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Ethical product havens, governance, international trade, diamonds, Wayback Machine

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Who benefits from ethical product markets? While most ethical products (e.g. fair trade and eco-certified products) are intended to benefit marginalized communities and vulnerable ecosystems, the reality is that the geographic preferences exhibited by so-called ethical markets may, in fact, reinforce global inequities rather than remedy them. It can be difficult to evaluate the outcomes of ethical product markets, however, because we are often limited to data from a small number of industries with widely used standards and certifications. This research pilots a new methodology, using an online archive—the Wayback Machine, to evaluate shifts in countries' ethical market share, focusing on the evolution of the ethical diamond market over the past 20 years. The ethical diamond market is an interesting case because it began specifically as a competition among countries of origin, with Canadian officials and diamond producers trading on Canada's reputation to position Canada as an ethical product haven in opposition to conflict diamonds from Africa. Yet, Canada's early ethical monopoly has been contested on multiple fronts, and this article focuses on the following questions: To what extent has the contestation over Canada's ethical monopoly actually changed the ethical diamond market? Specifically, how much market share have different ethical alternatives gained and lost over time? And, what does this tell us about the governance and development outcomes of the market? The results show that while the market has diversified over time, it is still largely not benefiting the most marginalized diamond producing countries and communities.

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Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space, in press

Hamilton T, Cavello S. Ethical product havens in the global diamond trade: Using the Wayback Machine to evaluate ethical market outcomes. Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space. July 2021. Copyright © 2021 by SAGE Publications.

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