Document Type



Political Science

Rights Management

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


In this paper I seek to understand fair trade as a social movement and the relationship of fair trade to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals created by the United Nations. I look at the history of the fair trade movement in the context of alternative trade organizations and the sustainability movement during the precipitous rise and stature of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in the 1990s. I analyze the growth and scalability of fair trade in the U.S. since 2015 through three of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals: SDG 1: Ending Poverty; SDG 5: Gender Equality; and SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production. Using the indicators and targets detailed by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, I utilize primary and secondary research to measure fair trade’s alignment and effectiveness as an instrument of sustainable development.