Fairtrade International recently released a proposal called the Fairtrade Sourcing Partnership that would allow a fair trade label (similar to the current fair trade mark used by Fairtrade International and its labeling parters such as Fairtrade America) if 100% of either sugar or cocoa are certified, even if other ingredients are not. This is a move away from their previous policy that all ingredients that can be fair trade must be (known also as commercial availability), and would apply even if the sugar or cocoa made up less than 20% of the total product (the current minimum threshold for using a seal on front of package).
Fair World Project has expressed concern to Fairtrade International both in a joint letter with Equal Exchange, Divine Chocolate, Alter Eco, Wholesome Sweeteners, and Whole Foods Market (the largest natural product retailer in the US) and during stakeholder engagement meetings. In addition, many committed fair trade brands and producers voiced their own concern in a joint letter. On October 31, 2013 Fairtrade America sent a email announcing they would not introduce the new on-pack label into the US marketplace, but will still be considering implementation of other aspects of the initiative.
Fair World Project has called upon Fairtrade International to take fully into account the risk to producers as well as the transparency to consumers of this proposal before implementing. We will continue to follow this process and take additional actions to advocate on behalf of producers and consumers if warranted.
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