Fair Trade USA To Review New Policy


November 1, 2011


Fair Trade USA has begun conducting a full review of its controversial new labelling policy, the announcement of which had earlier led to warnings that it may lose its status as a fair trade certifier.

The new policy, scheduled to go live on 1 January 2012, would have seen the body certify products as ‘Fair Trade’ if they had a minimum of 25% fair trade ingredients – even if they also contained standard ingredients for which fair trade alternatives were commercially available. The body said the move was expected to encourage companies transition from conventional ingredients to greater use of fair trade ones.

However, the announcement of the policy led to the Fair World Project, a campaign of the Organic Consumers Association, saying that FT USA could be derecognised as a reputable fair trade certifier FWP noted: “We’re very concerned that consumers will have no ability to distinguish a product that is 100% fair trade vs. a product that is only 25%, which is the minimal threshold for receiving the seal. Until we can have any sort of guarantee or process around that, we can’t advise [consumers] to purchase these products.”

FT USA has now announced: “The policy itself is not very detailed and there are some concerns that it may be abused. What we’ve said to our stakeholders, industry advocates, etc., is we hear you. We’re going to do a full review of this policy.” Results of the review will be made public in December this year.


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