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Chapter 8 Towards Better Understandings of Relationships in Fair Trade Finance: Shared Interest Society and Social Accounting

The Third Sector

ISBN: 978-1-78052-280-7, eISBN: 978-1-78052-281-4

Publication date: 8 November 2011


Purpose – The chapter is concerned with the practice of social accounting as enabling understanding and development of accountability relationships within a global values-based organisation operating with those in emerging and less developed countries.

Design/methodology/approach – The research takes a case-based approach to the experience of social accounting and reporting from 2005 to 2009 with Shared Interest Society, an international fair trade finance organisation.

Findings – The findings are better understandings of how accountability relationships within the case organisation are developed over time through social accounts. Shared Interest's social accounts suggest a way to move towards understandings of accountability that acknowledge organisational values and the needs and expectations of different stakeholder groupings.

Research limitations/implications – The research examines a single organisation with a particular focus on their social accounts. Nevertheless, this offers considerable insight into how accountability is developed within a single organisational setting.

Social implications – Through social accounting, awareness of issues concerning fair trade can be raised at an organisational, local and national level. The case organisation is underpinned by the fundamental value of working for the common good to benefit humanity and/or the planet rather than working for individual gain using financial assets held for the benefit of society, in this case through the financing of international fair trade within developing nations where fair trade is seen as part of a solution to bring benefit to the world's poorest people.

Originality/value – The research responds to a lack of empirical studies within social accounting addressing fieldwork exploration in ‘values-based’ organisations and specifically co-operative-based organisations where social accounts are used to communicate with stakeholders, in this case at the level of fair trade producers.



Gibbon, J. and Angier, P. (2011), "Chapter 8 Towards Better Understandings of Relationships in Fair Trade Finance: Shared Interest Society and Social Accounting", Hull, R., Gibbon, J., Branzei, O. and Haugh, H. (Ed.) The Third Sector (Dialogues in Critical Management Studies, Vol. 1), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 203-223.



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