November 15, 2011
On October 19th, Fair World Project (FWP) released a statement declaring that as of January 1, 2012, FWP will not recognize FTUSA as a reputable fair trade certifier unless it reverses its proposed labeling and commercial availability standards. This week, FWP sent a letter to FTUSA to convey FWP’s position on the proposed changes. To view FWP’s letter to FTUSA, please visit:: http://www.fairworldproject.org/fairtradeusa.
FTUSA has responded in writing that they are interested in dialoging on these issues. As a result of over 1600 letters to FTUSA, FTUSA has stated that they will be reviewing their labeling guidelines. Read Fair World Project’s response here.
At play in FTUSA’s “draft” labeling standards are two key points:
- FTUSA’s “draft” labeling requirements technically allow for multi-ingredient products to carry the “Fair Trade Certified” (FTC) mark so long as they reach a minimum dry weight of 25% fair trade ingredients. Without a fair trade commercial availability requirement (like FLO 2.2 or IMO 1.1.1), manufactures will be granted use of the FTC mark for multi-ingredient products with only 25% FTC content, even if their product could contain a higher percentage of FTC content.
- As currently written, FTUSA labeling policies do not allow for producers and consumers to easily distinguish products with high fair trade content and those with minimal fair trade content. Dedicated fair trade manufacturers that source 100% of fair trade ingredients will be at an unfair disadvantage when consumers must chose between similar products, one with a maximum percentage of fair trade ingredient, and one with only the minimum. To assure a level playing field for consumers and manufacturers labeling requirements must include a clear identifier for the percentage of Fair Trade ingredients. Ingredients logo must be accompanied by a % of fair trade ingredients if used on the front panel.
Let FTUSA know that you want clear labeling guidelines and a strong fair trade commercial availability requirement for multi-ingredient products.
Alternatively, you can post your comments and concerns on FTUSA’s Forum