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

Truly Equitable Trade: A Vision for Transformative Markets

credit - Equal Exchange Coop - Cooperativa Norandino Members

Fair trade has shown itself to be a successful model for building capacity and allowing marginalized producers to enter the market. Yet the fair trade movement is falling short of its potential to achieve genuine, profound, inclusive and democratic fair trade that truly transforms the way in which markets and economies are established. In June […]

The Road to Food Sovereignty

Global Land Use and Food Production Statistics

For every dollar consumers spent in supermarkets, health and environmental damages cost two dollars more. Our planet can no longer afford the industrial food chain that is destroying our planet and our health. The solution? To support the interlinked network of small-scale farmers, livestock-keepers, pastoralists, hunters and gatherers, fishers and urban producers who already feed […]

Fair For All: The Climate Solutions Embedded in Fair Trade

Woman picks Papaya - Serendipol - Dr Bronner

Experts agree, it’s high time we make some changes in the ways we grow food and crops. The good news is that small scale-farmers and their fair trade cooperatives are already leading the way to a new future—read on for seven principles that fair trade and climate advocates can agree on. Written by Anna Canning […]

Collaborating to Cool the Planet

photo-credit: Coop Coffees - Training group

How Farmer-to-Farmer Trainings Are Spreading New Solutions to Climate Change In the fall of 2017, Grow Ahead, a partner of Fair World Project, successfully crowdfunded a farmer-to-farmer training in Nicaragua. Here’s what José Fernando Reyes of Norandino Cooperative in Peru has to say about his experience. How Farmer-to-Farmer Trainings are Spreading New Solutions to Climate […]

Building Power From the Ground Up

Black Dirt Farm Collective

“There is no food sovereignty without land; land really is the basis of power, and it does not get simpler than that. Land is the primary mechanism for many of us poor folks and people of color to actually have something to stand on and have a future to farm. And it is not just […]

Product Picks

Tortilla Stones

We asked members of our staff and editorial board for some of their current favorite products that support traditional foods and the communities they are rooted in. Find them online or at your favorite natural food store! Deforestation, decreasing biodiversity, increasing pesticide use – those are just a few of the ways that our industrial […]

Fair Trade is the Pathway to Regenerative Agriculture

Coop Coffee

The movement for a food system that sustains people and planet is been growing. Fair trade offers a model to incorporate fair livelihoods and the true cost of production into regenerative agriculture models that are both new and very old, feeding the world and tending the planet. Written by Ryan Zinn The climate is changing, […]

A Soil-to-Soil Vision for the Fashion Revolution

Paige Green - Fibershed

From origins in Northern California, Fibershed is building a global network of regional regenerative fiber systems. Founder Rebecca Burgess describes her vision for vibrant local fibersheds that connect us to the landscapes that grow what we wear and sustains a new generation of farmers, ranchers, natural dyers and mills. From conventional cotton production, which uses […]

Fair Trade As We Do It: the Story of Jumbo Nuts

Annie Jose sewing rice seeds into her rice paddy

Fair Trade Alliance Kerala, the small-farmer collective I work for, is recapturing the homestead farming traditions of Kerala. Our goal is to grow to about 10,000 farming families stewarding about 40,000 acres of farmland, creating conditions that are akin to a tropical rainforest in crop diversity and biodiversity. For us, biodiversity is a food security […]

Regenetarians Unite!

Regenetarians Unite

As eaters, we have a choice: will our diets restore and replenish the earth, or will they deplete it? An exploration of three key principles that look beyond simple distinctions between omnivore and vegan towards a new Regenetarian ethos. By David Bronner How the Regenerative Agriculture and Animal Welfare Movements Can End Factory Farming, Restore […]