From Commoditisation to De-commoditisation … and Back Again: Discussing the Role of Sustainability Standards for Agricultural Products

Authors

  • Benoit Daviron,

    1. Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement, Unité Mixte de Recherche ‘Marchés, Organisations, Institutions et Stratégies d'Acteurs’, TA C-99/15, 73 rue Jean François Breton, 34398 Montpellier Cedex 5, France (isabelle.vagneron@cirad.fr).
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  • Isabelle Vagneron

    1. Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement, Unité Mixte de Recherche ‘Marchés, Organisations, Institutions et Stratégies d'Acteurs’, TA C-99/15, 73 rue Jean François Breton, 34398 Montpellier Cedex 5, France (isabelle.vagneron@cirad.fr).
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  • This work was carried out with the financial support of the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR, the French National Research Agency) under the ‘Programme Agriculture et Développement Durable’ project (ANR-05-PADD-013–01, NORMES).

Abstract

Sustainability standards are flooding global agricultural markets. Standards, however, are not new. This article analyses, from a historical perspective, the implications of the transition from traditional to sustainability standards in the commoditisation/de-commoditisation process. It shows how early standards contributed to the construction of the category of primary commodities and how, after a short attempt at de-commoditisation (with the early fair-trade and organic standards), sustainability standards are tending towards re-commoditisation.

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