York professors discuss fair trade at international conference

Professors Darryl Reed and J.J. McMurtry of York’s  Business & Society Program, in the Department of Social Science in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, delivered the closing plenary address at the second annual CIRIEC International Research Conference on the Social Economy. The conference, which took place Oct. 1 and 2, was held at the Mid Sweden University (Mittuniversitetet ) in Östersund, Sweden.   

The conference was organized by CIRIEC International (Centre International de Recherches et d’Information sur l’Economie Publique, Sociale et Coopérative), an international research network that links scholars and practitioners who have research interests involving cooperatives, the social economy and the public sector. Researchers from more than 35 countries participated in the event, which included both academic presentations as well as site visits to local social economy enterprises.

At the conference, Reed and McMurtry spoke about the problems of the internationalization of cooperatives, the theme of their recently edited book Co-operatives in a Global Economy: The Challenges of Co-operation across Borders (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009). 

Reed and McMurtry, along with York political science Professor Ananya Mukherjee-Reed, are members of a Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada-sponsored Social Economy Suite Grant. As part of this initiative they have been investigating sustainable purchasing policies in Canadian universities and school boards, as well as undertaking active research into a myriad of factors related to fair trade cotton goods. The trio’s work in fair trade cotton goods has involved the development of Wear Fair, a new garment cooperative in Guelph, Ont., which imports fair trade cotton products from India.