went home to an inadequate structure.
140 informal and formal channels for the product . Consumers who could afford and had intere st in the formal, certified product had the ability to purchase it. However, certification changed the hoops more than it changed actual meatpacking practice (Dunn 2005). Transparency as envisioned by certification advocates was not achieved. Bernstein and Hannah posit that non state regulatory bodies be they with environmental, social, or other goals promote Despite the aim of certification systems to insert m arket logic into daily activities, I found that local stakeholders within the assemblage hold a significant degree of power that helps them, intentionally or not, to subvert this embedding. insincere, standards can eas ily be circumvented, thus leaving a large proportion of the Additionally, stakeholders frequently noted support produ cers, and thus to further embed the Fair Trade logic of reform through markets. Global Assemblages making in East socialist ndustry had the effect of furthering neoliberal governance, eliciting 2005:178). T his increased oversight and newly implemented discipline has not transformed the meatpacking industry nor the way that many businesses interact with the informal market. Rather, it has created a regulatory space that serves primarily to
141 support consumer co nfidence, though only changing the industry in superficial ways (Dunn 2005). Mutersbaugh (2005) supports this conclusion, stating that Fair Trade operates in a semi public regulatory space. This certification and monitoring is and document production on a track that parallels the commodity movement, occurs within a semi public space and results in an uneasy tension between a social interest in open inspections of ecological and socially just production and retailer interest in Imposed discipline, compliance criteria, and audits are effective u p until a certain point. Certification is a limited mode of regulation, powerful in some ways and not in others. As a techno political intervention, Fair Trade is successful in mandating basic reforms, such as a prohibition of child labor and improved documentation regarding labor and environmental practice. My research shows, however, that Fair Trade, has not been successful in regulating agrarian change, transforming power relationships, or assessment concerning their empowerment. Certification involves both self discipline which is founded upon motivation and surveillance (audit). Within the South African Fair Trade assemblage, the real indicator of reform is not the regulation imposed by certification bodies, but rather the motivation of the producers and winery executives, as these are the most powerful stakeholders. When they g far more likely to participate in mandated environmental sustainability practices and to contribute to the socioeconomic development of their workers. Producers are less likely
142 to subvert Fair Trade principles when they seek certification as more than simply an opportunity for market access. Dunn ways to circumvent disci that this is also true of Fair Trade. In order to access the niche markets that many producers find necessary in the competitive global wine industry, they pursue Fair Trade certification. However, some producers rema in unwilling to change their actual practices. Producers are subject to surveillance, but this certification practice is built upon a shaky foundation that does not necessarily include the self discipline that certification bodies envision for its particip ants. Producers often look for ways to maintain certification but change only as superficially as possible, thus holding on to what they consider to be both competitive advantages and their personhood. As Dunn does with polish pigs and markets, I a i m to do with Fair Trade in the context of the Western Cape wine industry. S he argues that evaluating complex social technologies . Though it aims to do more, Fair Trade is a space that is not yet powerful enough to change the terms of production and reform a post apartheid agrarian landscape. Rather these terms are already set by centuries of exploitative history. Due to its positi on as a regulatory space rather than a site of sustainable transformation, Fair Trade is able to reform the terms of production in the rural Western Cape only superficially. This is evidenced by the three primary examples cited in this chapter, each showin g how these farms/wineries came to seek Fair Trade certification. These producer motivations are defined by an interest in securing stable and transparent
143 trading relationships and garnering profit. They make almost no mention of worker empowerment or of r eforming problematic paternalistic power relationships that in turn determine economic viability. This, in turn, results on outcomes that are more empowering for producers as they struggle with their own positionality within the global assemblage than for workers. That workers are not a part of the decision to certify and are only a secondary motivation by producers for gaining certification results in modest outcomes of the conservative reformist rather than revolutionary variety. Deregulation and Agrarian Struggle This sentiment was echoed by many a South African producer, who feel that they a re forc ed to find new ways of remaining viable in the deregulated era. Deregulation, also called liberalization, is the process by which government policies are reformed to promote international competitiveness, efficiency, and market logic (Stiglitz and Charlto n 2005). In order to achieve these goals, tariffs are cut, government subsidies are removed. However , such totalizing reforms rarely occur in Western, industrialized nations. Rather, this purist reliance on the free market is typically imposed as was the policies implemented in developing countries in the 1980s in order to correct fiscal imbalances and integrate these emerging economies into the free market or undertaken in or der to appease trade partners, honor international accords (i.e. the 7 7 This was the case in South Africa when Nelson Mandela became the first democratically elected president and a leading figure in the African National Congress political party, the key party in South
144 the Growth Employment and Redistr ibution (GEAR) strategy took South African agriculture from being one of the most protected sectors of the economy to near total deregulation (Mather and Greenberg 2003). U nder the regulated state system , white commercial farmers had access to governmental extension services and government controll ed marketing boards that took care of packing, marketin g and distribution for producers (Mat her and Greenberg 2003). Farmers no longer have access to government subsidies, even black emerging farmers, though they are competing domestically against white co mmercial farmers who enjoyed subsidies for decades and internationally against producers from developed nations who still enjoy agricultural subsid ies, despite a variety of accords calling for the end of such subsidies. Extension services were severely cut back and state marketing boards were privatized. A leading South African wine industry figure stated to me an argument I had hear many times before from producers: that unsubsidized South African farmers 8 Communist Party, another key party in the anti apartheid struggle, would push the newly democratic state towards socialism. Mandela was quick to ease these fears and resultantly was accused of being more ca pitalist and a larger proponent of Thatcherism than Margaret Thatcher herself (Klein 2007). 8 This individual, a well educated Afrikaner elite, lamented that South African business people, especially ssing deregulation, hypocritical rules concerning agricultural subsidies in the Global North versus the Global South, and the difficult plight of the modern n South plagued former leader of the ANC Youth League, who was forced to resign from his position and incurred a five year ban from the party in 2011 after an array of cor ruption allegations and PR debacles. Malema made headlines in 2010 mic and humanitarian decline. He was also criticized for regressing the gains made in the arena of race relations after he sang an apartheid Kill the Farmer) land reform efforts, which were cha racterized by the mass dispossession of White landowners who had squat on the land.
145 apitalist farming in South Africa has long been propped up by a complex of subsidies, loans, controls and protections. Once these supports are removed and farmers have to compete in the domestic and, event u ally, the international market t 1996:152). Opponents argue that South African producers, especially emerging black farmers, face serious challenges in terms of their ability to compete with their subsidized and bette r supported international counterparts. It is in this ultra competitive global market environment that South African producers look for any advantage that they can get. Obtaining niche certifications is an mpetitive edge. Producers opt for a variety of certifications that show their responsibility in terms of environmentalism, traceability, empowerment initiatives, and numerous other ways to make their particular product or brand more desirable to consumers. It is within this era of heightened competition that Fair Trade emerged and grew in South Africa. Case Study One: Namaqualand Organic Winery Embracing the capitalist creed that profit and success require continual growth, Namaqualand Organics, with its ambitious team of brothers at the helm, recognized that its fortune had changed when it became Fair T rade certified in 2006. At this t ime it was the only dually Fair T rade and organic certified winery in the wor ld, and one of the leadin g Fair T rade producers in South Africa. The brothers saw that the d emand for dually certified Fair T rade and organic wine was greater than the supply and thus sought to fill this gap in production and c apitalize on this new market. They intended to capital ize on the barriers that standards place to those outside of the certification and the market access that certification often produces (Dunn 2005).
146 I n order to meet this demand (whether real or perceived), Namaqualand had to either purchase more land or in corporate other farms into its fold through either sourcing agreements or more deeply embedded partnerships. One of Namaqualand Voortrekker Winery , argued that Namaqualand showed poor planning by growing a market bigger than it could supply. Accord ing to Voortrekker , in order to supply this producers who were not contractually obligated elsewhere. Namaqualand first attempted to purchase land for which it would plant the needed grape varietals in an organic fashion. However, the disorganization of South African land reform coupled with questionable worker ownership plans on the p art of Namaqualand proposal and the subsequent shelving of this particular growth strategy. The winery instead opted to pursue a partnership agreement with area vineyards that wou ld incorporate these farms into a newly created multi estate, all under the banner of Namaqualand Organic Winery. Unfortunately for Namaqualand , most area producers were already obligated to sourcing agreements with other major area wineries that were larg er and more established than Namaqualand . However, there was a group of disgruntled wine grape producers in the neighboring Gemsbokvlei area, located between the Vergesig River and the sea in an area described to me by one of Namaqualand Namaqualand is located in a semi arid part of the Western Cape that is agriculturally sustained by its lifeline, the Vergesig River. Though wine grapes grow well in the region,
147 the district is not known for producing quality wine. Rather, it is considered to be an area with high yields that are well suited for bulk wine production, a less prestigious and profitable sector of the wine industry, but one that supplies the lower end demand in the wine market. Gemsbokvlei , however, has a climate an d elevation becoming of a more highly esteemed wine growing region, especially for its white varietals like Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, and Chardonnay. Namaqualand had been regularly critiqued by its buyers for having low quality wine. One particular b uyer who I was able to meet with during his yearly visit to South Africa to tour empowerment projects, attend various business meetings, and vacation in beautiful Cape Town with his wife noted to me that he maintained his relationship with the winery becau se he believed in their empowerment goals and projects and was easily able to sell their wine throughout European supermarkets. However, he said that he had been encouraging Namaqualand for years to improve the quality of their wine. He said that believed winemakers and winery staff, but rather resulted from viticulture practices and a need to produce grapes of a higher quality and then pare this improved quality with other relevant impro vements. One of the winemakers noted another reason for incorporating the Gemsbokvlei producers into the Namaqualand fold: a different harvest timeline than the rest of Namaqualand ca large region because grapes are often ready for harvest in Petriland sooner than in Gemsbokvlei , due to the differing climates. This is good for the production timeline,
148 e specially with limited cellar capacity. It allows the cellar to harvest grapes at their optimal time, rather than basing harvest upon cellar constraints, thus allowing for the improvement of wine quality. Namaqualand lity and Gemsbokvlei quality grapes and struggle with their current cellar proved to be the perfect storm for new partnerships, the increased presence of Fairtrade in the region, and an Vergesig River Valley scandal of note. These issues wi ll be addressed in greater detail throughout the remainder of this section. Scandal at the Voortrekker Cellar From November 2010 November 2011, I met with all nine of the Namaqualand new entrant Gemsbokvlei producers and spent extended time with four of t hese producers and their families. During this time, I engaged in casual conversation and formal interviews with these farmers on a variety of topics. We discussed their life histories, their farms, labor issues, viticulture practices, worker housing, Fair T rade policy, municipal politics, deregulation, land reform, America, their desire for me to find a nice plaasjappie 9 and settle down in the area, etc. However, no topic got them more Voortrekker Voortrekker Winery is one of the largest wineries in the Vergesig River Valley and in the entire South African wine industry. Approximately 90 producers contribute grapes to this farming and cellar cooperative. Voortrekker contributes largely to the bulk m arket, but has a thriving market in bottled wine as well and is the production house of 9 Plaasjappie
149 several award winning white wines. 10 The Voortrekker Managing Director noted to me that the size of the cellar makes it difficult for producers to genuinely buy in fully to the mission of the winery and to participate in all aspects of the business, even though it is k to the This lack of understanding of international markets coupled with a financial need to receive the best prices for their grapes as possible is a main reason why disenchanted Voortrekker producers cried foul when the question o f a stolen/mismanaged/unfortunate market loss of R18 million (approximately 2.25 million USD) occurred in 2010. I found that how an actor viewed this R18 million depended upon their vantage point and was also a primary driver in how they approached the Voo rtrekker Scandal aftermath. There are several rumors and theories concerning what exactly it was that happened to this money. I found that when some of the producers became upset about the situation, they accused certain influential leaders at Voortrekker Cellar and these Voortrekker leaders argued that there was an unfortunate market loss due to a strong rand and an overly competitive global wine industry. They most c ommon rumor, however, was the funds were simply mismanaged with no malintent. I had a hard time confirming what exactly did happen, as the issue was quite sensitive, though to the best of my understanding the following is the most plausible and common rumo r concerning 10 than international award bodies.
150 the R18 million. The tale of mismanagement goes as follows. Voortrekker leaders sought to diversify their cellar and invest in agricultural storehouses. They chose their Western Cape storehouse poorly and also at a disadvantageous time, thus l osing the investment when the storehouse went bankrupt. Pricing and p ayments I argue that these new entrant multi estate producers left their previous cellar and joined Fairtrade cellar not because they believed in the principles of empowerment espoused by the Fair Trade movement or because their workers demanded or encouraged them to take a new direction, but rather because these white commercial producers felt that it was the best financial decision and because they were disillusioned with their current cellar. All of Namaqualand ulti estate farmers noted that the primary r eason for switching cellar was because they were facing dire financial straits with their current supply agreement with Voortrekker . Several of t hem feared bankruptcy. The Fair T rade Officer at Namaqualand noted to me that upon one of her visits to speak w ith the n ew entrant producers about Fair T rade and its requirements, she noticed threatening bank letters lying open on the counter. The producer was clearly distraught, to the point that she offered to return later. The financial concerns faced by Voortre kker producers and their hope of greater returns on their farming investment if they moved to Namaqualand illustrates my central finding in this chapter: producer and winery stakeholder groups are motivated to pursue Fair Trade certification to improve the ir financial position. New entrant producers believed that joining Namaqualand Winery offered them a preferred payment method. There are two main issues concerning payment: 1) the price that producers receive for their grapes; and 2) the timeframe within w hich producers
151 receive this payment. Producers argued that Voortrekker underpaid them for their grapes. They did this in two ways. The first occurred because these Gemsbokvlei farmers felt that they produced high quality grapes, especially in reference to the rest of the region. They saw their counterparts at some other area wineries being paid not only for their yields but also being rewarded for delivering quality grapes. They argued that Voortrekker , due to mismanagement, did not value quality, but rath er focused exclusively on quantity. According to these producers, grapes of all quality levels were thrown into tanks by varietal with little regard for keeping the higher quality grapes separate in order to use them to produce an estate quality level of w ine that would complement the lower priced wine. This claim was denied when I interviewed one of the Voortrekker winemakers. He argued that Voortrekker tries to separate the quality grapes from the average ones whenever cellar capacity allowed for such a m easure. He acknowledged that sometimes keeping the business running trumped making the quality of wine that he would like to make, a sentiment echoed to me by winemakers at cellars throughout South Africa. Namaqualand offered these Voortrekker Cellar prod ucers more than double what they were being paid previously for some of their more sought after cultivars. For example, producers who were willing to go the organic, Fair Trade path were offered R6000 per ton for their pinot noir grapes a varietal that Nam aqualand needed to supply its buyers and fulfill trade agreements rather than the R2700 that they were paid before. Prices for grapes varied depending upon organic status, varietal, and quality, though prices across the board were better with Namaqualand t han they had been with Voortrekker . These higher prices were very attractive to producers teetering
152 on the verge of bankruptcy and also to those who were disillusioned with their current cellar and wanted an opportunity to improve their business by receiving higher prices from what they saw as a better managed winery. Critics of the move from Voortrekke r to Namaqualand , especially those critics who were affiliated with the former, argued that Namaqualand was offering these producers unsustainable prices in order to lure them away from their origin al cellar. It appears as though these accusations are well founded, as numerous interviews with Namaqualand management resulted in statements about Namaqualand financial situation and its fears concerning ability to pay producers in the agreed upon time frames. The former speaks to larger issues within the winery that will be discussed in greater detail later in this dissertation. The latter may in actuality not be as big of a problem for these new entrant multi estate producers as naysayers would claim. One producer noted to me that he trusted Namaqual and far more than Voortrekker . He said that if there was a problem, he felt confident that Namaqualand would contact him directly and discuss the issue rather than simply having terms dictated to him, as he felt had happened during the aftermath of the R18 million debacle. He said that if Namaqualand was unable to pay on time for whatever reason, he trusted that they would come to an acceptable agreement on new terms together. This issue of payments will be discussed in greater detail below. The second way that these producers feel that they were underpaid for their grapes occurred when the R18 million shortfall had to be accounted for in order to keep the cellar running and avert potential bankruptcy. The Board of Directors opted to dock producers in what t hey were paid for their grapes the following year. One producer
153 said that he had been paid, on average, R1800 per ton for his grapes the year before the scandal but would only be paid R1100 per ton for the 2010 year, a price that puts him under severe financial strain and threatens the viability of his farm. This payment strategy is legal because the producers are technically co owners of the cellar under the co op agreement and thus are responsible for any losses that the cellar incurs. Still, the producers who would eventually leave Voortrekker argued that their position had not been properly represented and that it was unethical to expect them to shoulder the burden for the mistakes of others. I inquir ed as to what exactly their position was and how the R18 business plans, but, unfortunately, a clear answer was n either not articulated by them n or understood by me. These produ cers were upset that the Voortrekker Chairman of the Board wa s rumored to make approximately R75,000 per month (9,375 USD), a figure that these producers fou nd unacceptable considering their views about mismanagement and corrupt ion within the cellar. They felt that the Director should pay a financial price for the mismanagement and not the producers. A local wine grape and vegetable producer who is affiliated with neither Namaqualand nor Voortrekker told me that he felt that there was no scandal at all. He board business investment. He says that Voortrekker pays their producers fair prices, but unfortunately it had promised its producers prices that could not be supported by the
154 actual sales 11 and thus had to pay the producers less. Again, this is legal due to the co op/shareholding structure, where this would not be legal with a sourcing agreement entered into with a private cellar. 12 This particular area producer says that there is no scandal, just hurt feelings and pocketbooks. He argued that other local producers who are dispassionate on the topic feel similarly, though I was unable to either verify or unseat this claim. Concerning the issue of payment timelines, Namaqualand pa ys the farmers nine months after they deliver their grapes to the cellar after harvesting them. Namaqualand e plan to double our bottle sales, which means we have to double our stock and cash flow, concerning how quickly producers must be paid for their grapes in order to ensure b usiness sustainability, allow farmers to reinvest in their farms, and improve trade relationships throughout the value chain. In the sense of payments, Fair Trade regulatory practices were preferential to conventional winery practices. Producers clung to the letter of the law concerning payment regulation. This shows how, when motivated to do so, stakeholders are invested in and adherent to certification standards. 11 There could be a variety of reasons for this: disadvantageous exchange rates, mistakes in the winemaking or bottli ng process, lack of global demand for a particular varietal that year, heightened competition that forced down prices, etc. 12 Revising the payment terms would also be illegal if the co op had a sourcing agreement with a non member and this contract was vi olated.
155 The 1999 and 2004 c onstitutional d ispute Even when stakeholders are motivated to join Fair T rade for whatever reason, they sometimes find it difficult to do so. This section details the contentious legal dispute concerning the new Namaqualand (it is worth reiterating that workers did not have a voice in this struggle). The following discussion of legality and business practice contribute to my argument that Fair Trade is a regulatory space rather than a genuinely transformative ethical certification. Producers were primarily motiv ated to change cellars because of contentious business issues rather than worker empowerment. Though part of Fairtrade regulation is improved commodity chains, the organization primarily markets its empowerment objective to consumers. Producers strictly ad hered to the standards they were motivated by (i.e. payments, pricing, and stable trade relationships) at the same time that they rendered the standards that were not motivating factors (i.e. worker empowerment, reformed power relationships) mere regulator y spaces. These new entrant producers fought to leave Voortrekker and join a Fair Trade cellar for business reasons. As noted previously, producers argued that they were not able to meet the needs of their workers if their businesses were struggling. Voort rekker Cellar drafted co op constitutions in both 1999 and 2004, though producers debate which constitution actually holds. Per the explanation I received from producers, the 1999 constitution has a delivery obligation while the 2004 constitution states th at producers have a delivery right Voortrekker argues that the 2004 constitution was never made legally valid and thus the 1999 constitution stands. This means that the producers who have decided to leave the co op and go with Namaqualand instead are free to do so, but only after
156 their delivery obligation quota is met. If it is not met, the producers pay a penalty, something that they cannot afford in the current economic climate. If a producer under delivers on his quota, he still has to pay the fixed overheads on the quota for one year and then Voortrekker suspends his membership with the co op. The producer will remain a shareholder in the company but there are no benefits. The producers who want to /are leaving Voortrekker argue that the 2004 constitution is indeed legal and that they are not obligated to deliver their grapes to that cellar. This debate over the two constitutions is a primary reason for fears that a pricey legal battle will ensue in order for the producers to leave Voortrekker and sell their grapes elsewhere. Several of the new entrant multi estate producers and individuals in management positions at Namaqualand speculated that because Voortrekker was reticent to let producers leave the co op and sell grapes to other wineries, they would try to run up the legal fees faced by their less able to pay adversaries as a way of ending the conflict in their favor. One particularly vocal producer who is cha racterized by maintaining a state of stress filled tantrums when questioned or when new farming or HR practices are required Voortrekker Cellar] Other actors lamented that they would never be able to get away from Voortrekker because of long standing agreements. One young Afrikan er farmer who recently took over the family farm (however, he has not yet officially inherited it, as his father is retired and still fully among the living, though cataracts and the ANC in equal terms, he jokingly notes make him question whether or not this is desirable), a job for which he has been preparing his entire life, felt that it was unethical to force him to
157 continue an agreement that his father had signed years ago. They feared that they would continue to pay a penalty to the cellar for an untold number of years for not meeting their contractual quota. Voortrekker management countered that the c ontract was very clear about all of these issues that farmers in general loved to complain and exaggerate and that I must remember to take their lamentations with a grain of salt. Rebuttal from Voortrekker m anagement I met several times with management an d other leading personnel at Voortrekker Cellars in an effort to understand their perspective on why nine of their producers were motivated to join Namaqualand . According to Voortrekker Namaqualand management approached them in July of 2010 t o discuss how to the two wineries could work together to improve both of their financial portfolios and become a preeminent partnership in the Vergesig River Valley. However, shortly after this meeting, Namaqualand representatives spoke with some of the di sillusioned producers as well and encouraged them to give their bulk quality grapes to Voortrekker in an effort to meet their quota until they could get out of their contracts. They also suggested that during this time, the producers supply Namaqualand wit h their high quality grapes, for which Namaqualand 13 When discussing what he viewed as a serious betrayal, a key Voortrekker work with someone tells you one thing and then undermi argued that the two other major cellars in the region felt the same way, saying that Namaqualand 13 This section is presented from the perspective of Voortrekker Cellar. The majority of this story has been confirmed by both Namaqualand and the new entrant multi estate producers, though these individuals place the story in a different light, spe cifically that Voortrekker producers did what they had to in order to keep their businesses afloat in the wake of Voortrekker Cellar mismanagement.
158 promises to work in harmony with other local cellars and promote Fair Trade in the region. 14 During my formal interviews with people in management positions at Namaqualand , I inquired as to what they thought Namaqualand region was. Most informants initially made positive comments, respondi ng that Namaqualand was seen as innovative, making great strides in wine quality, promoting human interests and caring about its workforce, etc. However, during a few candid moments with some members of management , informants said that they feared that oth Namaqualand Fair Trade certification, thus, does not necessarily bestow positive reputations on its members, at least at the local level. Rather, these reputations are built upon t he interactions between Fair Trade stakeholders and other community members and businesses. Namaqualand is almost entirely driven by its Managing Director, and its business practices follow his lead. Opinion on Namaqualand who are affiliated with Namaqualand , people who have worked with the MD in a variety of ways, and people whose business interests are in opposition to his) ranges from regul With paternalism that I saw mimicked throughout the chain of command, Voortrekker management argued that Namaqualand misled the producers with promises of better prices and quicker turnaround on pay ment and by villainizing 14 I did not speak with these cellars and cannot confirm this claim.
159 Voortrekker 7). In this parable, Jesus argues that if a sheep goes astray, it i sheep and bring him back to the fold, regardless of its reasons for leaving. Thus, armed with the Bible, Voortrekker management approached the black sheep. Voortrekker was eager to keep these black sheep producers (also referred to in Gemsbokvlei Voortrekker , like Namaqualand , realize d the value of sourcing grapes from this unique for the region set of vineyards which were characterized by better growing conditions than neighboring vineyards. This specifically meant its proximity to both the sea and the river and more rainfall and a te mperature that was approximately five degrees Celsius cooler than in other parts of the region. Voortrekker wanted to keep these high quality grapes from the Gemsbokvlei region in order improve the quality of its wine. Secondly, Voortrekker wanted all pro ducers in that particular part of the Vergesig need to lock in the Voortrekker producers and have them supply this region only so we can engage in viticulture practices management noted. If all producers in a region are contributing to their local cellar (something not possible in most parts of the Western Cape, though it is possible in more remote regions like this), viticulturis ts can dictate the terms of growing in a more uniform
160 way. This means that they can prioritize using or avoiding certain pesticides 15 and they find pruning and picking techniques the work for all of the farms that contribute to the cellar. Also, having all of the producers in a particular area contributing to the same cellar is a marketing tool, allowing the cellar to advertise its wine as community oriented to buyers interested in buying wine that not only is palatable and well priced but also has an intere sting back story. Thirdly, Voortrekker wanted to keep these black sheep as a way of salvaging its dam aged reputation. Regardless of how or why it happened, a significant amount of money was lost and 9 producers from one of the best growing spots in the re gion left for another cellar. In a part of the country characterized by scrutiny and gossip 16 , Voortrekker did not want to suffer any bad press and jeopardize its position as an esteemed cellar. Personally, management did not want to be viewed as inept or p otentially corrupt. In an effort to keep the black sheep and quell any potential rumblings amongst other producers, the Managing Director of Voortrekker ng, he still had several producers to meet with, but had met with all of the black sheep. He said he thought it would be a 50/50 chance that Voortrekker essful in convincing any of the black sheep to return, though contractual issues forced some to 15 If one particular farm opts not to use a pesticide but its neighbor chooses to use the pesticide on their fields, it is possible that wind could transfer traces of the chemical to the field that opted against its use. This is particularly problematic when an organic field is positioned next to a conventional field. 16 Some argue that this is because there is nothing else to do, others argue that gossip is seen as sport, and still others that it facilitates the socioeconomic hierarchy in the region.
161 still contribute part of their harvest to Voortrekker and made them worry that they may have to leave Namaqualand in the future. The MD said that on these visit s he spoke with the producers about their concerns, voiced his concern that Namaqualand were unsustainable, reminded them of their contractual agreements, and spoke about Voortrekker Amongst other business matters , this vision incorporated a Black Economic Empowerment component that would help to improve the livelihoods of their workers and provide the cellar with more governmental funding opportunities and increased access to markets that looked for BEE compliance . Voortrekker was even looking into various ethical certifications, though Fair Trade was not atop their list due to the expense of implementation and maintenance. The Managing Director said that it was important to Voortrekker Cellar to holistically impro ve communities and the lives of many barriers in South Africa and this is another barrier, 17 called Christians abused thei r workers for such a long time. The MD said that he entered these meetings with a nuanced view of what Voortrekker expected from the black sheep. He wanted them to return to the fold, but was also aware that he had legal fo oting to be litigious if he wanted to be. He said that 17 The barriers he is referring to are trade ba rriers that developing nations often face, trying to remain competitive without subsidies against foreign producers who are subsidized by their governments, and the demands placed upon South African producers who want to sell to certain markets to make sur e that their workers are adequately compensated and maintain a certain standard of living and working conditions.
162 for the people who remained loyal to Voortrekker word that people use quit As I sat with the two leading figures at Voortrekker , it became clear that they were uncertain as to how best to bring the black sheep back and enact reunification. irector silently nodded his head in agreement, but in the next breath stated that he felt the black sheep had been misled by Namaqualand created amongst producers that is creating a lack o f sustainability with wine producers enter with Voortrekker management argued that disill usionment did not permeate the cooperative the way that the nine producers who left for Namaqualand claimed. One of Namaqualand was successful in turning the heads of Voortrekker producers or if our producers were genuinely ups et, Voortrekker would not Voortrekker , according to Voortrekker management, was going well. They were considering numerous new business ventures, aimed to become BEE compliant, and planned to obtain some sort of ethical certification. They had also been approached by other South African wineries and bottlers about forming strategic partnerships. The Managing Director that I spoke with a well educated Afrikaans man with ties to both corporate and agricultural South Africa was newly
163 appointed 18 and intended to bring increased professionalism to the winery as well as a modern touch that embraced upliftment measures for workers while still prioritizing business sustainability and growth. Namaqualand management, in contrast, m ade half jokes about Voortrekker going bankrupt someday and Namaqualand buying the entire operation. Empowering Workers Though these producers clearly joined the Fair Trade fold firstly for financial reasons, it would be unfair and untrue not to highlight their secondary motivation: improving worker livelihoods. Without fail, every producer that I spoke with noted that they wanted to join Fair Trade because it would benefit their workers and provide their businesses with the necessary capital to invest pro perly in worker housing, crÃ¨ches, and the numerous development projects that they wanted to do but could not afford. Though I often found that I had a different definition of empowerment than producers and different ideas about how to go about the practica lities of empowering marginalized workers, I believe that the vast majority of producers I spoke with genuinely wanted better lives for their workers. I did, however, feel frustrated on a regular basis at the denial these same producers embraced when it ca me to acknowledging their part and the part of apartheid laws and practices in the impoverished and vulnerable lives of farm workers. 19 18 He was likely hired due to concerns about mismanagement and the future of the cellar. 19 For example, producers regularly lamented the drunke n state in which they often found their workers. However, they would not address how the historical legacy of the dop system whereby workers were paid in wine in an effort to maximize business profits and to metaphorically chain the workers to the land lef t workers and entire communities with serious addiction and dependency problems that undermined educational, personal, and professional opportunities and made these communities difficult and often dangerous places to live.
164 One producer said that he wanted to be a part of Fair Trade because it would be the workers are learning new things and have a building and skills trainings so that the workers can better their lives and be more people with the money I get from Voortrekker , but going with Fair Trade and Namaqualand I was present numerous times throughout my fieldwork while new entrant producers and workers signed their various multi estate contracts. These contracts provided workers with clearly stated and legally binding agreements concerning their work expectations , pay, conditions of employment, etc. They also detailed that Namaqualand Organics was a Fair Trade certified multi estate. One particular day in November of 2010 stands out to me. Before each new section was signed, two coloured representatives from Namaq ualand who helped facilitate Fair Trade and were responsible for promoting worker interests in the winery stood before the 12 coloured workers and explained their contracts to them as best they could. The two representatives took their time and addressed c oncepts of Fair Trade, what their contracts meant and the stability they provided, how the shareholding agreement worked between them and Namaqualand , and why signing was necessary. The White producer was present during over half of this session. Workers s hared with me later that they were skeptical about signing the contracts because many of them were illiterate, meaning that they were forced to trust people
165 employment. They als o noted that they were skeptical about what Fair Trade could mean for their lives and why Fair Trade standards were making them sign these been promised so much before a nd nothing had made an impact. They felt forgotten by the urban focused post apartheid state and betrayed by management and feared that Fair Trade would be yet another in a long line of disappointments. All 12 workers signed the legitimate contracts provi ded to them (I am certainly not arguing that these contracts swindled the workers in any way), though this process highlighted two troubling issues. The first issue was that the workers did not fully understand what they were signing. Instead of asking que stions after the informal information session provided by the Namaqualand representatives, they just nodded their heads and rushed through the signing process. I argue that this illustrates the deeply embedded paternalism that permeates the Western Cape Pr ovince. Coloureds, especially rural coloured farm workers, have been socialized through a variety of ways to accept the will of their authority figure, and, if they do not or cannot, to resist passively. This passive resistance occurred primarily through escapisms such as drug and alcohol abuse, which frequently rendered the individual unable to work. 20 20 Despite widespread lack of mobi lity and access to transportation amongst farm workers in remote, rural areas in the Western Cape, accessing drugs and alcohol was easy, be it expensive. Impoverished workers often made their own alcohol. This was typically a wine style fermented beverage called pap in Afrikaans. Pap is not created with the purpose of tasting good, but rather with that of getting drunk quickly. If a person had neither the inclination nor the resources to make pap , they could either find a way into town to purchase a drink f rom either a liquor store or a shabeen, or they could purchase drugs and alcohol from smugglers. These smuggler set up wendy houses (an informal shack dwelling that costs approximately R6000, or 750 USD, to erect) dedicated to their enterprise or people wo uld sell the goods out of their homes. Alcohol from these establishments sold for as much as double the price that one would find in a legitimate retail store. Workers primarily purchased drugs and/or alcohol from these smugglers only when other options we re not available (i.e. it was after regular business hours for legitimate stores or it was Sunday, when alcohol was not allowed for purchase). These informal enterprises were illegal and police regularly shut them down. However, these individuals would oft en
166 This resulted in inconveniencing the producer at minimum and threatening his business at maximum, especially if numerous workers were unable to work on an i mportant day of harvest (though this was uncommon). These workers were taught from an early age that they were not to question their authority figures. Children see their fathers being berated in the fields by the paternalistic producers and their mothers yelled at in the kitchens. 21 Workers were humiliated and punished for going against the directions of their supervisor or producer. The rural Western Cape is a place where coloured people suffer such intense racism and disrespect on a daily basis from a va riety of people in numerous places that workers certainly would not have questioned their contracts, and not because they do not possess the necessary intelligence, but b ecause they have so few examples of rural coloured farm workers speaking with authority figures in an empowered fashion. The workers were silent when the producer was present in the room, though when he left they would ask the two Namaqualand facilitators for occasional points of clarification concerning things like where exactly they were supposed to sign, whether moments do not signify empowerment or a willingness t o publicly question the contract, they do show that workers felt more comfortable speaking when the producer was not present. receive tips that the police were coming and moved shop first. Regardless of whether a smuggler was arrested and his or her shop shut down, a new one would emerge to meet the market demand. 21 Though this is not a rule and some producers and their wives treat their employee with respect, this scenario is still a common one.
167 The second issue that this signing of worker contracts illustrates is the unfair advantage afforded to white producers over their coloured employees. The two coloured Namaqualand representatives noted to me (a statement that I later confirmed with producers and workers alike) that the White producers had been given ample opportunity to look over the multi estate contracts that Namaq ualand drew up and to rebuttal. In fact, the producers had several months for this process. Though Namaqualand was not all that flexible with the contracts (this was in an effort to they did provide all of their new entrant producers with an opportunity to question and comment upon the contracts before they were finalized. After finalizing the document, producers were then required to sign it in order to join the multi estate. Workers did not have this luxury. They were presented with their contracts, provided with an information session concerning them, allowed to ask questions 22 , and then asked to sign. This all occurred over the course of one afternoon. They had worked in the fields before being brought fields when it was complete. However , Namaqualand does hold quarterly meetings where workers are given the entire day off, fed two meals, present ed with information about their employment and Fair Trade, and broken up into focus groups to discuss on farm issues. This facilitation of knowledge and communication is a significant improvement over Namaqualand Fair Trade counterparts. As the pre vious sections on producer motivation and worker contracts clearly show, workers are not motivated to join Fair Trade, are typically not included in the 22 Which, as previously stated, they did not ask questions.
168 decision making process, and often do not understand what Fair Trade is. Rather, the terms of their emp loyment, their contracts, and their status as a worker on a Fair Trade certified farm are dictated to them. I argue that empowerment initiatives that are started with such a shaky foundation are likely to produce disappointing development outcomes. The mot ivation for pursuing certification derives not from the worker stakeholder group but rather from the winery and producer stakeholder groups. Supporting the claims of Collier and Ong, my research shows that groups that are already relatively empowered withi n South Africa maintain their power as farms enter the Fair Trade global assemblage (Collier and Ong 2005). Case Study 2: The Blourivier Project Like the previous case study, this study of the Blourivier Project shows that motivation to certify resulted f rom the interactions of empowered stakeholders with each other and with international markets rather an a desire to uplift marginalized workers. I argue that empowerment projects that are built on shaky foundations of disempowerment have a difficult tim e e mbracing transformative practice. I also argue that by not requiring worker consent to certify and decertify, Fair T rade as an organization is missing an important opportunity to correct historical inequalities and to s ubstantiate its claim that Fair T rade is a movement intended to benefit and empower its dis advantaged beneficiaries. Fair Trade should empower the worker stakeholder group by requiring their input, thus forcing an improved position within the assemblage (Collier and Ong 2005). Without worker input and investment, Fair Trade certification apartheid agrarian reform (Dunn 2005; Muterbaugh 2005).
169 The initial idea for the Blourivier proj ect and its Fair T rade certification sprung forth from a dual desire to capitalize on an emerging niche market and to improve the quality of life and working conditions in an area of the Western Cape with one of the worst reputations concerning racism, alc oholism, abuse, and worker disempowerm ent/impoverishment. Still, Fair T rade was only explained to the workers once it was already in the process of being implemented. Producer buy in has been a tough sell, as in the previous case though Kloof Uitsig produc ers have been more voc al about their issues with Fair T rade, possibly because they have had 5 additional years in the system to adjust and experience its difficulties and shortcomings. However, for all of these issues with motivation for certification and the numerous battles that will be described in the following sections, the Blourivier Fair T rade project has been successful in improving the quality of life of the workers . Kloof Uitsig Kloof Uitsig Wine Cellar is located in the Altusberg River Valley, approximately one hour north of Cape Town in the Western Cape 23 on the outskirts of the tiny dorpie 24 of Klipdorp . Klipdorp is separated from Cape Town and the more highly regarded and expensive winelands surrounding the city (i.e. wine growing and production towns like by Kloof Uitsig Mounta ins, which can only be crossed by a perilous but stunningly 23 When I shared with a Cape Town friend the two research sites I had chosen to study Fairtrade wine production, he laughed a 24 Dorp to the use of diminutives, thus ca lling the dorp a dorpie is seen as sweet and friendly. When people (Welcome to our little village! What do you think of this village?)
170 beautiful mountain road or by paying a toll and taking the Kloof Uitsig Pass. This Boer 25 Klipdorp is a tight knit and almost exclusively Af rikaner and Coloured community. It is a very conservative area that prioritizes to Afrikaans language and culture. It is also a region with a terroir and temperate climate that are well suited to growing wine grapes. Kloof Uitsig cooperative cellar was e stablished by six local producers in 1962. Over a dozen producers are now members of and contributors to the cellar. All of these producers live in the area and most of them occupy the same kinship network. Kloof Uitsig is renowned in South Africa and many of the other BRICS 26 and African states to which it exports 27 for producing excellent wines for their particular price point and the cellar frequently wines award s related to quality and value, especially with the Sauvignon Blanc grapes. Creation of Terroir Wine Terroir Wine is a bottling and winemaking corporation that sources grapes from various vineyards in the Western Cape in bulk and then bottles, markets, and exports them. Terroir was created in 2004 by Alexander , a Swiss national who came to South Af rica in 1994 after the fall of apartheid. Alexander began his work fresh out of college 25 Though this transl mountains separate rural and agriculturally sustained Afrikaners from their more modern and better educated urban counterparts in the Northern suburbs of Cape Town ner stronghold and quintessentially Afrikaner towns like Stellenbosch and Paarl. Residents of Klipdorp commonly started farming, social life, wealth, rel igious fervor, etc. with a mixture of disdain and jealousy. 26 BRICS stands for Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa and is an association of emerging and newly industrialized economies. These states have organized in an effort to collaboratively maintain their rapid growth trajectory and position as leaders and policy innovators in their respective regions. 27 Kloof Uitsig also exports to Europe, though the wine is not as highly esteemed there due to the wealth of international wines that are impo rted and tight competition amongst them for awards.
171 and worked as a farm manager at a prominent Western Cape vineyard collective and winery. He said that he was surprised and horrified to find the now illegal dop system still in effect, despite the change in government. 28 Alexander insisted that the practice be stopped immediately and tried to back up his assertion with empirical evidence from workers. He conducted a survey amongst a select group of workers 29 and asked them if they would like a pay increase, more food, or more alcohol as the raise he planned to give. Alexander argues that no one responded that they wanted a pay increase, but he decided to do it anyway because he felt this path held the greatest opportunity f or derailing alcoholism and promoting community development. Though Alexander was growing with his current company, he decided that it was time to enact his dream and start his own business. Alexander was increasingly s boss and also felt that his current company did not prioriti ze developing its human capital, to the detriment of its financial capital as well. During his early days as a farm manager, Alexander was told not to go into the village where workers communed on the weekends because it could be dangerous. Alexander rejected the idea that he would not be allowed to socialize with the people he worked all day with during the week. He said that through these social interactions he came to see that workers should a lways be able to approach management with issues, and thus put together a workers committee. These were principles he wanted to implement in his 28 The dop system was the system of payment whereby farm workers were compensated for their labor in wine, breeding a culture of alcoholism and dependency in these impoverished, rural communities. 29 His s ampling selection methodology was not clarified. This representation of the situation is per my interview with Alexander and these are his recollections.
172 there can be a social dimensio n and an economic one and these two dimensions Alexander left his current job, accessed the necessary funding and approached Kloof Uitsig Cellar about being the exclusive pr oducers for the envisioned Fair T rade component of new bottler and wine export company. He approached Kloof Uitsig because he had an existing trade relationship with them; there was already an element of trust present in the relationship. He also wanted this Fairtrade project to be entirely u nder the umbrella of one cellar (a contained and manageable assemblage). He feared that i f only part of cellar went Fair T rade , traceability could be a problem. There c ould be iss ues with keeping Fair Trade wine separate from non Fair T rade wine an exercise in excellent cellar management and appropriate cellar capacity and about Fair T rade labor practices being implemented on on e farm but not on its neighbor. Alexander approached Kloof Uitsig about the entire cellar and all of its farms becoming Fair T rade c ertified and selling their Fair T rade wine in bulk exclusively to Terroir for five years. Under this contract, Kloof Uitsig would be allowed to bottle wine unde r an own brand and sell it on conventional (i.e. non Fair Trade) domestic and international markets . Some Kloof Uitsi g prod ucers were skeptical about Fair T rade and about signing an exclusivity agreement. However, the cellar was not in the strong financial position that it is today, and, after a great deal of conversation between the two entities and internally amongst the Kloof Uitsig producers, Terroir and Kloof Uitsig came to agreeable terms and signed their contract, thus creating what would be called the Blourivier Project. Thus, these two stakeholder groups entered the Fair Trade global assemblage from a
173 position o f power and decision making capabilities (Collier and Ong 2005). This power, as evidenced below, continued throughout the five year contract. Project Vision Project leaders wanted gain Fair T rade certification, thus garnering improved market access and pro viding the impetus for empowerment and labor reform. This certification was achieved in 2005 and Terroir sold the first Blourivier wines in 2006. They have remained one of the most successful Fair Trade wine brands in the world. Blourivier has also implem ented numerous successful projects since its inception, namely the college bursary project, the drug and alcohol addiction rehabilitation group, improvements, advancements in early c hildhood education and consistent access to healthcar . Labor conditions have also improved significantly, though deep changes involving shifts in on farm power relationships and decision making capabilities have not transpired. T his is, in part, due to the motivation to pursue certification. Because workers were not a part of the certification discussion, it was easy to sideline them in other decision making as the project continued. Though the assemblage has benefited workers in tangible terms, their power remains limited (Collier and Ong 2005). Winery stakeholders were more committed to worker empowerment than were producers. Producers viewed power as a zero sum game, meaning that if workers gain ed power, they lost it. Perhaps more than any other group in post apartheid South Africa, rural Afrikaners are concerned about their place in the New South Africa . They fear that the land that that they have dedicated their lives to and that has been in their families for ge nerations will be stripped from them and they will be left with no land, no
174 income, no place to turn 30 , and no identity. These very real issues about maintaining Terroir , who will continue exp orting wine and will maintain their position as a member of the transnational capitalist class (Harvey 2005) regardless of whether power is re envisioned in the valley . T he leaders at Terroir have a lot less to lose if workers gain power within the assembl age. Producer Response to Certification Kloof Uitsig producers continue to exhibit same hesitancy with Fair Trade that they expressed in 2005 when Alexander approached them about seeking certification. The producers argue that Fair Trade is a lot of work and that it does not benefit them; there is only a benefit for the workers. Kloof Uitsig producers also feel that they signed a disadvantageous agreement with Terroir in 2005 because they were not in the same position of strength within the assemblage that they are in now. In 2005, Kloof Uitsig wine was still an emerging brand, despite its long history. However, the past 7 years have seen . Kloof Uitsig producers felt that workers and Terroir benefited, but that they were left out. Part of the reason they felt that they did not receive any benefits was because of what they considered to be an unfair shareholding agreement (discussed below). Contrastingly, Alexander and other leaders at Terroir expressed dismay that the Kloof 30 Afrikaners came to the Cape Town area in the latter part of the 17 th century, while the English did not arrive until the mid 19 th century. White Zimbabweans, who faced their own dispossession of land under the Mugabe regime beginning in 2000, only settled there in the 19 th century and were thus not as deeply embedded in their country. Afrikaners settled what is now the Western Cape Province almost 400 years ago after arriving from present day Holland. They feel that if they were to be dispossessed of their land, tion and land reform in the South African citrus sector, I found that when broached with the topic of land reform and potential relocation, Afrikaner farmers staunchly proclaimed that they were African through and through and could not envision leaving th e African continent or their land. This shows how deeply linked African soil is with rural Afrikaner identity.
175 Uitsig producers could be so ungrateful. Speaking about the producers, Alexander s ll along but shucked their responsibility until Fair Trade for the producers. Their cellar had grown in prestige and value since becoming Fair Trade certified, even the conventional wines . Another Terro ir leader agreed, adding that s were happier, healthier, financially solvent, empowered, and had increased opportunities for them and their children. Some producers did re alize that they gained when their workforce was strengthened. However, they felt that they sh ould benefit financially, like Terroir, in addition to benefiting from the human development component. I spent months trying to figure out exactly what was in th e Kloof Uitsig / Terroir contract. I was also promised a copy of the contract by several people, though this never materialized. 31 Every different actor seemed to have a different take on it. Producers, workers, and Blourivier administrative personnel were es pecially confused. Leaders of the Kloof Uitsig Board of Directors, the Joint Body Chairman and Vice Chairman, and Klipdorp based Blourivier leaders were not able to answer numerous basic questions about the contract (i.e. how much does Blourivier still owe on the loan, Blourivier brand if the contract is not resigned, etc.). The contract came up for renewal in 2011, though even if a new or a 31 I do not think that this negatively impacts my research. The goal was to understand the motivations of various actors, how they position themselves within policy and contractual negotiations, how they feel about the other actors in the system, and how al l of these issues affect the implementation and efficacy of Fairtrade. While I would have loved and would still love to see a copy of the contract to absolutely verify certain claims, it would not affect my argument or this dissertation.
176 replica contract was signed, Kloof Uitsig was still obligated to contribute a certain tonnage/quota of grapes to Terroir through their 2012 harvest. 32 One of the most contentious issues in the relationship between Kloof Uitsig and Terroir is that of shareholding in the Blourivier brand. 33 At the time of my research, Terro ir owned 74% of the brand and the Blourivier project (meaning the workers) own ed the remaining 26%. The producers did not have a share in the brand. Alexander said that Kloof Uitsig was offered for purchase what is now the workers 26% of the brand when the project started , but he did not provide a share option for the co op to own any of Terroir This power dynamic is notable within the assemblage showing that much of the power lies with the winery stakeholder group. Alexander stated th at if producers had opted to buy that 26% share, they could have easily been a black empowered company, instead of struggling to perform well on their BEE scorecard. However, according to Alexander, let go of any percentage o f their farms or the cellar, and thus anything that Terroir created. Rather, he gave 26% of the brand to the workers outright because the Blourivier project had A lead ing Kloof Uitsig Kloof Uitsig producers] want to see a situation where the producers will benefit as well because Fairtrade says its mission is to advance small producers and their workers. Why must we go through all of the Fairtr been one with Terroir Kloof Uitsig did not even 32 The South Afric an harvest, depending upon the region, typically runs from January until April. Grapes for white cultivars are typically harvest at the beginning of the season and red cultivars at the end. 33 various ways that Fairtrade ventures can become certified, including ownership in the brand (or label).
177 have any brand equity, despite owning the land, employing the workers, running the farm s, making the wine, and shouldering what he felt was the majority of the responsibility for the Blourivier project. 34 He said that Kloof Uitsig producers were pleased that Blourivier was a success and that the workers lived more comfortable live s , but why do we have to be the only party that d oes not benefit? Toward the end of the five year contract, Terroir grew increasingly disenchanted with Kloof Uitsig because the former felt public what should be private conversation . Kloof Uitsig accused Terroir of unethical business practices, of using the workers to benefit themselves financially , and of operating in a way that was in opposition to the spirit of Fair T rade. These accusations were made to Fairtrade pers onnel and even some of the major international wine buyers, with whom Kloof Uitsig was in conversation about becoming their new supply source once the exclusivity contract with Terroir ended . Kloof Uitsig argued that they only did what they had to in order to spread Fair T rade values, to promote producer and worker interests, and to keep the project solvent when Kloof Uitsig took it over after the 2012 harvest. They argued that if Terroir had treated Kloof Uitsig have to worry about what was being said. Kloof Uitsig decided that it must make a break with Terroir and create a new and more diversified business strategy . Kloof Uitsig producers and personnel argued that they could create a business plan that would be beneficial to the wo rkers and to the producers. However, after consideration, they decided that Kloof Uitsig was not yet in a position to go it alone, thus they began discussions with various potential business 34 Terroir disputes this claim, arguing that they shoulder the burden of maintaining the Blourivier project.
178 partners before deciding to enter into a Fair Trad e joint venture with another local cellar, which was an established South African winery and long time holder of Fairtrade certification. At the time of my departure from the field, this new c ellar owned and developed two Fairtrade wine brands, which would now be transferred to a trust in which the new cellar and Kloof Uitsig each owned half. The two entities planned to move forw ard together as a joint venture . Terroir responded by seeking ou t new sourcing agreements and trade partnerships of its own. It spoke with individual producer and cellars alike and signed numerous contracts. It too decided that it must diversify and become less dependent upon any one particular grape source. Leaders at Terroir noted to me that it was far easier to find producers who were interested in selling their grapes to and/or partnering with Terroir than it had been when they signed the agreement with Kloof Uitsig . This ease was the result of a competitive global wine market and greater recognition of the Fairtrade brand. Unfortunately, these issues are related to market acces s and not to worker upliftment, illustrating that power within the South African Fair Trade global assemblage remains in the hands of elites . Still, Terroir argued that it was now in a position where it could be more selective with producers and cellars, only picking those with which it felt it could genuinely engage with human development. Terroir conveyed to me that it did not want to be in a similar position as before; a position where it felt it was entirely tasked with upliftment and the producers complained about not getting their fair share, even if to the detriment of the workers.
179 Workers Gain Power Within the A ssemblage Leading figur es at both Kloof Uitsig and Terroir attended several of the Blourivier monthly Joint Body meetings 35 in an effort to explain the contractual issues to the workers and plead their case concerning the best way forward for business sustainability and worker up liftment. Both sides addressed why their plan was in the impressed that both parties opted to avoid going negative, rather choosin g to argue more constructively for how thei r plan would best meet the needs of workers. Workers took the dispute between Kloof Uitsig and Terroir and the resulting uncertainties very seriously. 36 Their primary concerns were that their rights would be diminished and that funding for the project woul d be impaired. They also saw an opportunity in the split to potentially improve the project. This was a key moment of transformation for the assemblage. Workers for the first time had real power to influence outcomes, rather than being passive beneficiarie s of the decisions of more empowered actors. They understood that the rights that they had known under Fairtrade, though more limited than they would like, were in jeopardy. Workers believed that the producers were more interested in their own needs and i n business sustainability than they were in the well being of workers. This mistrust caused a disconnect between 35 T he Joint Body is the democratically elected group of workers on Fairtrade certified hired labor farms that in theory control Fairtrade premium funded projects on the farm. There are various degrees of empowerment amongst Joint Bodies. 36 Though not all wor kers understood or cared about the dispute, I was surprised by the level of awareness and concern. My part time research assistant noted to me that people in her on farm housing compound spoke about the issue regularly and were worried about what it meant for their futures and the future of the project.
180 workers and producers that left the former feeling disempowered and unheard. One farm worker succinctly expressed to me a sentiment that I hear d echoed throughout my fieldwork feel more involved in decision stated matter of factly. He and other members of the focus group I was leading went on Blourivie r began, but the white wor ried that this lack of decision making on the part of workers would be amplified with Terroir out of the picture, as the relationship between wo rkers and producers was already tense and paternalistic . Terroir also provided a fresh face and a new dynamic in what had been generation after generation of oppression and workers silence. Workers worried about Kloof Uitsig rtified wine without Terroir and what th potential failure would mean for the project. Numerous workers, for example, expressed to me that if Kloof Uitsig was not successful at selling Fair T rade wine abroad then premium funds would not continue to flow in to the project . They understood that these funds were responsible for improved crÃ¨ches, increased access to healthcare, and better housing. Many feared that their living conditions would deter iorate to pre Fairtrade levels without premium money and did expect that producers would maintain a commitment to improved worker livelihoods if they had to pay for this out of their own pockets. Though discussion of the split primarily sparked worker anxiety, there was also an element of hope that accompan ied the discussion. Workers listened carefully when Kloof Uitsig leaders presented their new business plan and argued that breaking from Terroir Blourivier project
181 though it would be under a diffe rent name that would result in larger premiums for the joint body to administer. A few optimistic workers saw an opportunity to improve direct bargaining power with producers rather than having to address management through other means. They felt that if i t was just the workers and producers in this new venture together, then maybe they would have to rely on each other a bit more, thus garnering more power for the worker contingent. Some workers saw the potential departure of Terroir as an opportunity to im prove the position of the worker stakeholder group within the assemblage. Optimism about greater power , however, was an outlying belief, as most workers feared that their voices would continue to be suppressed, even with the departure of the most powerful actor group. I asked Alexander if he would reconsider this rupture with Kloof Uitsig if they came back now and agreed to sign an exclusivity agreement. He was unsure he would because the developments of the past year had forced him to reevaluate his busin ess. Alexander th ought that sour cing wine from numerous estates would be a better business strategy than the exclusivity they had previously maintained. He said that they still planned to buy wine from Kloof Uitsig and be involved in the Blourivier project , but that the terms had changed at the demand of Kloof Uitsig . A Terroir executive shared that the company is in a much stronger position than it was when it approached ethical markets in 2005. The company is now the largest exporter of Fairtrade certifi ed wine the world. As a result, it now has a reputation that attracts potential wine grape suppliers, meaning that it can sign more advantageous roaching producers and forcing them to undergo
182 socioeconomic reform for their workforce, they are in a position to select producers who already want to undertake development or , even better, have already started implementing reforms on their farms. He beli eves that this will lead to a stronger and more synergistic relationship between all relevant parties, less infighting, and more tangible developments for workers. At the beginning of 2012, the aforementioned executive met with producers at a large cellar, interviewed producers, toured farms, spoke with workers, and handpicked a few that he found to be most genuinely in vested in Fair Trade principles . These producers will begin contributing a portion of their grapes to Terroir after they complete the Fairtr ade certification process. Case Study Three: Mooihoek Mooihoek is a wine estate comprised of two farms and an impressive wine cellar. Mooihoek is smaller than Namaqualand and significantly smaller than both Voortrekker and Kloof Uitsig . The entire estat e is run by Awie , the sixth generation owner of Mooihoek . Awie has run the estate since 1992 when he finished his university degree and then mandatory army service. He has a farm foreman, which allows him to focus on the business side of the estate. Like Blourivier , Mooihoek is located outside the town of Klipdorp in the Altusberg River Valley. Though Mooihoek are not as dramatic as those of Namaqualand and Blourivier , it is still indicative of the same problem: that the intended beneficiaries of Fa ir T rade have been systematically excluded from the certification decision making process. This exclusion highlights the key underlying theme that Fair T rade, while beneficial for improving livelihood s and working conditions, does not transform the foundational power dynamic s, which often look suspiciously similar to those found during the apartheid era. This case study again
1 83 supports my conclusion, drawn from the work of Collier and Ong, that actors w ho enter into a global assemblage with power remain empowered within the assemblage and are better able to negotiate for their own interests (Collier and Ong 2005). Awie made the decision to seek Fairtrade certification because , in addition to his family e state , he is affiliated with a separate winery that sells Fairtrade wines. He said Mooihoek hired a consultant to help the estate prepare for certification and they became certified in 2008. Mooihoek currentl y sells 10% of its wine as Fair T rade and the rest it sells as conventional, though t hey hope to up the Fair T Further supporting my assertion that workers are not empowered when it comes to gaining and maintaining Fairtade certification, Awi e complained that his workers rade. It takes at least ten years before the people c an rade fa rms in South Africa and so [the workers] get fed up after . Awie eagerly pursued Fair Trade and wanted certification to benefit both his business and the livelihoods of his w orkers, but he did not want to promote additional worker power within the assemblage. He argued that Fair T rade had no right to intrude in certain aspects of the farming operation, but rather th at farm management and Fair
184 T rade should be able to work toget laws to the workers and it disrupts the whole disciplinary process on Awie was keen to limit the power of Fairtrade certification (as a stakeholder) within the assemblage as well. Concluding Remarks This chapter explored why producers chose to become Fair Trade certified and how these varying motivations affect Fair Trade implementation and subsequent empowerment efforts. My research found that the majority of Fair Trade certified wine producers in South Africa opted for certification in order to access niche markets and promote busines s sustainability. Wineries and individual wine producers in South Africa are motivated to join Fair Trade first and foremost to successfully access competitive international markets and receive better prices for their grapes. Only secondarily were producer s concerned with worker empowerment, and sometimes were not concerned at all. Workers have little to no say in gaining and maintaining Fair Trade certification. These realities lessen worker power within the global assemblage. The assemblage revolves aroun d the interactions of powerful stakeholder groups: wineries, producers, and Fair Trade certification. When workers are not the motivating factor for pursuing Fair Trade certification on a hired labor estate, the ethical trade paradigm shifts from a site of potential reform to a regulatory space, defined by meeting standards and passing audits. Worker interests are often de prioritized due to the significant issues with the competitive global wine industry, problems resulting from deregulation and questions of
185 agricultural subsidies, allegations of mismanagement and unethical business practices between producers and wineries, Afrikaner fears about their position in the New South Africa, and various forms of interpersonal strife. Many within the Fairtrade mov ement have called for the end of hired labor certification, returning Fairtrade to an organization that only certifies disadvantaged smallholders and not commercial producers who may use this ethical certification primarily to access new markets. They feel that hired labor certification dilutes the meaning and lessens the impact of Fair T rade. Fair T rade marketing campaigns are keen to show People of Color on their ads, though showing a white producer who struggles with deregulation and an unjust global trade climate would be more accurate for the majority of South African Fair T rade beneficiaries. Black and Coloured workers are the secondary beneficiarie s of Fair T rade. I argue that while hired labor certification does improve worker livelihoods and thus should be maintained, Fair T rade has missed an opportunity to promote deeper empowerment by not promoting policies whereby workers would have more say in the certification from start to finish.
186 CHAPTER 5 DECERTIFICATION Fairtrade Certification and Audit estate winery and we take care of all of our people. We use Fairtrade principles on each vineyar d, even newly pruned pinotage vineyard to the worker housing enclave, characterized by ten small, dilapidated units surrounding a single common outhouse, Leisel bemoan ed her le garden, and there is now a sports field. But Fairtrade is going to try to kick us out During my fieldwork from 2010 2011, Namaqualand Winery was in the midst of a contentious battle with Fairtrade Internationa Cert, over a traceability and trading issue. FLO Cert South Africa (FLO Cert SA) 1 , a third party auditing agency, suspended Namaqualand in 2010 because the winery was selling wine under the Fairtrade logo that origi nated from uncertified vineyards. Despite this suspension, Namaqualand continued to enter into new contracts with European buyers and to mix grapes from certified and uncertified farms. Fairtrade standards state that while under suspension, a producer is n ot allowed to enter into new contracts, 1 FLO Cert headquarters are located in Bonn, Germany. There are several branches of FLO Cert, and one of these branches is located in South Africa. FLO Cert SA conducts the majority of South African certific ation and audit visits.
187 though they are allowed to maintain existing contracts for six months, until a resolution to the auditing and certif ication problem can be reached (FLO Cert 2013:1). Fairtrade International, with its trade not aid ap proach to sustainable development and social justice, also has strict traceability requirements. Fairtrade builds consumer confidence that strengthens the market for its producers in part by guaranteeing that goods sold with the Fairtrade logo are indeed f rom Fairtrade certified farms that adhere to ethical and environmentally sustainable standards. When party auditing and certification body, FLO Cert, recommends decertification. This chapter traces the decertificati certified wine estates. Situating the decertification process within certification and audit literature, I show the ways in which FLO Cert is inextricably linked with Fairtrade International in ways that place producers in defensive positions. Additionally, my research supports the findings from other studies concerning weakness within third party auditing bodies ( Hatanaka and Busch 2008; Courville 2003; Albersmeier et al 2009) . Throughout the contentious auditi ng battle that ended in decertification, Fairtrade embraced its role as a flexible bureaucracy (though Namaqualand Winery believed Fairtrade to be overly rigid, a reasonable perspective considering their business aims). However, it became difficult to dete rmine if Fairtrade was flexible or weak. Namaqualand enjoyed numerous opportunities to embrace full compliance and maintain/regain certification. I analyze the decertification of Namaqualand using the global assemblage framework. Stakeholders who enter the assemblage from a position
188 of power are better able to maintain that power and negotiate within the flexibility/weakness of the system. Certification and Audit Literature Third party certification and embeddedness t and approval by an accredited party on other certifiable objectives are met (Albersmeier e t al 2009:934). Third party certification bodies are the preferred method for ethical auditing and certification in order to promote transparency and reduce conflicts of interest. These third party certification bodies often follow the regulations of ISO 6 5, an international norm for auditing and certification regulation. FLO Cert and Fairtrade International were united as one body until 2004, when the organization split in two in order to reduce conflicts of interest and follow the third party ISO 65 norm. However, Hatanaka and Busch (2008) argue that third party certification bodies neutrality (Hatanaka and Busch 2008:73). I found this to be true of FLO Cert South Africa. D espite its adherence to the regulations of ISO 65 and its commitment to transparency, this auditing and certification body was still tied to Fairtrade International through a variety of relationships. FLO Cert SA was not linked to the producers in the same way. I argue that this unintentional tie affects the ways in which auditing is perceived by producers, though it does not appear to affect the quality or integrity of the Cert SA and Fairtrade as overly linked. A s a result, Namaqualand felt that they were on the defensive from the onset of the
189 audit. The certification and auditing battle that unfolded between Namaqualand and FLO Cert was made far more contentious as a result of producer concerns about the independ ence of third party certifiers and the effectiveness of ISO 65. Ethical auditing: flexibility or weakness? Albersmeier et al (2009) argue that auditing bodies are often defined by nteed, and, (Albersmeier et al 2009:934). Courville (2003) acknowledges the difficulties facing social auditing bodies, noting that their use as a regulatory tool o ften undermines democratic governance. However, she argues that Fairtrade has managed to overcome this challenge and that its auditing culture, in fact, aids in democratic governance as a result of its emphasis on stakeholder consultation and contribution (Courville 2003). Decertification as a G lobal A ssemblage I show that global assemblage framework is useful in deconstructing the Fairtrade certification, audit, and decertification processes. Collier and Ong (2006) state imilate themselves to new environments, to code heterogeneous contexts and objects in terms that are amenable to control and considered a global form, trying to work w ithin locales across the globe to promote social justice and development. This global form is based upon what Collier and Ong chapter, certification (Collier and Ong 200 5:11). Strathern (2005) argues that standards
190 trathern 205:465). Strathern shows how the 2005:12). Together, audit and c ertification, or the global form and the technical infrastructure, attempt to enforce social, economic, and environment standards that link producers and consumers in an otherwise anonymous global market. But as this chapter shows, there are many power str uggles, negotiations, and infractions within the party audited logo. Numerous stakeholders and stakeholder groups negotiated within the flexible bureaucracy of FLO and the Fairtrade certification implications to further their own interests within the system. Groups entering in to the assemblage with more power were better able to negotiate their position. As this chapter shows, producers have more power within the sy stem than might be originally assumed. The case of Namaqualand Winery points to both flexibility and weakness in the Fairtrade audit system, and also shows how producers can cause a stir with buyers, the media, and other interest groups in an effort to fac ilitate their needs, real or perceived. The farm and cellar worker stakeholder group also exemplifies my argument that those better situated within the assemblage achieve more favorable outcomes. D ecertification, like other aspects of the certification pr ocess, is characterized by a lack of worker empowerment. Decertification within hired labor certification is decided primarily between FLO Cert and commercial producers. Workers have little say in the
191 policies of the farm that lead to decertification, in h ow the farm or winery approaches suspension, and in the decision of how to progress as a business in the wake of workers, worker interests are only represented secondaril y in the decertification process. The FLO Cert Auditing Process FLO Cert initially audits prospective participants against the minimum benefits reach all workers, the company and its workers have potential for development, (Fairtrade International 2006). Auditors visit the sites of production, speak with workers thro ughout the chain of command at the company, inspect the facilities, check for environmental compliance, analyze the supply chain and trade agreements, etc. The producers must pay for this audit, though the price is based on the income of the company and it s status as a smallholder or hired labor farm. 2 I was present for two FLO Cert audits, each of which was a multi day process as a result of the large size of both of these estates. I found the auditors to be thorough, conscientious, and interested in the d evelopment of both producers and workers within the Fairtrade organization. If these minimum requirements are met, producers are given their initial certification. However, progress requirements must be met in order to maintain 2 Smallholder producers often receive subsidies from a variety of actors to help cover their certification and auditing costs.
192 certification. These progr ess requirements are intended to provide producers with empowerment, environmental, health and safety goals that they must achieve within certain timeframes. Fairtrade realizes that its certification requirements are stringent, and thus wants to make certi fication more accessible by spacing out compliance. FLO Cert categorizes their compliance criteria (or standards) into two sections: major and regular. FLO conformity with a major compliance criteria is considered to be a ma jor threat to the objectives and the reputation of the Cert 2012). However, most of standards fall under the regular category for which producers are given a time frame within which th ey must correct the problem. FLO Cert can both suspend and decertify as a result of audits . During suspension, no new trade agreements on Fairtrade certified wines can be made. Producers are allowed to continue trading with their partners for six months only if there is a written contract. However, FLO contracts exist , the volume traded during the suspension period may not exceed 50% of Cert 2012:10). There are three reasons for which a producer can be decertified. The first is if corrective action was not taken or not presented to FLO Cert on non conformities leading to a suspension. FLO Cert requires proof that standards are being met before they wi ll reinstate a suspended producer. The second reason for decertification is when contractual obligations are not upheld. This refers to not paying auditing fees, otherwise the same major non Cert 2012:11). This shows
193 a lack of commitment to the Fairtrade movement and an inability or unwillingness to meet Fairtrade standards, even after multip le opportunities for compliance . Prod ucers may reapply for recertification after being decertified, but they must prove that they have correc ted the previous nonconformities , meet the standards at the time of recertification even if they have become more stringent, and pay all the fees associ ated with a new certification including an application fee. There is also a detailed appeals process that producers can undertake if they feel that they have been unfairly suspended or decertified. 3 Of the seven resolved appeals in 2010, five producer appe als were denied, one was accepted, and one was partially accepted (FLO Cert 2011). The Certification Battle ed to incorporate additional farms and producers into its fold in order to meet growing demand for its wine and to source grapes from higher quality areas of the Olifants River Valley. erman buyer confided in me one hot summer morning while we watched a rugby match product that is both Fairtrade and organic, but it still needs to be of a higher quality if 3 For more information on this appeals process please see http://www.flo cert.net/flo cert/41.html
194 Namaqualand took this request, and those from other buyers, seriously, expanding their estate and grape intake to meet increased demand as well as to have improved options that would hopefully result in higher quality wine. They identified multiple new farms to include into the newly formed Namaqualand Winery Multi estate. A multi estate has different Fairtrade certification requir ements than a single estate. Each farm must meet Fairtrade standards and the governing body must prove that it maintains control over the smaller entities. The farms must genuinely be incorporated into the larger body, not simply estates from which the lar ger body sources grapes. During its 2009 audit, Namaqualand asked that the auditor visit these new entrant farms. There was miscommunication between Fairtrade and Namaqualand as to whether this was meant to be an actual initial audit or just a visit with the intent that an audit would be conducted at a later date. The auditor visited the farms but made no report to either the winery or to FLO Cert. Namaqualand argued that by her visiting, she was in fact auditing the farms and that they were thus allowed to sell grapes from these farms as Fairtrade from that point forward. Fairtrade argued that this constituted a major non conformity that required suspension, as no proper audit was conducted. Namaqualand argued that that because of its recent growth, it wa s now a conglomerate of more than a dozen farms. This type of organization is called a multi estate and has unique certification requirements. FLO Cert argued that Namaqualand was still a single estate that ha d a sourcing agreement in place, because the ne w entrant farms were not audited and certified. Sourcing agreements do not qualify for multi estate status because the additional production site does not have ownership or a management stake in the primary estate and the primary estate does not have an
195 ow nership component in the smaller estate. In addition to meeting standard Fairtrade South Africa certification criteria, m ulti estates must prove that there is a central governing body that maintains control over the smaller entities. This body must be able to ensure that Fairtrade standards are upheld throughout the estate . Thus to certify this additional site, FLO Cert would have to certify it individually and then the farm could continue with its sourcing agreement to the winery/larger entity. Unintenti onally proving its embeddedness within the Fairtrade International system rather than exemplifying neutrality, FLO Cert argued that Namaqualand did not fit the Fairtr ade model. FLO Cert SA stakeholders argued that not only was Namaqualand not properly audi ted or certified, but it likely would not be able to gain multi estate certification. Namaqualand is looking for is a trade chain certific FLO Cert SA control over their individual suppliers; they just have strong supply agreements. that Fairtrade was willing to be flexible, but, at the end of the day, it could not and would not be weak, she added that thinks the standards should be melded to fit them. But th Namaqualand was given a three month timeline to correct their non conformities and report back to FLO Cert. Namaqualand resolved most of the non conformities resolved everything, including the concerns over traceability , they were suspended. The suspension looked bad to their buyers. European clients wanted answers and assurances that Namaqualand would fix the problems and mend the relationship with Fairtrade. In additi on to being forced to undertake damage control with clients, Namaqualand was
196 not allowed to sign new F airtrade contracts or compete for tenders while suspended . This unc ertainty affected the ways in which Namaqualand was able to approach its business and a lso its long term empowerment objectives. Without security, Namaqualand felt that its sustainability was being jeopardized. Skirting the primary issue of traceability and trading, Namaqualand argued that they had been unfairly treated and that FLO Cert wa s implementing double standards. They argued that worker empowerment at Namaqualand was far better than some of They felt that FLO Cert was seizing this opportunity to make an example out of Namaqualand , who had been an exemplar Fairtrade producer until this suspension. Namaqualand maintained that Fairtrade was moving away from the flexibility and the embrasure of innovation that had made it great and was instead moving toward rigidity and cookie cutter portrayals of development . Namaqualand argued that forcing outside models on businesses was not an effective development strategy. R ather , they believed that each ce rtified estate should meet certain minimum standards while implementing the development structure that wo rked best for its business and geographic specificities . Namaqualand assumed FLO Cert and Fairtrade International to be one in the same, rather than viewing FLO concerning belief. Namaq defensive when considering certification and audits. They felt that FLO Cert was so interested in finding non conformities that they, and other bodies under the Fairtrade
197 umbrella, were not focused enough on helping producers maintain compliance. They argued that this would have deleterious consequences for business sustainability and worker empowerment. As the battle between FLO Cert and Namaqualand heated up over the issue of sion and especially as a result of the question of Namaqualand selling wine as Fairtrade that was not, FLO Cert decided to extend an olive branch. They agreed that no one was at fault concerning the 2009 audit. FLO Cert felt that it had not audited the add itional farm and that Namaqualand should not be selling its wine as Fairtrade, but admitted that by the auditor even visiting the disputed production site, they can see where the miscommunic ation began . FLO Cert offered to let Namaqualand correct its remai ning non conformities and to forget the issue of the questionable sale of wine from the new farm entirely, making sure to audit it fully during the next cycle. However, Namaqualand felt that it had been vilified in the Fairtrade world and that its name had been slandered. It wanted a full apology from FLO Cert. Shortly before Namaqualand was decertified in a rare moment of critical self reflection Willem noted that he regretted not taking Fairtrade up on their offer to reinstate Namaqualand and let the non compliances wait until the next audit. He said life would have been a lot easier if he had put his pride aside and done this. The extended olive branch perfectly exemplifies the Fairtrade network as a flexible bureaucracy. In an effort to maintain produce rs and grow the organization, Fairtrade and FLO Cert were willing to forgive non conformities, assuming that Namaqualand would move forward with a firm commitment to compliance. However, as other audit and certification literature has shown ( Albersmeier et all 2009; Courville
198 2003) , the flexibility is difficult to differentiate from the organizational weakness that too often plagues certification and auditing bodies. Namaqualand on the Offensive Even after the battle between Namaqualand and FLO Cert began, Namaqualand Namaqualand prominently displayed the Fairtrade logo on its website, its wine bottle labels, and in its other promotional materials. It also promoted both its own lab el and the Fairtrade brand in all of its domestic and international marketing campaigns and meetings. Referring to auditing and other certification fees, Namaqualand FLO Cert, c ontrarily, argued that Namaqualand made an effort to fully link its name with that of Fairtrade and that it reaped sizable financial rewards as result. made a point of positioning itself in niche mark ets, especially Fairtrade and organic. FLO Cert acknowledged that Namaqualand promote d the Fairtrade label, bu t noted that there was an element of self interest involved in this marketing campaign. The FLO Cert SA director m atter of factly stated that the ir business benefits more than they let on. Despite feeling that they were fighting a battle with two organizations, Fairtrade and FLO Cert, due to the embeddedness of the third part certification, Namaqualand believed t hat it still had power within the Fairtrade global assemblage. Throughout the suspension and even initially after the decertification, Namaqualand threatened to go to the media about what they considered double standards and unethical actions on the part o f Fairtrade and FLO Cert. They also knew that as one of the largest Fairtrade certified producers in South Africa, Fairtrade South Africa and FLO Cert SA would lose
199 desire to maintain producers so that more lives could be touched by their particular brand of market driven social justice, there was also a business interest in maintaining flexibility. Namaqualand did not shy away from legal battles or personal attacks either. Th ey threatened to beg in a legal battle with FLO Cert if the certification body continued reputation with its buyers. Namaqualand se en Namaqualand attacks, primarily from Namaqualand to FLO Cert, though FLO Cert participated in the o ccasional jab. Outside parties also had plenty to say about this very public dispute, calling Namaqualand ty of misrepresenting reality. Other Fairtrade certified producers, in a show of solidari ty with Namaqualand, argued that FLO Cert was too strict and sometimes forgot about the actual objectives of the movement. Perhaps the most abrasive correspondence between Namaqualand and FLO Cert came in a 2011 email from the former auditors. It reads: Why is it so difficult for you to answer my simple questions? Either a 'yes' or 'no' would do. Is it correct to assume that you are the moderator and that FLO SA is doing the moderation of Na maqualand Multi Estate 2011 audit? Please indicate with Yes or No. Today is exactly 31 calendar days from the last day of the audit. Is it then correct to expect your report today still? Again, please indicate Yes or No. This type of communication is exa ctly why it is so difficult for Namaqualand to have any communication with FLO SA. This type of communication is unacceptable if we are
200 working towards having a meaningful working relationship. Namaqualand wants to reiterate that we want to have a healthy working relationship with FLO and would very much appreciate your cooperation in this regard. The lack of humanity that was sometimes shown to opponents during the lengthy process through which Namaqualand exited the system undermines the entire guiding pr inciples of the Fair Trade movement. The Gap Audit: An Opportunity for Reinstatement During the suspension and as a result of the contentious nature of the relationship between Namaqualand and FLO Cert, Namaqualand requested that FLO Cert SA not be in ch arge of the audit. They felt that they had a right to a fair audit and that this could not be accomplished with FLO Cert SA. Key figures at FLO Cert headquarters in Bonn honored this request and instead assigned the Namaqualand audit to the East African of fice. The global assemblage framework (Collier and Ong 2005) argues that different stakeholders have different power within a linked system. My research adds a component to this framework. I argue that stakeholders are not made aware of their rights to pow er within the assemblage, but that if they know to ask for their rights, they are better able to negotiate. No one informed Namaqualand that asking for a change in which FLO Cert body audited them was possible. But in keeping with their innovative nature a nd appreciation for confrontationally testing the boundaries of their power, Namaqualand successfully pressured FLO Cert to honor their request. Other producers that I spent time with also had their own concerns about FLO Cert SA (concerns that are not ref lective of the quality of FLO difficulties inherent in enforcing compliance), but they were not empowered enough within the global assemblage to ask for a change in auditors or auditing practices.
201 The relationship between Namaqualand and the East African office quickly descended into a similar state of vitriol and contention. Namaqualand argued that the East African auditor with whom they were in more regular contact with than the auditor clearly cared to be was in cahoots with FLO Cert SA and was resultantly being They argued that he was nit Namaqualand management had done with the South African office, they sent s harply worded emails stating their demands to the East African office. Namaqualand oscillated between throwing their weight around and trying to promote a spirit of unity and reconciliation A FLO South African office was taken off of the Namaqualand ce rtification case and that Bonn instead assigned the East African office with the audit. She worried that people would take Namaqualand y and that this may affect her reputation. However , she also argued that she partially felt glad and Namaqualand and l to properly diagnose and handle the situation. Her relief turned out to be well founded. Eventually, however, FLO Cert and Namaqualand agreed that it would be best for FLO Cert SA to conduct the audit, as these auditors could speak the workers language o f Afrikaans and understood the South African context. Thus, the long exchange between Namaqualand and the East African auditor was for naught. In May of 2011, Namaqualand and FLO Cert scheduled their audit of the estate. Namaqualand claimed that it was a that
202 Namaqualand was already a multi estate, otherwise FLO Cert would conduct Namaqualand was interested to see if the farm that caused such an uproar in the 2009 audit about selling non Fairtrade g rapes as Fairtrade due to auditing confusion would be audited as surveillance or initial. The managing director argued that this could strengthen Namaqualand all the wine they sold from this far m previously would have been within their contractual and certification rights. FLO Cert called the audit a surveillance audit for the winery and the established farms, but was seen as an initial for the questionable farm and all of the new entrant multi e state farms . FLO Cert entered the audit knowing that all eyes would be on them. They sent two of their best auditors from the South African office. Neither of these two women had been involved in the 2009 audit, which both sides saw as necessary . One of the auditors shared with me that she knew she was chosen for the task because she had a unique ability to terse out inconsistencies with trade and contractual agreements. FLO Cert too needed to redeem itself and to prove that Namaqualand had violated Fairt rade standards and entered into contracts while under suspension. They did not intend to take up the issue of the wine sold from the farm in question after the 2009 audit. They felt that this argument had been deemed a wash by all parties. According to FLO Cert protocol, after the on site audit, the auditor has two weeks to compile the report and send it on to the in country FLO Cert analyst. This analyst makes certain that the report is thorough and clear. The analyst for this report was not the head of FL O Cer t SA, as there had between such a great deal of strife between her and Namaqualand . Both she and Namaqualand were pleased that she was no longer a
203 part of the Namaqualand audit process. After receiving the report, the analyst has two weeks to review i t. It is then passed on to the evaluator in Bonn and he has two weeks to go through the reports. A recommendation is then made. The entire process after the onsite audit takes 6 weeks. Worker I nvolvement Illustrating the lack of worker power within the global assemblage, w orkers were not present during the drafting of these emails and typically did not have representation either. in the context of post apartheid South Africa , workers have very little power and are typically not an empowered group within consultation and negotiation processes (Collier and Ong 2005:4 5). Occasionally one of the workers who had achieved a management position was present, though he did not contri bute nor did he disseminate the information to workers before or after the sending of the emails. Workers were left almost entirely out of this audit preparation process. They were not asked how they would like to approach FLO Cert, the auditors, or the em ails. They were not asked what their opinions were on the tone to take in the emails or what they wanted from these exchanges between a business that was legally 26% theirs and their auditing body. much by exclusions as excluded from the certification and auditing process while the Fairtrade, FLO Cert, and Namaqualand fought over trade, traceability, personality, and eve rything in between points to one of the major findings of my research: that the global assemblage of Fairtrade is tailored more toward niche market access and business viability than it is to its stated objective of market driven social justice.
204 A Plea fo r Mediation: Namaqualand Representatives from Namaqualand spent a rainy Saturday morning in Cape Town meeting with representatives from Fairtrade Africa and the Southern African Fairtrade Network in June 2011. The two group s met over breakfast to discuss the Namaqualand /Fairtrade International impasse, with Namaqualand hoping that Fairtrade Africa could help with mediation and find an appropriate solution that would both address how Namaqualand felt it had been improperly tr eated and would help the winery maintain certification. Namaqualand began the meeting with a detailed account of how they felt that they had been wronged, from addressing personality conflicts to Fairtrade International tainting Namaqualand e and compromising its business sustainability. The Fairtrade personnel seemingly took Namaqualand and took notes. However, the meeting did not result in any meaningful mediation, thus leading Namaqualand to accuse Fair trade Africa of being both biased towards Fairtrade International and ineffective in its mission of providing producer support. Decertification FLO Cert determined that Namaqualand Winery undertook practices in opposition to its traceability and trading requirements, specifically that all wine sold as Fairtrade must be from certified vineyards and that no new contracts can be entered while under suspension. Namaqualand entered into new contracts involving the selling of Fairtrade certified wine in Decembe r 2010 despite being under suspension. According to FLO Cert, this was the second repeated non compliance involving selling wine as Fairtrade that was not Fairtrade. Namaqualand Winery was stripped of their Fairtrade certification, effective immediately.
205 I asked the director of FLO Cert South Africa, Bronwyn, what the feeling was within Fairtrade concerning Namaqualand no longer being a part of the system. She initiatives were u pset with FLO while we sat in her office in suburban Cape Town, sipping Fairtrade coffee from East ave the power to decertify then why are we in business? Consumers demand the traceability and accountability that Fairtrade promises. before informing the winery. The press release reads as follows: The Fairtrade Foundation confirms that following extensive discussions with the representatives of Namaqualand Winery, a decision to decertify has been reached by FLO CERT. This decision fol lows a full audit process earlier this year by FLO CERT auditors that found repeated and major non conformities of Fairtrade standards. This is obviously disappointing news for all of us in the Fairtrade movement who know Namaqualand and have seen the diff erence To make matters worse, the Fairtrade Foundation also offered to help one would have come from Namaqualand. Cert d e certified Namaqualand Winery following a full audit process earlier this year that found repeated and major non conformities of Fairtrade Standards, especially in regards to traceability, regarded as fundamental breach of FLO standards. We would like to know what Sainsbury's intends to do with the Sainsbury's Organic Fairtrade Wine that was previously produced by Namaqualand? We would be happy to assist Sainsbury's in sourcing from other Fairtrade suppliers.
206 Namaqualand was shocked that buyers and the pu blic were notified of their decertification before they were, and thus released a statement of their own: Namaqualand Winery has been reviewing the efficacy of the FLO CERT system for our business model for over a year. After much consideration, the compan y made a decision to link to the Fair for Life fair trade system because it suited our long term vision and the growth Namaqualand is experiencing. The repeated and major non conformities referred to by FLO CERT centre around a trading and traceability issue and have nothing to do with the high standards we set for social accountability, environmental responsib ility and community relations. In response to the decertification and potential legal battle that may result, one of Namaqualand battle that we cannot win; we can only postpone the inevitable by fighting. They will member of Namaqualand management argued that Namaqualand made a lot of mistakes along the way and that it often did not act professionally, but he still held that it was FLO objective and not engage in personality disputes. He believed that FLO Cert felt like they had their backs against the wall and wanted to take this opportunity to get Namaqualand out of the system. One of the coloured members of management was also very upset by the decertification. He argued that FLO conformities we tried to
207 However, he bel ieved that workers would not lose out because Namaqualand had the foresight to seek and gain Fair for Life certification, thus securing ethical trade markets for their wine and seamlessly transitioning to a new certification that would also promote and fac ilitate improved worker livelihoods and empowerment. I sat with him as he processed the news that Namaqualand had been decertified . I thought I was fighting a big fight with Fairtrade to get people a better Nam aqualand . It was about my with this whole Fairtrade thing. Fairtrade needs to think about what they the Namaqualand is knocking on the door and telling them they are making mistakes and Namaqualand is making mistakes too. Namaqualand must correct our mistakes but do they not have to correct theirs? This is a fight for the whole system. They say they a re willing to make framework changes but when people request change or to be everyone else must listen. Do they only want to make money and use workers to build up their image? I feel u company Maybe the situation will change in a week or so and then we have to go back to them and tell them something different. If that happens, will they still believe in us and will they believe in F airtrade? Obfuscating T raceability Namaqualand Winery had even more traceability nonconformities than FLO Cert suspected, all in the name of business sustainability. Namaqualand, like a handful of other bulk focused wineries in South Africa, occasionally sold one cultivar as another. Switch ing cultivars is done for a variety of reasons, but the one most often cited was a simple case of supply and demand. For example, if buyers requested 100 bottles of pinotage but the farms and wineries could not supply that amount but perhaps had an
208 excess of shiraz that harvest, a creative and ethically flexible winemaker and a cellar staff that was willing to turn a collective blind eye could ferment the grapes and add chemicals in such a way as to make the shiraz appear as though it was actually the reque sted pinotage. This practice is illegal and would also result in immediate Fairtrade suspension or decertification, if it could be proven. to a competition and it was entered, of c ourse, as the varietal the bottle claimed that it that it was not merlot. Though the wine did not win any awards, he felt that his abilities as a winemaker had been proven, though he could share this personal victory with no one. Jacques stated that changing cultivars was a practice that he originally viewed as corrupt, but as he p articipated in it more and more, he began to feel a certain degree of pride at his ability to fool others. He also believed that this practice was for the greater good in that it kept the business running. However the subterfuge process is not that simple . Wineries in South Africa are required by SAWIS South African Wine Industry and Information Systems, the control body of the South African wine industry to keep record of the grapes they take in, including the varietals and the amount. Many wineries also have additional control measures in place, such as Wine MS, information management software targeting the wine industry. These measures make changing varietals a tricky, but still quite possible, practice. This means that all grapes are recorded when they come in and Wine MS or
209 other operating systems notate which tank or barrel the grapes enter. In order to change the varietal, you have to also deceive the operating system. This can be done several ways, though one of the easiest is to enter into the syste m that a batch is being moved from one tank to another, and then simply not move it or move it in ways that reflect what you want to portray. Heinrich , when discussing with me the practice of changing varietals, beseeched me to remember that if corruption of this nature could occur in South Africa, where regulating bodies like SAWIS exist and conduct regular audits, imagine what is happening in countries with less oversight. Heinrich urged me to is deregulated and completely unsubsidized, yet they must compete with producers from countries that have subsidies and policies that promote their agricultural sector. Reapplication In July of 2011, after being decertified, Namaqualand initially decided to reapply. The marketing director stated matter of do want to be that it w as good for the company to have multiple certifications and use certain ones when either the market demanded it or it was more advantageous to the company, she argued that Namaqualand fair programme and Fair for Life c ertification guarantee but it can harm no one other than ourselves if we opt to have FLO 4 as an enemy of Namaqualand 4 FLO here refers jointly to Fairtrade International and FLO Cert.
210 Resultantly, Namaqualand Europe where they took meetings with clients in the UK and re quested a meeting with FLO Cert headquarters in Bonn. During this meeting, and teetering on the edge of flexibility versus weakness, Fairtrade again extended an olive branch and asked if Namaqualand would like to remain in the Fairtrade system, to which Wi llem immediately Namaqualand , as neither side was benefiting from all of the negative press . Fairtrade offered that the trade issues from the past be dropped and that Namaqualand dro p their complaints and legal campaign. They wanted bygones to be bygones. Instead, FLO Cert would send an auditor out to do a gap audit looking at the other non conformities. e Namaqualand . However, Namaqualand still wanted to go with the Fair for Life certification and have the dual certifications. The US and German markets prefer Fair for Life a nd other clients were very receptive to the shift. However, some markets and customers still prefer red Fairtrade International. I spoke with the marketing director upon her return to South Africa. She noted that she and Willem were still very circumspect about their future re lationship with true to its promise and let bygones be bygones, then Namaqualand was willing to move forward with them primarily to clear Namaqualand t the international fairly trading community would not look at Fair for Life as the easier certification body (i.e. Namaqualand for Life instead). Namaqualand
211 shallower, rather simply that they are different and better suit Namaqualand model. However, Namaqualand soon reconsidered and decided not to reapply and go through another full audit. In a letter similar to the on e that the winery sent out to its clients in order to explain its decision, Namaqualand sent the following letter to FLO Cert: Dear FLO Cert & FLO e.V, After much discussion and collective decision making involving workers and farmers Namaqualand Winery Mu lti Estate has decided that we are not going to go ahead with an application for re certification with FLO Cert. It is clear, that the current framework for a multi estate in the FLO system does not allow for our growth and development and our worker share holding structure does not fit the FLO model of farmer ownership. The communications over the last three weeks have reinforced the financial implications of a gap audit and a second fu ll audit in 2011 are too heavy for Namaqualand to bear and are unlikely to be recouped from sales of FLO Fairtrade wine in the near future. These two overriding factors have convinced us that it is therefore a fruitless exercise to pursue this relationship . We would like to walk away from this association in the spirit of letting bygones be bygones as was agreed at the meeting in Bonn. We would like to thank Martin Hill in particular for his concerted efforts in trying to reconcile Namaqualand and FLO. Nama qualand has walked a long road with Fairtrade and we would like to thank and acknowledge the contribution that FLO has made to social development both in the company and in our communities. We can assure you that we will continue down the path we have plan ned and that everyone involved with our Namaqualand Winery Multi Estate remains committed to the princip les and practice of fair trade. At the beginning of the suspension and switch in certification processes, most workers on the farms and in the cellar w ere unaware that any changes were being
212 considered. In fact, during the December 2010 estate wide AGM, Namaqualand management had still not mentioned their problems with Fairtrade or the battle that was going on behind doors. Instead, a member of managemen t made a presentation about the Fairtrade logo and Namaqualand strengthen Fairtrade awareness within the estate. A few coloured workers who had raised to the management ranks were aware of the situation with Fai rtrade and sat in on many of the meetings concerning the situation. I asked why they did not share news of the difficulties with Fairtrade with the other would share news and seek input when the time was right. This was also the stance of the White members of management. At the same time that they were reticent to openly discuss the issues with Fairtrade, they certainly had their own opinions that often differed from those held by their white counterparts. Though workers especially coloured members of management who were privy to the entire battle between their company and FLO Cert were initially hesitant about the switch from Fairtrade International to Fair for Life certi fication, they eventually came to embrace it as an improvement. Beginning in June of 2011, Namaqualand spent a great deal of time at the quarterly meetings discussing Fair for Life and how it would benefit the workers far more than Fairtrade had. Various p eople in management, both white and coloured, presented on Fair for Life and the switch. The Emergence of Fair for Life in South Africa The Swiss neutral third party certification program for social accountability and fair trade in
213 makes a point of noting that it is a program and not an organization that sets standards. In this way, it does not struggle with the issues of embeddedness and neutrality that face other ethical programs like Fairtrade. Rather, it utilizes baseline standards, suc h as those from the International Labour Organization and Fairtrade International, among others (Fair for Life 2012). Fair for Life began its ethical certification program in 2008 and has grown steadily ever since. Fair for Life promotes social and environ mental sustainability. In 2011, Namaqualand became the first winery to be certified under the Fair for Life umbrella. Namaqualand argued that one of the key features that attracted it to Fair for Life was that the latter does not charge for marketing expe nses (each producer is responsible for their own marketing or for organizing an external organization that is willing to do the marketing) and is not a for profit organization, as is Fairtrade International. Rather, Fair for Life makes its income through c ertification fees. Though it does require a premium for workers, the way that the premium is charged and maintained is more flexible, though transparency, sustainability, and empowerment remain key features of the premium. Namaqualand sent out a press rele ase on the Social Development premium, similar to the FLO programme, but crucially, there is no premium required for administration and marketing. The net result of this move is that more funds will now be available for further investment in education, health, community Fair for Life conducted a primary audit and a follow up audit, both in 2011 and both of which I attended. The audits were thorou gh and looked for similar things as the
214 FLO Cert audits. The FFL auditor spent more time with the workers than the FLO Cert auditors had spent, likely because FLO Cert was especially interested in the trade and traceability portions of the audit. Namaquala nd certification. Dominic , formally introduced the ethical certification system to key people within South African Fair Trade by presenting l General Meetings. This presentation was heavily lobbied for by Namaqualand , 5 who still held three of the twelve seats on the Fair Trade Dominic noted the key tenets of Fair for Life, the growth of this movement and certification body, and how it could be of benefit to South African producers and workers. He also emphasized how he sees various ethical trading movements working together for the benefit of producers and marginalized peoples in South Af rica and the world over. Though when questioned he admitted that Fairtrade and Fair for Life were indeed in competition for certification fees and other relevant numbers, he said that this did not mean that the two entities could work together. Dominic con tinued by arguing that Fair Trade was a monopoly for a long 5 Namaqualand argued in several Board of Directors meetings that Fair for Life should be given time on the agenda and even argued for how long that time should be. This was actually a big re quest considering that Fair Trade South Africa had changed their format from a two day AGM and workshop to a one day AGM and focus group session. Not only was time at a premium, but Namaqualand was also testing the waters for where it stood within Fair Tra de South Africa and the Board of Directors after the that they maintained their positions on the Board of Directors and that Fair for Life was given a 15 minu te inclusivity within FTSA, a welcome reality for numerous other parties who were involved in Fair Trade but not with Fairtrade International.
215 work together, but th at they can also share best practice to advance ethical trade and development. Despite the fall out between Namaqualand and Fairtrade, Namaqualand noted during its Fair for Life audit that it was considering having Fairtrade International certified producers deliver their grapes to Namaqualand . Though these producers would not be part of the multi estate and their workers would not become shareholde rs in Namaqualand , it would a good way to grow Namaqualand any deficiencies in grape quality of quantity that it may have. Fair for Life accepts producers who have met the same Fair Trade standards as part of their equivalency agr always have to rely on audits and reports. According to Fair for Life, this equivalency agreement therefore cuts back on paperwork, builds linkages between various ethical trade bodies, and makes the Fair Trade system more efficient. As of November 2011, Namaqualand was considering buying Fairtrade certified wine and then using equivalency agreements to sell it as Fair for Life. Management said that they would do this not by becoming certified as a Fairtrade trader (another certification standard, just as this dissertation primarily discusses hired labor standards), but rather by purchasing the grapes as conventional, giving the 5 euro cents per kilogram as a donation to pu t towards worker empowerment projects instead of as a more heavily regulated Fairtrade premium, and then selling the product as Fair for Life. Namaqualand would buy the ethically produced gr apes that meet Fairtrade standards. I asked the managing director why he would opt to take this roundabout way of sourcing and selling grapes
216 buy it as conventi When I asked Namaqualand between Fairtrade and Fair for Life being, they argued that the two bodies had different mentalities. Fairtrade was more interested in the letter of the law while Fair for Life in its spirit. Ignoring the flexibility that FLO Cert had shown in its dealings with Namaqualand, neutrali ty, p roducers felt that Fair for Life auditors were more inclined to work with them to gain and maintain compliance and that they genuinely wanted to empower workers, even if it took a bit of time. They felt Fair for Life wanted to help them set up sustain able systems that would contribute to worker and community development and eventually provide everyone with a living wage. However, Fair for Life did insist (as does Fairtrade) that major compliance criteria such as the absence of child labor be maintained at all times. Producers argued that Fairtrade auditors were more concerned with checking boxes and meeting various requirements and that they were not interested in helping to further development initiatives. Fairtrade auditors countered to me that they do try to work with producers and that they take their retorts seriously. Still, they say that one of the strengths of Fairtrade is that it has strict standards and that this is how they market themselves to consumers. They aim to be flexible but not weak . Additionally, a leading figure at FLO Cert South Africa noted to me that the whole situation with Namaqualand forced auditors to be stricter than they had in the past and to notate everything. This figure argued that one of the repercussions from the way Namaqualand behaved during
217 the whole suspension and decertification process was that auditing would become more streamlined in the future and there would be less opportunity for auditors to see standards through the lens of spirit rather than the letter o f the law. FLO Cert SA recognized that it had fallen into a pattern of weakness with Namaqualand and that it could not do this in the future. When it became public knowledge that Namaqualand would no longer remain a part of the Fairtrade system, I asked s everal other Fairtrade producers and traders what they thought of this decision. Consensus held that Namaqualand Respondents felt that the Fairtrade market was secure in an otherwise difficult, competitive, and ever changing global wine market. They argued that the Fairtrade brand was growing while most consumers and other relevant groups had not even heard of Fair for Life. They argued that the UK market specifically was dedicated to Fairtrade as a brand over other ethical certific ations because the Fairtrade Foundation had done a great job of promoting awareness and building brand trust amongst consumers. Respondents said that they were uncertain how well Namaqualand would be able to maintain their clients in the wake of their cert ification, especially their UK clients, which represented the largest global market for Fairtrade wine. They also wondered how competitive Namaqualand would be in winning future tenders. While almost all respondents agreed that Fairtrade was overly bureauc ratic and at times difficult to work with, they also said that they could not currently envision switching certifications. Willem countered this argument that Fair for Life was a risk by stating that staying with Fairtrade and dealing with their lack of t
218 and its ability to market itself], but the Namaqualand brand can now stand alone with his diatribe against Fairtrade, arguing the following: FLO door and no wind ows. They want to hide between confidentiality and IOS 65. They must have a strong relationship with people in DAKKS who are protecting them. Why did ISO 65 not even look at our complaint? FL O feels they are above the fairness of fair trade. FLO is so strong and they have so much money to waste. The marketing part on the Board is so fucking strong in FLO. We are not disputing that FLO is doing good. They are but they could do so much more. But there are managers and workers in FLO Cert that are rotten and taking the organization in a bad direction that Namaqualand Exclusion and the Assemblage Both FLO Cert and Namaqualand lamented to me that the other party had so much power and were so uninterested in the plight of the workers that they would be willing to derail Namaqualand slinging is that they were right. Each party did have the power to derail Namaqualand certification and there was nothing that workers could do to stop it. Which party was more responsible for decertification or Namaqualand depends up A key figure at FLO dynamics and ownership within Namaqualand if one man could derail the certification of the entire Namaqualand y the workers
219 and joint body leaders really had if Willem was making all of the certification decisions. Namaqualand She believed that Namaqualand and Willem made things far more difficult than necessary and t hus she regularly felt frustrated by her work with them. She stated that she tried to reason with Willem that the suspension was not personal but was instituted because they had major non conformities. According to this leader, FLO backward s for Namaqualand models and ideas because they were so innovative and provided an interesting approach to development, Namaqualand , for its part, argued that FLO Cert let its hurt pride and unbending ideas about what Fairtrade and development were supposed to look like get in the way of promoting and supporting real empowerment, something that the multi estate was firmly committed to. In other words, They argued that o ne of the major problems with Fairtrade certification and a primary reason why they were pleased to certified with Fair for Life ilitating innovation , business sustainability, and genuine empowerment for workers. Though both parties used worker empowerment as a primary example of how they were in the right and their adversary was in the wrong, no one was consulting workers and ask ing them what they thought. Namaqualand only did this in June 2011, when they shared with workers that Fair for Life auditors would be arriving soon and explained why it was a preferable system of ethical trade and empowerment. As argued above, the exclusi on of workers from these conflicts and negotiations say a great deal
220 about the Fairtrade global assemblage (Cohen 2005). Workers on hired labor certified estates were empowered within the South African Fairtrade system primarily through European funded and Cape Town based NGOs, but there was little that the NGOs could so about the certification and auditing process. Thus, in regard to decertification, workers had no power within the global assemblage. Their role, rather, was that of pawn in the contentious battle between empowered, white stakeholders. Concluding Remarks out, back and forth decertification process, I highlight three major issues facing ethical certification bodies and the producers whom they serve: th ird party auditing neutrality concerns, the grey area between flexibility and weakness with standards and auditing, and the lack of power of certain stakeholders within the larger system. My research found that FLO Cert, credited third party certifier, struggled to remain neutral as a result of its intertwined history with Fairtrade and its continued embeddedness in the Fairtrade system. This struggle with embeddedness is common for certification and auditing bodies as sho wn in the work of Hatanaka and Busch (2008). My work also affirms the findings of Albersmeier (2009) and Courville (2003) which states that third party certification bodies often fail to achieve their stated missions because of a propensity to disguise wea kness as flexibility. FLO Cert engaged in a multi year struggle with Namaqualand in order to keep the winery within the system, rather than decertifying earlier on in the process. Even after FLO Cert decertified Namaqualand, the former extended a final oli ve branch, again offering pardon and welcoming Namaqualand back into the fold. However, this time Namaqualand was done
221 with the battle and opted to move forward in a direction that facilitated the business sustainability it needed. Namaqualand fication points to a troubling power dynamic within the Fairtrade global assemblage: there exists a severe inequality between workers on hired labor certified production sites and all other actors within the Fairtrade system. Producers know that even if th ey lose in the end, they were at least a part of the discussion and their voice was fully heard. Workers when they are empowered enough to be aware of what is going on in regards to their certification status feel that they are but pawns in a system that p rovides wealth for the actors who are better able to navigate it and that benefits consumers by assuaging European colonial guilt through ethical trade purchases. Throughout the decertification process, there was no direct line between workers and FLO Cer Namaqualand management. FLO Cert, though concerned about what decertification would mean for Cert upheld the standa rds that producers and consumers expect them (and pay them) to uphold. Still, I argue that in hired labor situations, FLO Cert should implement a policy whereby they do not hand down a final judgment of decertification without consulting workers directly i n a meeting in which farm/winery/packhouse management are not present.
222 CHAPTER 6 POLICY REFORM Introductory Remarks Daniel and I sat in his office lounge drinking hot rooibos tea despite the sweltering 42 degrees Celsius temperature. We shook our heads, in unison bemoaning that we likely would not see a reprieve in the temperature until the onset of autumn in March, and it was only now November. As we dunked buttermilk rusks in our rooibos tea a proudly South African indigenous commodity, grown in unpretentious fields and dried on tea courts just outside the office doors we discussed policy reform with certification if th ed while wiping his brow. Flexibility is important at times, but you have t o draw a line. The essence of Fair Trade is being ethically sound. Daniel argued that Fairtrade International was right to embrace flexibility, but that it must remember the spir it upon which the Fair Trade movement and Fairtrade as an organization was built. Fairtrade was at a crossroads: would its flexibility be defined by an interest in recognizing local specificities while furthering empowerment? Or would Fairtrade lose sight of its founding mission and continue what some stakeholders described as its descent into weakness, in an effort to appease corporate clients and grow? The line between flexibility and weakness was hotly debated during 2010 2011. The victors, as expected, were those who were well positioned within the global assemblage and who entered into it with power. industry, this chapter will illustrate how Fairtrade unfolds in particular his torical contexts.
223 While its flexibility is in many ways progressive, it has also had the unintended consequence of re entrenching pre existing unequal power relationships . The interests of elites have been privileged over those of their marginalized counte rparts . Marginalized stakeholders are less able to negotiate a nd make demands from the system due to the disempowered position from which they enter the assemblage. Though everyone is allowed to participate in Fairtrade policy reform, not everyone is able. Opinions on the direction of Fair Trade were highly divergent throughout my questions are part of the ong oing struggle for the soul of Fair Trade Daniel proclaimed as he finished his cup of rooibos, firmly placing his mug on the table and not breaking eye contact with me for effect. To address these struggles, t his chapter will fo cus on the three major policy reform questions in South African wine from 2009 2011: th e Black Economic Empowerment addendum, usage of the chemical Paraquat, and bulk wine e xports . Theorizing Policy Reform lens of flexible bureaucracy. Fairtrade International ca n be understood as a flexible bureaucracy, attuned either by choice or arm twisting to local contexts. At the same time, Fairtrade has depoliticized policy in certain instances. By advocating for the removal of the BEE addendum, stakeholders were, in effec flexibility to depoliticize policy. Opponents to the BEE addendum argued that it was an additional trade barrier for South African producers in an already highly competitive global wine market. Whereas the flexibility within Fairtr ade is meant to allow for locally
224 relevant development models, this time flexibility had the unintended consequence of allowing policy to be dehistoricized and depoliticized. Debates over flexibility/weakness and depoliticization/domestic relevance can be attributed to the power of certain stakeholders within the Fair Trade South African global assemblage. Some stakeholders, like wealthy land and cellar owners, are better able to negotiate for their interests to be codified into policy than their farm worke r counterparts, who enter the assemblage from a historically entrenched position of socio economic disempowerment. Fair Trade as a F lexible B ureaucracy Fairtrade International aims to approach standards in a way that both unites producers under certain m andatory and basic certification requirements but also accounts for local specificities. The organization strives to provide consumers with the confidence that their goods are ethically produced and environmentally sustainable, while also implementing deve lopment in a way that does not neglect context and history (Murray and Raynolds 2007). I show, however, that this aim has had mixed success. been the result of decades of policy debates and negotiations. As the development of forced, at times, to embrace flexibility. This prompts the question of whether Fairtrade is genuinely a flexible bure aucracy or whether the organization is weakening its standards as it strives for an increased market presence. I define flexible bureaucracy as an organization or entity that maintains a hierarchical structure but is attuned to the interests of various sta keholders, allowing them to lobby the structure. Weber (1922) argues that bureaucracy is an organizational system based on hierarchy, adherence to set rules and protocols, and power made real
225 through discipline. Fairtrade is an administrative bureaucracy that seeks discipline through negotiated standards, audits, and certification. At the same time that Fairt rade maintains the characteristics of a bureaucracy, a space of flexibility has emerged whereby various s takeholders ar e able to influence the organization appropriate to national contexts, and mutate standards (Kruger and du Toit 2007). While global assemblages do not necessarily bring bure aucracy, Fairtrade International is an illuminating example of a global assemblage that operates in conjunction with a flexible (Collier and Ong 2005). Fair Trade reveal s itself as a flexible bureaucracy in that it changes its structure and rules as circumstances and outcomes of various power (2007) study of the building of the Indian railway, Fair se an unpredictable series of fraught are produced by its flexibility (Bear 2007:1). A surprising advocate for flexibility was Genevieve, the director of FLO Cert South Africa, Fai Genevieve argued that FLO Cert must uphold strong standards so that the Fairtrade blem with Fairtrade certification and standards is that you have to run t because of some conceptual idea. what is meant to be a rigorous ethical trade certification, is that it is difficult to know
226 where to draw the line. Genevieve and other leaders within Fair Trade groups self reflexively pondered how to interpret and implement standards and policies in a way that h onored local context and promoted development but did not render certification meaningless. Depoliticizing P olicy Development projects are often dehistoricized, thus depoliticizing the contexts into which policy enters. Ferguson (1994) argues that when st andardized development packages are imposed on a country without concern for its specific cultural and historical realities, unintended consequences often result . T he World Bank and other portraying Lesot ho to be a national because it was not in a position to deal with the actual problem of the exploitation of labor and terms of migration in th e South African mining industry (Fergu son 1994:177) . Likewise, Fair Trade has reframed the realities of apartheid and its legacy of structured racism in order to allow for the certification of commercial ag riculture. T hus , Fair Trade has grown and are made applicable in the South African context. For Lesotho, rearranging reali ty had deleterious consequences that served primarily to expand bureaucratic power rather than to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable populations. By taking the politics out of development, Lesoth (Ferguson 1994:178). agriculture operates under the hired labor sc heme as a result of its heavily commercialized agricultural sector. Fair Trade increasingly targeted large scale
227 productions systems, rather than the small cal trade market and its beneficiaries (Murray and Raynolds 2007:10). Fair Trade in South Africa, thus, was unable to pursue transformation through support of smallholders. As evidenced in Chapters 2 and 3, for Fairtrade to operate in South Africa, new way s of making policy effective and nationally relevant needed to be found (Kruger and du Toit 2007). Reform advocates opted to apartheid transformation policy Black Economic Empowerment into its certification c riteria for South Africa. All policy questions discussed in this chapter address the depoliticization of policy. Depoliticization occurs primarily through the lack of consultation of farm workers and other disempowered stakeholder groups, despite the conse quences of policy reform for all parties. However, no policy question exemplifies depoliticization better than the battle to remove the Black Economic Empowerment addendum to Fairtrade certification in South Africa. The BEE addendum recognized a tendency t owards the depoliticization of development and offered a locally informed answer: require an additional step to gain certification. This step requires that Fairtrade certified producers in South Africa must apartheid transformation policy. However, BEE addendum opponents viewed the additional certification measure outside of its domestic context where it aimed to address centuries of racial oppression arguing instead that the addendum posed an unfair trade barrier on South African producers. The argument for the removal of the certification addendum depoliticizes the unique development needs of the South African socio economic landscape. It argues that South African
228 certification does not require its own model, but rat her can operate under the standard global model. voiceless in the policies that are supposedly created for their benefit. My study details the argument that BEE opponents mount to opp ose the addendum. I t is an argument that not only disregards spec ific histories and political pasts but instead substitutes a market based approach which pos es the market as a guarantor of social and economic equity. This is another way Fairtrade poses the market as a tool/agent of social reform and not just an object of social reform position in the neoliberal economy that finds the market to be the best method for ral socio economic problems is not the Policy R eform and the G lobal A ssemblage This chapter argues that though there is the opportunity for all Fair T rade stakeholders to negotiate for their own interests, stakeholders are only able to access this opportunity if they are empowered and well positioned within the system. This caveat to participation effectively excludes most South African farm workers, who are struggling against the legacy of apartheid and the exclusivity of South African rural spaces that cater to landed Afrikaner elites. Farm workers are united and provided a voice through the Association for Fairness in Trade (AFIT ). T his representation is problematic because workers are speaking through historically empowered in dividuals and because workers are often grouped into one singular voice . Even when the workers unite and give their full support to a particular policy, voicing their opinions and recommendations through the NGO Association for Fairness in Trade (AFIT), wo rkers
229 are often not successful in negotiating for their interests within the South African Fair Trade global assemblage. This is further testament to the lack of worker power within the assemblage. From 2010 2011, h istorically marginalized farm workers in South wine industry did not significantly inform policy at the local, national, or global level s . Fair T rade provides the space for empowered actors to cha llenge established policies. Fairtrade International consistently challenges its own standards as well. Stakeholders are encouraged to share feedback about best practice, issues with standards, concerns about auditing, etc. with personnel at Fairtrade Africa, the Southern African Fair Trade Network, Fair Tra de South Africa, FLO Cert South Africa and also various bodies is a consequence of their cultural capital and relative power within the ve examinations consist of regular reviews of pricing minimums and trade requirements for all certifiable commodities and, more recently, a review of the hired labor standards . 1 Fairtrade itself is evolving through these challenges and negotiations. The or personnel are encouraged to think about ways to run more efficiently, to grow Fairtrade, and to support producers. Employees at the various Fair Trade organizations maintain divergent views on the path that the movement should take, thus provi ding an additional platform for debate concerning organizational objectives and implementation practices. 1 Dis
230 The Black Economic Empowerment Addendum A key policy enacted to aid in apartheid transition and redistribute economic opportuniti es was the Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) initiative . In 2004, South African Fair Trade advocates successfully argued for an addendum to Fairtrade certification in South Africa in order to make the ethical standards more meaningful and able to influence sustainable chan ge in the post apartheid state (Kruger and du Toit 2007). From 2004 2012, South African producers were required to comply with the Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) Addendum to certification. Producers were given six years after their initia l Fairtrade audit to become BEE compliant and thus maintain their heretofore conditional certification. Specifically, certified estates were required to give or sell an at least 26% share in the land, the brand, or the wi nery to farm and cellar workers in an effort to aid in agrarian transformation. Some producers grumbled, saying that BEE compliance was not mandatory in South Africa until 2014. For Fairtrade to enforce domestic criteria that were not domestically enforced, they argued, was an overstepping of boundaries. Still, producers complied in order to gain access to the benefits of Fair Trade. approach to certification came about because of powerful individuals within the assemblage rather than truly consultative practice. Kruger and du Toit (2007) argue that while So uth Africa aimed to be consultative and support democratic decision making, 210). That policy wa s determined in this way points to two realities. First, truly democratic decision making procedures are difficult to enact, even within ethical paradigms. Kruger
231 unusual; despite the rhetoric of transparency, consultation, and democracy that characterizes the self description of the Fair Trade movement, these processes are 210). Secondl y, South Africa set a precedent for how policy decisions were made when it developed, lobbied for, and implemented the BEE addendum in 2004. Powerful individual actors determined the course of Fair Trade in South Africa. Despite the large farm worker stake holder group, they were not powerful enough in 2004 2 or in 2011 to sway policy decisions. As with certification at the sites of production, where Afrikaner producers possess power in decisions concerning certification and decertification, power concerning how best to implement Fair Trade in South Africa rested in the hands of elites. Questioning the BEE P olicy In 2011, stakeholders from certified producers who risked losing their certification if they did not meet the Fair Trade progress requirements to wor kers who saw little benefit from the addendum began questioning the effectiveness of the BEE addendum in South Africa. The BEE addendum was not living up to expectations. Workers and their NGO advocates found it ineffective, when they realized it existed a t all. Established producers who were coming upon their sixth year of Fair Trade certification, and thus were required to become BEE compliant and score appropriately 2 Farm workers were not genuinely a part of the setting up of Fair Trade in South Africa and remained largely unaware of the BEE addendum throughout the years.
232 in their evaluation in order to maintain their heretofore conditional certification, foun d it to be a daunting and expensive task. Potential new entrant producers saw the addendum as a hindrance to certification and therefore a barrier to market access. This stakeholder group argued that no other country was faced with this certification barr ier and therefore the addendum disadvantaged South African producers in an already competitive global is a competitive advantage for wine producers right now in a difficult wine i ndustry However, new entrant producers were not necessarily willing to do the work to gain this competitive advantage, preferring to lobby for policy reform and exert their power within the global assemblage. Another Fairtrade Africa leader argued that i f Fair Trade in Africa was to continue to grow, policy would need to be more welcoming to new entrant producers. f We have to review the policy or most FLO Cert South Africa argued that the addendum resulted in a loss of revenue, as the for profit body made its money fr om auditing and there were fewer audits when weeding people out of the system for non tendency to keep people in the syste m and make concessions like with removing the BEE addendum and debating paraquat
233 Proponents for maintaining t he addendum argued that it helped to advance post apartheid agrarian reform by converging local and glo bal, public and private models. These stakeh olders argued that removing the addendum would remove the incentive for farm owners to participate in Black Economic Empowerment. argument figure in Fairtrade Africa, r producers who have been in the system for six years or more and Stakeholder Power and the A ssemblage Stakeholders coalesced into three policy positions: remove the BEE addendum, maintain the BEE addendum, and maintain and revise the BEE addendum. As noted above, the stakeholders who had the most to gain from the complete removal of the addendum were new e ntrant producers who were not BEE compliant, certified producers approaching year six of certification who were not yet BEE compliant, and FLO Cert SA, who profited when more producers sought certification. Only a small contingent of voices supported maint aining the addendum as it stood in 2011. Producers who heavily invested in BEE compliance were eager to protect their investment and see the policy continue. The largest stakeholder group farm workers advocated for maintaining a revised version of the BEE addendum. They expressed concern over the ineffectiveness of the policy in contributing to agrarian reform but strongly believed that it was in their best interest to work on revising the addendum rather than scrapping it altogether.
234 Debate, Negotiation, and C onsultation As a result of the heated and informal debate sweeping Western Cape vineyards and cellars, Fairtrade Africa was tasked with consulting stakeholders to determine how to handle the policy, specifically if it should be removed, kept, or modif ied. Fairtrade addendum and the future of Fairtrade certification in South Africa. Producers were also invited to a BEE policy workshop in Cape Town in April of 2011. This workshop took place in the meeting room of the Fair Trade South Africa offices in suburban Cape Town. This white walled room was partially comprised of a row of northeast facing windows that caused its inhabitants to feel the full glare of the coastal sun , even on an autumn day. Meeting participants took their seats in sturdy chairs around a single, large oval table. Casually dressed, primarily English and Afrikaner stakeholders chatted and sipped their Fairtrade coffee, produced in Ethiopia, and Fairtrade meeting to begin. Workers were notably absent from this critical meeting. Their absence was the result of their not being invited. Instead, one white woman, Jill, the AFIT secretariat , was but to find the lack of worker presence jarring. Though Jill was a strong and vocal farm worker advocate, the meeting was focused more on market access, trade barriers, and growing the movement than on empowering Fair Trade beneficiaries, likely because of the make up of the participants. speak honestly about the BEE addendum and t
235 could be sent to FLO Cert SA in order to develop a new policy. This policy would then present at this central meeting aimed at B EE policy reform, which would have a direct the newly drafted policy would be sent out for comment. Jill was irate, along with a handful of producers who also felt that wo rkers should have a greater voice and be present at the meeting. Notably irate was Johan, the Namaqualand Winery Managing Director who was embroiled in his own battle with Fairtrade International and FLO Cert SA. Johan saw the exclusion of workers as furth Before launching in to producer experiences with BEE on their farms, Genevieve from FLO the policy that is developed is one that producers can act producers, imploring them to determine if ownership was really the best way to empower workers in South Africa. BEE is much broader than ownersh mployment equity and skills development are critical One producer summed up the feel of the table well. There is value in BEE, argued, but because ther ernmen t funding anymore for the ownership model, s of BEE and not put all of their eggs in the ownership basket. Skills development must be prioritized. the problems with th BEE ownership model was not as feasible without state support, other producers
236 them and prioritizing th e ownership component of that addendum was untenable when the state was not willing or able to provide support for its own initiatives. Other participants further problematized the BEE addendum. One such stakeholder, a heavy set Afrikaner producer named B a commercial look at Fair Trade and empowerment. I find something that has to work in South Africa in order to make the country work, but from a Fair Trade point of view there should be a ma rket perspective rather than a BEE ownership perspective Trade objective, but rather it is transform ation and improved livelihoods. W orkers business and are not invested in the same ways. agreement, Jill spouted that the goal of the BEE addendum was to m ove beyond the general Fair Trade objectives and make certification relevant to a modern South Africa As meeting participants became increasingly negative about the BEE addendum, with numerous voices demanding that South Afri growing the market, Johan interjected on behalf of producers who were already BEE ntrants into Fair Trade will be
237 enevieve asserted. The meeting ended with Hilda again explaining the policy question, summarizing the views expressed during the meeting, and asking the participants if they wanted the d that all other stakeholders should be consulted, not just those present in the room. Jill seconded his statement, emphasizing that it was in opposition to the spirit of Fair Trade to make such a big decision without the input of the workers. Participants agreed to delay a decision on the policy until other stakeholders were consulted. Workers Unite to Address the BEE Addendum The Association for Fairness in Trade (AFIT), the NGO rep resenting worker rights on Fair T rade certified farms in South Africa, he October 2011 in an old and slightly rundown hotel in downtown Cape Town. The purpose of the spring school was to educate workers on their rights, provide a networking platform, allow workers to raise issues they may have wi th Fairtrade or their farms, and discuss the potential removal of the BEE addendum to South African Fairtrade certification. All Fair T rade certified farms were invited to send two representatives. Most farms complied and approximately 70 workers attended the workshop and the su bsequent annual general meeting . The meeting was sponsored p rimarily by AFIT but also by Fairtrade International, which sent all three of its liaisons to help facilitate the meetings. Jill began the BEE addendum meeting by discussin g South African history and the history of Black Economic Empowerment. She addressed the nearly 400 years of oppression, noting how land was stolen and labor abused, all for the economic
238 advantage of white aggressors. Jill discussed the 40 years of apartheid rule that subjected black and coloured people to more deeply codified disempowerment and the ushering in of the current democratic era in which most farm workers remained vulnerable. Jill then recounted the history of BEE addendu m in South Africa and why it was imperative that state policy converge with non state certification requirements. Jill questioned the attendees about their understanding of Black Economic Empowerment and what it means for their farms and communities. Most of them did not understand the term Black Economic Empowerment immediately, but after Jill and the FLO liaisons further detailed it, many were able to place the concept. I found this to be lack Economic Upon further probing, workers show ed a basic understanding of the policy. However, very few workers knew how it was implemented on their farm or what compliance pat h their farm had taken, exemplifying the disjuncture between policy and public awareness. Jill asked workers to raise their hand and give an example of BEE on their farms, if such an example existed. A worker from Namaqualand Winery , where workers own a 26% share in t he winery, stood up and said that BEE had given workers shares in the company and that there are people of all races in junior and senior management positions. A small farmer from one of three 100% black owned smallholder farming cooperatives then said tha t BEE had helped his cooperative to acquire LRAD grant money from the government to buy land. Jill inquired with the group about their awareness of this grant. Many workers were unaware of the grant, so she explained the policy and process. She said that f arm owners have helped workers get the money but
239 grant. The government pays for the workers to have a share and then the owner reinvests that money in the farm. Some o f the farms have opted instead to give workers a share in the brand or winery. Resultantly, if the company goes under or is liquidated, the workers get nothing but the farmers still own the land. Often farms say that they have not made a profit so therefor e there is nothing to pay out for their ownership share. Jill argued that without whether or not this is true. Most participants said that they were unaware which ownership model their farm used. Jill asked the workers why they wanted to be shareholders and what kind of shareholding agreement they would prefer. One worker said he wanted to be a want to just be shareholders in our bosses but if we are shareholders and even one of us is in a senior management to retire on and somethin g to leave their children. The facilitators encouraged the workers to go back to their farms a nd speak with the other workers . Additionally, to keep messing with you guys. You as workers have a right to understand how you A main worker concern was that they had not seen any benefits from their shareholding. Jill n oted to the workers that one way or another you have to pay back
240 your loan to government or the banks. 3 Jill reasoned with the workers that they often do not see dividends because it could take five or ten years to pay back these loans. A c oncern with crit ics of the Fair T rade movement is that , on some farms , the loans have of the financial situation. T herefore , they are easily marginalized in decision making processes or ar e simply deceived. As the BEE session came to an end, Jill asked the workers to close their eyes and visualize what they would like to see on their farms in ten years time. Do they want to still be on the farm? Do they want their children to be on the farm? What do they want the shareholding agreement to look like? A w orker responded by saying that they wanted to be represented at all levels of management and have the proper training to have this control. The workers also wanted people who have worked on their farms for at least three years to have shares. Jill encourag ed them to push for home ownership to be included in the settlement. As it currently stands, workers who live on the farm live in homes owned by their bosses, this making their tenure insecure, though post apartheid South African laws aimed at tenure secur ity have certainly improved this situation. T he session closed with a frank discussion of which shareholding strategy was the best. After discussion ended, Jill climbed atop a chair, raised her voice, and firmly Some workers nodded in agreement as others clapped. Jill then asked the workers if they were ready to vote on whether or not they would like to keep the BEE addendum. The workers raised their hands in a unanimous 3 W hite l andowners and winery owners typically do not simply give the workers their 26% share, but rather are compensated through government grants and loans .
241 reformed. They said that they would like it to be reformed, but that they wanted to go back to their farms and consult with the other workers before offering further policy considerat ions. They were, however, comfortable in forwarding on their adamant affirmation for keeping the BEE addendum. Workers did not want to lose what little power they had on their farms. They understood their vulnerable position in South African society and wa nted to make the most of their ownership stake, especially now that they better understood it. Leaders from Fairtrade Africa were present to witness the vote and discussion, and the results were formally presented to Fairtrade Africa and FLO CERT South Afr ica. Outcome Despite strong opposition from workers and BEE compliant Fairtrade producers to remove the BEE addendum to certification, it was nonetheless removed in 2012. South Africa is increasingly moving towards corporatization, as is Fairtrade Interna tional as a whole. It was decided that in order to certify more entities and the argument holds help more people, it was important to remove this barrier to certification and place South Africa in line with other global certifications. The removal of the B EE addendum is testament to the powerlessness of farm workers within the Fair Trade South African global assemblage. Power remains in the hands of white elites. Paraquat Paraquat also known as bipyridinium dichloride is a fast acting herbicide that is used to fight stubborn weeds that hinder ideal agricultural production without biologically impacting the crop. However, paraquat does have severe consequences for
242 et al 2011). Paraquat became popular as a herbicide in the 1960s but was placed on by Fairtrade I nternational in 2007 (Fairtrade International 2012). Occupational exposure to Paraquat through the skin or as a result of not wearing appropriate protective gear (P esticide Action Network 1996). Altusberg Valley, led by Fair T rade pro ducer Kloof Uitsig Winery , are the drivers behind the push to remove paraquat from Fairtrade International a Kloof Uitsig jobs, clients need the wine, and banks want to be repaid. You have to be able to break afford to have a jungle in the Altusberg Valley allows for certain ki nds of weeds to thrive; no other chemical is as effective as paraquat at removing these weeds . Other chemicals, they argu e, may work in the short term, but the weeds will retur n quickly. Altusberg Valley farmers argue that Fair T rade models must be responsive to local realities, whether social, economic or environmental. They say that producers from certain areas should not be forced out of the system just because local conditions dictate that a certain chemical must be used that is, unfortunately, prohibited by Fairtrade. Fairtrade must be a flexible bureaucracy that maintains strong standards but also is re sponsive to local realities. The organization
243 should enact policy accordingly, whether this means granting a certain region an exception or reconsidering the entire policy. , the Kloof Uitsig leader who vineyards to be allowed to be sprayed where needed with paraquat for two years. This would break the cycle of weeds, help us get our fields in order, and then not use this Another Fair Trade ar ea farmer thought that producers should be allowed to use paraquat in certain areas of the field that were especially problematic, or Cert scoffed at this suggestion, arguing that the last thing that vulnerable contract laborers needed was even less protection, the kind of protection that Fairtrade feels it can mandate for its beneficiaries but cannot necessarily give to contract labor. The paraquat policy issue is not one that the farmers raised forthrightly, but rather resulted from b eing suspended for using the banned chemical after a FLO CERT au dit . While the producers of the co op noted to me that they were not happy about CERT auditor found a purchasing agreement for the banned chemical on one of the farms during the audit. 4 Kloof Uitsig then decided th at it could not continue hiding its paraquat usage, but rather must approach Fairtra de and work to correct what the former 4 A farmer noted to me that almost all of the other producers in the area were forced to use this chemical in order to properly maintain their vineyards, even those who were Fairtrade certified. They would hide the chemical when an audit was coming and instruct their employees not to tell the auditors of the paraquat usage, saying that if the auditors knew the n it would be bad for everyone on the farm, not just the producer. The farmer said that paraquat could not be detected on the plant after a day of usage. He said that when an auditor was scheduled to arrive, he would remove the paraquat from his farm and h ide it under his bed, a reality that his wife was not pleased about.
244 viewed as a policy that was inappropriate for their local realities. Kloof Uitsig wanted to use their position of power within the Fa ir Trade South Africa global assemblage to lobby for greater flexibility within the Fairtrade bureaucracy. Debate, Negotiation, and Consultation Significant debate around the question of paraquat usage began immediately following the Kloof Uitsig au dit tha t led to suspension. The paraquat policy debate is a ty and its exclusion of workers, who, while they are not intentionally excluded, are often forgotten in consultative processes. Flexibility was shown through Fai its chemical usage. Fairtrade, both in South Africa and abroad 5 , has allowed exceptions to certain chemical standards, typically for short periods of time, in order to help farms maintain certific ation and to account for local specificities. Though FLO CERT personnel noted to me that they were wary about the chemical paraquat and felt that they would likely not change their policy, they were willing to listen and see if there was any room for compr omise. Workers were never contacted concerning the paraquat policy question . After the Fairtrade suspensio n, Kloof Uitsig and other area producers approached FLO CERT en masse about the weed problem in their region, noting that they could not afford not t o use paraquat. They explained the specific environmental conditions of their region and even had the chemical company write a letter to Fairtrade same, nor were eyebro ws raised at Fairtrade by the lack of a worker letter. 5 See Besky (2010) and her work on Fairtrade in India.
245 A Fairtrade standar ds officer, Marley, noted to me that upon originally hearing the argument from the Kloof Uitsig producers, he was inclined to encourage others within the organization to compromise with the producers. However, once he did more Marley been banned everywhere else. This ban is a lso supported by the World Health International could not support a chemical that was bad for worker health, as this would undermine the core goal of empowering marginalized peoples. However, Marley was sympathetic th e concerns of the producers, noting that Marley vowed advantage of the upcoming price review and inc orporate this issue. necessary to ask difficult questions in situations such as this. Do we want to make the minimum price of South African wine higher just because 30% of South African ore expensive alternative, and then egardless of the outcome, Marley maintained that Fairtrad e was taking the concerns of the producers seriously and was looking into a variety of options. One of the potential solutions he proposes was engaging agro chemical experts to help effected producers find economical and environmentally friendly ways of de aling with their weed problem. This could potentially be funded by Fairtrade under their producer support initiative.
246 Sitting in a small, organic focused cafÃ© in Observatory , the hipster suburb of Cape Town, a clearly worn out lia ison officer for FLO Cert, Emily , shared with me that she had an inbox full of emails from Altusberg producers wanting to discuss paraquat. We sipped our mint, cucumber, and apple smoothies as the hot summer wind filtered through the open windows overlooking the busy Lower Main Roa aim was to prove to Emily the necessity of paraquat for the region in the hope that FLO CERT and Fairtrade would be more inclined to listen to them if they had her support. I asked her how she felt about the chemical and she argued that while she sympathized with the difficult position that these producers were in, paraquat was bad for worker hea lth and was also increasingly a pariah on the global agro chemical scene. She said that as and the producers could find common ground though, and that Fairtrade would find a way to make some concessions, even if lifting the ban was not possible. The limits of flexibility were typically determined by stakeholders at the top of Cert. In the case of paraquat, these organizations create, define, and audit standards. Other stakeholders (i.e. producers and workers) are left to negotiate for changes and re interpretations. As the debate over paraquat raged on, producers became increasingl y forceful about their position. Shortly after , the leader of the paraquat policy question e have told Fairtrade that we will not ths without muc h
247 budging from Fairtrade, Thiart back peddled, stating Genevieve , the director of FLO Ce rt South Africa, argued that the paraquat question points to one of the ma jor challenges within Fair Trade: that the decision of whether or not to be a part of the system is made by management. The lack of farm worker power within the assemblage fundamenta lly undermines the Fair Trade system. Genevieve illustrated decided that their best course of action w ould be to decertify. She stressed that the choice to voluntarily decertify would not have been made if the Fair T ra de market was stronger and Fair T rade sales generated re mo ney from their Fair T rade certifications then they would happily c argued. a Kloof Uitsig producer complained All Fair Trade stakeholders acknowledged the serious weed problem in the Altusberg region. However, Fairtrade wanted to continue the chemical ban because of the potential health repercussions for workers and the negative environmental co nsequences . Altusberg producers argued that paraquat was the best and most affordable chemical for the job. If proper health and safety standards are followed, they argued, then Fairtrade must lift the ban, at least in the short term, so that the weeds cou ld be eradicated. The producers tied this question into the ir other main grievance with Fair T rade: the issue of
248 fairn ess. Producers argued that Fair T rade was concerned with the workers at the expense of the producers and business sustainability. However , to reiterate, workers were not consulted about the paraquat question by any stakeholder group. The R ole of W orkers Even though farm workers are the stakeholder group tasked with spraying paraquat and worker safety was the primary reason that the chemica l was banned by Fairtrade, workers were not consulted. I surveyed approximately ten Altusberg Valley farm workers concerning their stance on paraquat. All but two responded that they were not aware of the policy question surrounding this particular chemica l. They said that they simply sprayed what they were asked to spray. However, some of these workers were concerned about the lack of protective gear that they were provided with when they sprayed chemicals. Workers on farms where spraying practices were mo re lax tended to be more concerned about spraying than workers on farms where the producers strictly adhered to health and safety regulations. Their concerns included questions of proper safety clothing and masks, amount of time spent spraying per day 6 , an d whether or not the mandated sh owers were available. W hile many workers were n ot aware of the particular policy question surrounding paraquat, they maintained strong opinions about health and safety practices in regards to chemical usage. Of the two work ers who were aware of the paraquat policy question, one had no opinion on the matter. T he other workers, however, was well informed about the policy, 6 Though Fairtrade regulates how much time a particular individual can spend spraying each day, some producers found it more effici ent to designate one or two workers who would be in charge of spraying. This meant less coordination with moving different workers to different positions during the day and that some workers developed expertise with spraying and handling the machinery and materials. However, these workers who were tasked with spraying were also exposed to far greater levels of toxicity than their non spraying counterparts.
249 likely due to his leadership role on the farm and within Joint Body. He argued that there was no proper substitute for paraquat and that it was important that em with using the Outcome At the time of last inquiry in spring 2012, a conclusion on how to approach the question of paraquat had not been reached. Producers assured me that the y intended to keep arguing their case and taking it to the appropriate people for review. Fairtrade are pleased with the ban, they would continue listening to and working with effected producers. Fairtrade, in the question of paraquat, proved itself to be flexible and able to listen to the needs of some of its clients, while still maintaining a basic level of environmental standards. Exporting Bulk Wine Bulk wine is wine that has not yet been packaged for sale to consumers. It is typically sold in large quantities, shipped, and then bottled closer to the place where it will be sold. Bulk wine does not refer to jug wine, table wine, or boxed wine. Under current Fairtrade In ternational standards, wine can be exported in either bulk or bottled form. Most South African Fair Tra de wine is exported in bulk and then bottled near the
250 sites of consumption. Bulk wine is often shipped in dispo sable flexitank bags that are the n placed into containers, refrigerated, and sent overseas 7 (Veseth 2011). dry goods cheaper overseas than you can here [in South Africa] because a lot of the bottles are made in competitive wine industry that is increasingly flooded with Fair Trade wine also adds to the appeal of this efficient and bottle in the domestic market is about cost savings. They [producers] pay less to ship the wine and pay lower excise, too, since the wine enters the country at the lower exporting bulk wine lowers the cost of shipping and excise taxes, it also changes the structure of value added. Instead of all of the value adding activities occurring in the ly at the sites of bottling and sale (Wine Economist 2012:1). Producing countries often feel it is in their best interest to promote policies that keep as much of the value added in country as possible. Banning the export of bul k wine would mean that all Fair T rade wine would have to be bottled in South Africa rather than abroad, the policy implications of which are explained below. Debate, Negotiation, and Consultation The policy reform calling for a ban on the export of Fairtrade bulk wine from South Africa w as led by Terroir Winery, the largest bottler and exporter of Fairtra de 7 Bulk wine is also a growing phenomenon for domestic wine sales in the United States. Bulk wine acco unted for only 22% of domestic US wine sales in 2001 but accounted for over 40% by 2010 (Wine Economist 2012).
251 wines in South Africa. Terroir saw a n opportunity to increase their profit margi ns and decided to pursue their business interests by advocating for policy reform. Terroir was also inte rested (though critics argued only secondarily) in promoting employment in Sou th Africa and keeping the value added in country, thus theoretically contributing to the improvement of the domestic economy. The CEO of Terroir, Alexander, argued that putting i opposition to the development in must be sustainable and allowing Fairtrade bulk wine exports is not helping Southern economies, w hich are the intended ben believed that by allowing bulk wine exports, Fairtrade was missing an opportunity for social development. Th e bulk wine policy question spurred a great deal of debate and speculation amongst producers, winema kers, exporters, and various Fairtrade personnel. Advocates for the ban on exporting Fairtrade bulk wine supported th is initiative for three reasons. First , they felt that a ban presented the opportunity to keep the value added in South Africa. Secondly, t hey argued that as responsible citizens, it was important to contribute to domestic employment when possible and that this ban would promote job creation. Thirdly, proponents stated that exporting bottled wine would increase the profit margin per bottle, w hich in turn would make businesses more sustainable, reward producers for their hard w ork, and increase Fair T rade income that woul d further empowerment objectives . Opponents of the ban argued again st the policy for three reasons. First , many opponents fel t that the policy question was simply an opportunistic move on the part of Terroir. They argued that Terroir was tryi ng to corner the market on Fair T rade wine to
252 the disadvanta ge of smaller producers who did not own their own bottling facilities. Secondly , many skeptics of the policy argued that this ban would make Fairtrade wine from South Africa more expensive, thus making South African producers less competitive globally. Thirdly, some individuals raised environmental concerns, specifically that shippin g bulk wine overseas was more environmentally friendly than shipping a completely finished product. The business manager of Kloof Uitsig spoke in no uncertai n terms about why he felt Terroir was pushing for the ban on Fairtrade certified bulk wine exports. the exclusivity agreement between Kloof Uitsig and Terroir has come to an end, Terroir he contended want in bulk, then the Blourivier project still gets premium. If I sign an agreement s aying Many producers, eve n those unaffiliated with Terroir in any way, echoed this senti ment. They felt that Terroir saw an opportunity to grow its business and gain more control over Fair T rade wine in South Africa and was capitalizing on this opportunity. This pol stated the marketing ma nager at Boschmansvlei, a mid sized Fair T rade coope rative of vineyards . ect competition to thei r bottling interests. But Terroir
253 Skeptical producers argued that Terroir was not genuinely interested in garnering higher profits for all South African Fair Trade participan ts. Rather, they argued that Terroir wanted to force produ cers to bottle in country, even if this resulted in a loss of Fair Trade export sales for many producers. Terroir would benefit from this policy because it had a large bottlin g facility already in place. It was well positioned to source wine from producer s throughout the Western Cape and b ottle that wine at its facility . T hough the bulk ban would indeed keep value added in country, it would not necessarily keep the value added at the sites of production. Thus, many farm workers and producers would still no t benefit from the reformed commodity chain. Rather, Terroir and other well positioned stakeholders would profit, and they would be able to hire additional cellar staff. Shipping wine in bulk makes more env ironmental sense, though few stakeholders I spoke with approached the policy question from an environmental perspective . In his blog entitled The Wine Economist, scholar and author Mike Veseth s glass accounts for more than 40% of a s packages cost more to ship and require more fuel. Shipp ing goods that weigh less lowers the carbon footprint. Terroir actively lobbied producers and Fair Trade bodies concerning a potential b an on bulk wine. They sent a form letter advocating for the ban on Fair Trade bulk wine to producer allies, asking that they sign and then forward the letter on to the Fairtrade standards office and FLO f the majority of South African produce rs want to ban the export of bulk wine and Fairtrade are above
254 the The struggle between Terroir and variou s wineries and producers illustrates the tension and competition betw een stakeholders who share the same position in the global assemblage . It is important to emphasize that stakeholder groups are not homogenous, banding together under a single mandate to further a specific interest. Rather, individual parties within a stakeholder group often possess competing ideologies and business interests. These debates are not necessarily contained to and resolved by their respective stakeholder group before moving ou tward for wider assemblage negotiation. The Fair Trade global assemblage is not a tidy and organized apparatus possessing well defined chains of command. Outcome After a year of promoting the ban on bulk Fairtrade wine, the policy initiative was defeated. Terroir failed to garner enough support from other producers and exporters for Fairtrad e to seriously consider changing the policy. In the end, most producers felt that this measure would make South African producers less competitive on the global market. As evidenced by the removal of the BEE addendum, concerns over global competitiveness weighed heavily in the minds of producers. Though the policy question was not official ly rejected by Fairtrade, Terroir promoting the bulk wine ban because no one els e in South Africa was on board . Concluding Remarks by empowered stakeholders within the Fair Trade South Africa global assemb lage. Though Fair Trade purports to promote equality, democratic decision making, and
255 consultative process, in reality, elite actors have the necessary wealth and social positioning to inform policy in ways that their disempowered farm worker counterparts do not. No policy question was more pressing from 2010 2011 than the Black Economic Empowerment addendum. Despite the serious implications for farm workers, they were largely excluded from this policy debate. When removing the BEE addendum, reform advocate s in South Africa focused on perceived global competitiveness rather than the commonly used phrases, policy reform from 2010 2011 indicated that already empowered white elit es were the ones who were best able to negotiate the spaces of Fair Trade. Competition within Stakeholder Groups This chapter illustrates that stakeholder groups are not homogenous entities. Rather, they are sites of competition and negotiation, just as w ith the larger assemblage. The BEE addendum case study analyzes why some producers wanted to maintain the addendum while others fought for its removal. Not all stakeholders enter the assemblage with the same perspective. Stakeholder stances are tempered by their individual business realities and ethical convictions. The paraquat case study details how the Altusberg Valley producers attempted to negotiate for an exclusion from the ban while producers from other less affected areas thought that the ban should be uniformly implemented. The bulk wine case study extensively analyzes competing claims and interests of equally positioned actors within the assemblage. Stakeholders like Terroir and its allies who owned bottling facilities argued that bulk wine should be banned and all value added kept in South Africa. Stakeholders who did not own bottling
256 facilities worried that a ban would negatively affect their businesses. They argued that a ban was an unwanted additional trade barrier for South African producers. Competition between Stakeholder Groups This chapter, as its primary concern, addresses how different stakeholder groups bureaucracy and negotiate for their various interests. I ci te the three most salient policy questions in the South African Fair Trade assemblage during my fieldwork from 2009 2011: the BEE addendum to certification, paraquat, and bulk wine. Individual actors and stakeholder groups asserted their power within the g lobal assemblage in order to affect policy. These negotiations, debates, and outcomes allow for the assessment of power within the assemblage. This study illustrates how stakeholders who enter the assemblage from empowered positions are better able to nego tiate for their preferred outcomes. Power has both formal and informal components. In the case of paraquat, formal power rested in the hands of stakeholders near the top of the hierarchical Fairtrade bureaucracy, namely Fairtrade International and FLO Cer t. These organizations created and interpreted certification standards by which producers had to comply. Producers had the right and ability to lobby for changes to the standards, but not to actually change them. Though formal producer power was limited, their informal power exceeded that of Fairtrade and FLO Cert. Producers held the power to subvert the discipline of certification. In other words, if a producer did not like a particular standard, he had the option of not following the rule and disguising his subversion. This is what Altusberg Valley producers did for a number of years until they were caught using the chemical
257 paraquat. This auditing revelation placed Kloof Uitsig Winery under suspension, jeopardizing both their Fairtrade certification and their business sustainability. Producers recognized the need to formalize their power within the assemblage with regard to paraquat. Thus, they launched a campaign to exclude Altusberg Valley producers from the paraquat ban for a limited time, as they cont The cases of the BEE addendum and the bulk wine ban do not show the same formal/informal power dichotomy. Policies were firm, with less room for subversion. Rather than assessing formal/informal power for these policies, i t is more appropriate to analyze how various stakeholders were positioned and able to negotiate for preferred outcomes within formalized structures. This chapter shows that actors who entered the assemblage with more power were better able to influence pol icies. For example, producers influenced the BEE addendum question to a greater extent than did the workers. However, mediating figures like Jill were able to shift the balance of power in in the BEE addendum question than they would have had without her efforts.
258 CHAPTER 7 C ONCLUSION We sat outside of the winery on an especially hot summer day, far enough away to exert too much energy while walking. Natural shade was rare in this semi arid landscape, and we felt the full weight of the 42 degrees Celsius (107.6 Fahrenheit) seem as bad as it had previously. Heinrich and I both wore jeans and mud boots, necessitated by w inery safety protocols. Heinrich, a Coloured worker in a management position, smoked a cigarette as he relaxed from another stressful day of cellar work combined with the exhausting political task of serving as a liaison between workers and management. vineyard lined both sides of the river, providing a lush scene that was in sharp contrast to the people [white management, Fairtrade leaders] making decisions and then expecting us [workers] to agree with them. And then they have the nerve to say that the process was d cigarette. own decisions and I want more money in my pocket to help my fami ly. Workers must be
259 allowed to make mistakes. I still believe that this could happen. But we must keep I nodded my head as he crushed the cigarette butt beneath his boot. joking. Findings This dissertation, based upon 18 months of ethnographic field research in South not necessarily ethnographies and my own preliminary data (Lyon 2008, Moberg 2007, Fridell 2003, Besky 2008, Fisher 2007). I built upon these studies, finding similarly marginal outcomes for Fair Trade workers. I also highlighted the plight of an understudied contingency: workers on commercial farms that gain Fair Trade certification through the hired labor standard (as opposed to the more widely studied smallholder or cooperative plantation standards). 1 discussion of the convergence of global standards with a national reform initiative and in its investigation of Fair Trade as a flexible bureaucracy comprised of numerous fissure s and mutations. This study intervenes in the Fair Trade literature by examining South embrace change, be that revising standards or conceding power to the global Sou th. In each of these discussions, I return to the key argument: workers are oppressed in new 1 of tea in India.
260 ways due to Fair Trade certification, and this oppression is masked by Fair Trade certification. Theoretically, my study positions itself within discussions of eco nomic and political ant hropology by arguing that Fair T rade is a reformist initiative that provides market alternatives by working within the market. Fair Trade attempts to mend the market through the promotion of market driven social justice rather than b y creating a new model. As a result, outcomes are highly dependent upon the motivations of the parties joining Fairtrade. My research chal lenges representations of Fairt rade as an inflexible standardized model of ethical production and consumption. Instea d, it uniquel y reframes discussions of Fairt rade by focusing on the phenomenon as a fundamentally dynamic 2005). South Africa, specifically, was a trailblazer in promoting fl exibility. This research found that Fairtrade has improved the lives of its intended benef iciaries both workers and producers but has not reformed power re lations. T his is in part because producers certify primarily to gain niche market access and workers are not a part of certification and decertification discussions. Stakeholders who enter the Fair Trade South African global assemblage from a position of power maintain that power within the assemblage. Power allows stakeholders to better negotiate for the ir interests within Fair Trade, be they a particular policy reform or an individual certification or audit question. My research advances the understanding of Fairtrade as both a global assemblage and a flexible bureaucracy. South Afr ica pushed Fairtrade towards
261 becoming the flexible bureaucracy that it is today. Stakeholders were able to use the global assemblage model rather than an immutable, hierarchical structure to their advantage. Both groups and individuals lobbied Fairtrade, asserting their relati ve power in ways that made global models more attuned to their needs and to local realities. Fair Trade South Africa (FTSA) was a trailblazer within the Fairtrade global assemblage, lobbying to politicize certification. South Africa provides the fi rst ex ample of the global Fairt rade model revising its standards to reflect na tional realities. In order to do so, Fairt ra (BEE) initiative to further agrarian reform. Additionally, FLSA became the first licensing af filiate and full member in the Global South, and South Africa became the first Fairt rad e producer nation to also serve as a consumer nation. The BEE addendum to Fairt rade c ertification in South Africa did not provide workers with the in practice ownership over farms and businesses for which the authors of the addendum had hoped. Workers received few benefits from the ir shareholding and often lacked awareness that the addendum existed at all. Still, after addendum awareness occurred, worke rs voted unanimously to keep the BEE addendum and improve it to affect real change. Despite a strong statement in support of the addendum from workers, BEE compliant producers , and NGOs, South African Fairt rade leaders removed the policy, arguing that it w as an additional trade barrier that served primarily to disadvantage South African producers on the global mar ket. T hese leaders argued that the process was consultative and democratic. However, workers were consulted about the addendum only after a public outcry concerning their exclusion. The process
262 was not truly democratic either, as thousands of workers counted as a single vote, while each producer received their own vote. The argument for the removal of the BEE addendum depoliticizes the unique devel opment needs of the South African socio economic landscape. It argues that South African certification does not require its own model, but rather can operate under the standard global model. Just as BEE was merged with South African Fairtrade certification to politicize development, its removal was illustrative of depoliticization. Just realities, it can also be used to re entrench the power of elite stakeholders and/or to fur ther organizational growth. Flexibility has the potential for a variety of outcomes. Recent Developments Reforming the H ired L abor S tandard Recognizing the need to improve working conditions and worker power on commercial farms, Fairtrade initiated a revie w of its hired labor standards in 2012, after the completion of my research in South Africa. As part of the consultative review process, the Fairtrade International Standards Unit interviewed 400 workers, 170 management representatives, and 120 NGO workers and other relevant stakeholders throughout Fairtrade producer nations in Africa, Latin America, and Asia (Fairtrade International 2014). The review resulted in significant changes to the hired labor standard, specifically by mandating freedom of associat ion, a move towards a living wage, increased decision making power for the Joint Body, and new protections for migrant labor (Fairtrade International 2014). The new hired labor standard was unveiled in January 2014. Additional research is needed to determ ine the effectiveness of these
263 Fairtrade global assemblage. In his article in The Guardian, Richard Anstead, head of project management at the UK based Fairtrade Foundati on, argues that the new hired labor standard is an fails the very poorest and th only one important step on a much longer journey to strengthen the position of workers Workers' Rights and Trade Union Relations at Fairtrade International, agrees. "Our work and now we have to work hard to make sure workers have the capacity and the freedom to negotiate fairer workpl importantly to the research presented in this dissertation is the increased power of the Joint Body, now renamed the Fairtrade Premium Committee. Fai rtrade recognized the need to empower workers and remove the over participation of management/farm owners in regards to the premium money. Fairtrade International advertizes this reform workers and management. Now, management participates in the Fairtrade Premium Committee as certainly an improvement, in paternalistic situations like that found in rural S outh Africa,
264 When White managers are present, Coloured farm workers often defer to their presumed expertise. They do so partially in fear of upsetting management and risk ing their jobs. The Fairtrade Premium Committee now has greater flexibility over the kinds of projects it enacts. The committee can also elect to use up to 20% of the premium for direct cash payments to workers (Fairtrade International 2014). This reform w as commonly cited as a desirable step by workers I interviewed. This vulnerable and marginalized contingent argued that the best way to affect real change in their lives was to increase their monthly budgets and allow them control over the money. The other key reform is the move towards a living wage. Fairtrade now mandates that hired labor farms pay their workers either above the minimum wage of their country or more than their uncertified counterparts in the area, but no less than the minimum wage (Fairtr ade International 2014). Fairtrade recognizes the need to move towards a living wage, not just a minimum wage. To that end, the new hired labor standard set benchmarks for living wage progression compliance. Additionally, Fairtrade is conducting research o n what constitutes a living wage in different national contexts, further testament of its incorporation of concepts of flexibility into its core ideology. Other notable reforms include a greater awareness of the needs of migrant laborers, stronger grievanc e procedures (including sexual harassment), and improved protocols for sharing information with workers (Fairtrade International 2014). As Pins Brown, a blogger for the Ergon Association, sagaciously notes, the new standards raise the bar for compliance an d place increased pressures on producers. These new
265 management is well to put on a good show for vis challenging management authority, and operate with a paternalistic assumption that management are working in worker My research shows that these new standards have been needed for quite some to say that the Standard has arrived a little later than some would have liked, and follows on the heels of reports critical of how in some crop certification processes have Fairt rad E volution Fairt rade is under increasing pressure to include the global South in its policy decisions and to improve the plight of workers under the hired lab or standard. As a result, Fairt rade acquiesced power last June, giving producer networks from A frica, Asia, and Latin American a 50% vote in the General Assembly which has historically been dominated by European and American interests for the first time. Fair Trade W ine in C omparison Fair Trade wine is becoming an increasingly competitive market, due to new certifications in South Africa and especially to the growth of the Fair Trade wine in Argentina and Chile. Argentinean and Chilean producers seek Fair Trade certification for the sa me niche market access that drives South African producers to the label. Additionally, many South Africans see an opportunity to grow their wineries by collaborating with South American producers. There are two primary questions that
266 further research shoul d investigate: 1) what business, trade, and labor conditions incentivize South African producers and business people to move abroad for collaboration and new business ventures; and 2) how do the varying sites of production each steeped in their own histori cal and geographical realities affect the way that Fair Trade certification is implemented and wine is produced. It will add an important comparative analysis of production, marketing, and export of a single Fair Trade commodity. Lastly, it will highlight the important role that migration and mobility are playing in the development of alternatives to capitalism and ethical certifications. Farm W orker S trikes the context of South African wine, a further point of inquiry is how this labor force is revolutionizing its approach to established hierarchies and paternalistic practices both at the sites of production and within supposedly empowering trade unions. Situated within discussi ons power, discipline, and post colonial reform, this project would examine the farm worker strikes that began on Western Cape wine estates Fair Trade and conventional in late 2012 due to oppressive labor practices and low/illegal pay. Laborers skipped wor k, burned vineyards, threw rocks from bridges into oncoming traffic, and set up road blocks. An outcry against both the relations of production in the wine industry and the abysmal record of agriculture focused trade unions in South Africa, these protests showcase feelings of resentment and discontent that have simmered for centuries. Though a compromise was reached, workers received only a fraction of their wage demands and no change in the terms of their employment. Resentment remains and simmers anew. W hile the producer/laborer relationship and resultant uprisings and
267 violence are well studied elsewhere, the unique historical, racial, and cultural make up of the Western Cape has stifled revolt until these strikes mobilized en masse one of the most vulner able populations in a highly stratified South Africa. Implications of R ecent D evelopments The foregoing exploration of recent developments shows how Fairtrade continues in its position of a flexible bureaucracy. While it maintains a structure with a hierar chical chain of command, it is open to input from stakeholders throughout the assemblage. Farm workers go on strike. Hired labor standards are reviewed and reformed to address shortcomings of past agendas. The Global South continues to demand and win impro ved positions of power within the organization. This changing power within the Fairtrade global assemblage can also be viewed flexible bureaucracy use its ideology of ada ptability to negotiate for their interests, the assemblage shifts. Though my research shows that actors who are empowered as they entire the assemblage are better able to negotiate for their preferred outcomes, developments after the completion of my resea rch show historically disempowered groups specifically farm workers on hired labor estates are increasingly empowered within the assemblage as well. This could be either testament to the transformative capabilities of Fairtrade, or, more likely, to the har d work of empowered stakeholders (AFIT, producer support networks, etc.) who negotiate on behalf of marginalized and vulnerable groups.
26 8 APPENDIX PERMANENT WORKER SURVEY Demography 1. Hoe oud is jy? How old are you? 2. Waarvandaan kom jy? Where do you come from? 3. Waar woon jy permanent? Where do you live permanently? 4. Hoeveel skool het jy gehad? How much school have you had? Livelihood Strategies 5. Waarvandaan kom jou water vir huishoudelike gebruik? Where does your household water come from? 6. ilet by die huis? Do you have a toilet for your house? a. Is dit binne of buite? b. Hoeveel mense gebruik hierdie toilet? 7. Het jy elektrisiteit by die huis? Do you have electricity in your house? 8. Waar dink jy sal jy woon wanneer jy aftree? Where do you think you retire? 9. Kry jy All Pay? 10. Pensioners? 11. Met hoeveel mense woon jy saam? How many people do you live with? 12. Hoeveel van daardie mense bring geld in? How many of these people financially contribute to the household? 13. Is enige van hulle permane nte werkers? Permanent employment? 14. Is jou bydra die meeste? Is your contribution the largest? 15. Gebruik jy alcohol in jou huis? 16. Wat sou jou lewe verbeter? What would improve your life? 17. Wat sou jou gemeenskap verbeter? What would improve your community? Worki ng Conditions 18. Hoe lank werk jy nou al op hierdie plaas/kelder? How long have you worked on this farm/cellar? 19. Het jy al op ander plaas gewerk? Have you worked on other farms? 20. Hoeveel ure per dag werk jy op hierdie plaas? 21. e werk)? 22. 23. Kry jy enige iets anders as jou wages (verdienste)? 24. Wat dink jy van die plaas eienaar/jou bestuurder? 25. Is daar n toilet vir jou om te gebruik tydens die werksdag? 26. Wat is Fairtrade? 27. Watter voordeel kry jy uit Fairtrade? Are you getting any benefits from Fairtrade?
269 28. Wanneer sal jy voordeel van Fairtrade kry? When do you think you will receive benefits from Fairtrade? 29. Het werksomstandighede verbeter op heirdie plaas/kelder sedert die vorige oes? Hoe? Have working conditions improved on this farm since last harvest? How? Social Network Analysis 30. To whom do you go if you have a problem while working? 31. Woul d you like to be a member of a trade union? Why? 32. Are you discouraged from joining a trade union? 33. Wat is die Joint Body? 34. Wie is op die Joint Body? 35. Aan wie raporteer en wat dink jy van daar person? Who do you report to directly? What do you think of this person? 36. Wie is die besluitnemers op Stellar? Who are the decision makers at Stellar? 37. Neem jy deel aan die besluitneming oor hierdie plaas/kelder? Do you take part in decisions about the farm/cellar/company? 38. Wat is die Fairtrade premie? 39. Wat wil jy doen met die Fairtrade premie geld? 40. Wie besluit om te doen met die Fairtrade premie geld? 41. Hoe dikwels kommunikeer jy persoonlik die bestuur? How frequently do you communicate with management? 42. Met watter persone in bestuur het jy die meeste kontak? Which person(s) in management do you typically interact with? 43. Describe for me a typical conversation wit h management, please. 44. Hoe vergelyk jou werk met die van jou vriende wie nie by Stellar werk nie (werksomstandighede, betaal, etc.)? How does your job (working conditions, pay) compare to your friends who do not work at Stellar? Expenses 1. Wat is jou maandel ikse ontkoste ann: How much do you spend month on: a. Kos? b. Rent? (Die verhuur van jou huis) c. Selfoon? d. Elektrisiteit? e. Skool fees? f. Alkohol? g. Begrafnisplan? Funeral policy
270 h. Aftreeplan? Retirement plan i. Skuld? Debt maintenance j. Algemene uitgawes? Other major expenses ? 2. Wat dink jy is maandeliks jou grootse aankoste? Primary expense? 3. Wie in jou huishouding is die finansiele besluitnemer? Expenditure decision maker? Policy 1. Wat is BEE? 2. Wat dink jy van Fairtrade se BEE beleid? 3. Is there BEE op hierdie plaas? How does it work? 4. Wat dink jy van die chemical paraquat? Should it be used? 5. policies? 6. Have you been consulted? 7. Do you think you should be consulted?
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280 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Alison completed her doctoral degree in anthropology and doctoral certificate in African Studies from the University of Florida in August 2014. She also holds a of Oklahoma. During her studies at UF, Alison was a Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellow in both Swahili and Afrikaans, a Fulbright Fellow to South Africa, a National Science Foundation Fellow in Cultural Anthropology, a University of Rochester Frederick Douglass Institute of African and African American Studies Pre doctoral Fellow, and a University of Florida Dissertation Completion Fellow. In addition to her research and writing, Alison taugh t Introduction to Cultural Anthropology at UF.