FWP Statement Regarding FTUSA’s Revised Draft Multiple Ingredient Standards
JOIN OUR MAILING LIST
Enter Email
CONTRIBUTE TODAY
FOLLOW US ON
FEATURED CAMPAIGN

 Watch the Video

FacebookTwitterGoogle+EmailShare

January 20,  2012
 

On January 1st, 2012, Fair Trade USA (FTUSA, formerly TransFair USA) became an indpenendent fair trade certifier and is no longer the US arm of the global fair trade system administered by Fairtrade International (FLO). Fair World Project (FWP) has closely monitored the developing situation of fair trade certifications and certifiers, including FTUSA, FLO and IMO’s Fair for Life program.

 

FWP released a public statement on October 3rd, 2011 to address the FTUSA’s resignation from FLO. Pending concerns remain with respect to FTUSA’s governance model, operational transparency and plans to grant fair trade certification to coffee plantations. Based upon initial drafts of FTUSA’s multiple ingredient product policies, FWP declared on 0ctober 19th that it would not recognize FTUSA as a reputable certifier as of January 1st 2012 unless key provisions in the policy were corrected. In particular, FWP objected to the lowering of the fair trade content threshold to 25% for a product to bear FTUSA’s “whole product” seal and 10% for its “ingredients” seal, and the allowance for multiple ingredient products to receive the FTUSA seals by sourcing the minimum 10% or 25% fair trade (FT) content, even if FT forms of remaining ingredients in a product were commercially available. Over 2,000 FT advocates sent letters to FTUSA objecting to this draft policy.

 

FTUSA released its revised draft Multiple Ingredients Product Policy on January 18. FWP is pleased that FTUSA has incorporated feedback from various stakeholder groups on important issues, especially with respect to raising the whole product seal threshold to “100%” (actually 95% with allowance for non FT minor ingredients similar to the organic program) and ingredients seal to 20%, and reinstating the commercial availability requirement to source FT forms of ingredients in products even if the minimum 20% FT content threshold is reached.  The commercial availability requirement in particular is a crucial market driver to expand markets for fair trade producers.   However, there are a number of critical areas for improvement.

 

Specifically:

 

1)    Labeling. FTUSA’s draft policy for products using the “Ingredients” seal (Products containing a 20% threshold of Fair Trade Certified content but less than 95%) as currently conceived is misleading and needs to be improved. This fair trade seal in and of itself on product packages conveys to consumers that the product is at least majority fair trade.  FWP urges FTUSA to either confine the Ingredients seal to the back of packaging or require specific FT ingredients be highlighted on the front of packaging via a “Made with [specified FT ingredients]” statement and, insofar as the FT seal appears on the front of packages that the language on the “Fair Trade Ingredients” seal should change to “Contains Fair Trade Certified Ingredients” (emphasis added).  FWP has created several mocked up versions below of the “Ingredient” label that would satisfy our demand:

        

 

2)    Product Transition timelines. FTUSA draft policy provides a 2-year transition period for licensees who are currently using ingredients in non-fair trade form for which there are commercial FT sources available, to begin using the fair trade forms.  FWP believes that a 1-year transition period is sufficient to source FT ingredients and update packaging.  

 

3)    Transparency regarding commercial availability and exemptions.  FTUSA’s draft policy has detailed steps to assist companies in sourcing FT ingredients, including conditions under which companies may receive an exemption for FT ingredients that are not commercially available. The draft policy is suitable but lacks transparency with regard to which companies and products receive exemptions. FWP recommends that FTUSA post publicly on its website requests for exemptions and the rationale and timeframe for any exemptions granted. 

 

Pending the final outcome of Fair Trade USA’s draft policy for multiple ingredient products, Fair World Project will reconsider recognizing FTUSA as a valid fair trade certifier. 

Take action and urge Fair Trade USA to uphold the integrity of the fair trade movement and to revise its draft policy for multiple ingredients products to incorporate  FWP’s concerns over labeling, product transition timelines, and transparency regarding commercial availability and ingredient exemptions.

.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+EmailShare

Fair Trade for Farmers and Soil

Plowing field with oxen

Small-scale organic farming and regenerative agricultural practices combat our climate crisis and help feed the world. Here are just a few of the ways that fair trade producers and their brand partners are collaborating to grow ethical supply chains through regenerative organic agricultural methods, and producing goods that we can all feel good about. This […]

The Hidden History Made at Sakuma Brothers Farms

Picking blueberries: Copyright David Bacon

History was made on September 12, 2016 with the election of Familias Unidas por la Justicia to be the union representing berry pickers at Sakuma Brothers Farms in Washington state. Three perspectives on what that means for farmworkers, farmers, and our food system. History was made on September 12, 2016 with the election of Familias […]

Food Waste, Hunger and Climate Change

Food Wastage Footprint and Climate Change, Rome FAQ

As a child, you likely heard some variation of the cliché, “Eat all your food; there are starving people in the world.” While hunger remains one of humanity’s greatest challenges, the underlying causes are not as clear as one might think. Written by Ryan Zinn As a child, you likely heard some variation of the […]

Fair Cannabis?

Trimming

For decades, workers have flocked to Northern California and Southern Oregon to work the fall cannabis harvest. Some are migrants on their seasonal tour. Others are driven by an interest in cannabis culture, or by the promise of lucrative pay. While some “trimmers” have had pleasant, safe and profitable experiences, many have not. Written by […]

Sustainable Public Procurement:

Sustainable Public Procurement

An Understated and Effective Way to Grow Fair Trade Sales of fair trade products have grown in leaps and bounds, especially in Europe. While this growth is encouraging, supply from producers in the Global South is well ahead of demand from consumers in the North. How do we close this gap? Here’s a practical guide […]

Trading Down: How Unfair Trade Hurts Farmers

United States farm incomes sharply declined in 2016 for the third year in a row. Prices for wheat and corn are currently at ten-year lows, and in many cases U.S. farmers are paid below the cost of production for what they produce. While these low prices hurt U.S. farmers, when the crops are exported by […]

Grow Ahead: Crowdfunding Climate Resilience

Fair World Project is launching Grow Ahead, an online crowdfunding platform. For the first time, individual consumers can forge an intimate link with front-line farmer groups, directly funding farmer initiatives and supporting the global effort to address climate change on the farm. Industrial agriculture and food production is a major contributor to climate change, and […]

Fair Cities

cities_minnesota

    What will the just economy of the future look like? We asked for your suggestions for cities across North America that are living examples of fair trade values in action. Is yours on the list? MINNEAPOLIS/ST PAUL, Minnesota Minneapolis-St. Paul is a hotbed of fair trade activity. For decades now, local nonprofits like the […]

It’s Time for Wages With Dignity

timeforwage02

by Ryan Johnson Quietly, hidden behind the headlines that feature presidential candidates bemoaning the state of our country and our economy, voters in several states are no longer waiting on politicians. They’re taking matters into their own hands and launching minimum wage ballot initiatives to create the economic change people sorely need. The impetus for […]

The Business Case for Raising the Minimum Wage

businesscase01

by David Bronner At Dr. Bronner’s, the company I run with my family, we believe that we can only prosper in the long run if we contribute to the prosperity of society as a whole. It’s why we strive to compensate all our staff fairly, cap executive compensation at five times the lowest paid position, […]