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 CERTONTO: TOWARDS AN ONTOLOGICAL REPRESENTATION OF FAIR TRADE CERTIFICATION STANDARDS

1. Information Retrieval and Knowledge Management Research Lab School of Information Technology, York University Toronto, ON M3J 1P3, Canada
2. Department of Information Technology Management, School of Business University at Albany/SUNY, Albany, NY 12222, USA

The global fair trade movement, to secure fair deal for producers, has been supported by the labeling initiative, which promotes sales of fair-trade products by expanding their distributions into major consumer segments through product-labeling. Fair-trade certifications, practised in compliance with the fair trade standards set by Fairtrade International (FLO), are carried out at the producer end of the supply chain. Given the varieties of products and producers, however, these certification activities are subject to ambiguous or inconsistent interpretation of the FLO standards. In this paper, we propose an ontological representation of the standards called CertOnto. We aim at defining eventually a set of ontological vocabularies for describing the concepts of actors and their roles, the compliance criteria, producers, products, activities, context and situations, all of which are involved into a basic decision problem for CertOnto: Given a producer, or a product, should it be fairtrade-certified or not? With regard to this problem, we emphasize the difficulties of verifying the accuracy of information captured by CertOnto-FLO, and show that, from technical perspective, computingwith CertOnto-FLO in general is challenging (at least NP-hard).
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