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Making Trade Fairer: Trader Standard of Fairtrade International Revised

 By Fairtrade International

 

In trade relationships, information is power. If you know the going price of honey on international markets, you have a distinct advantage in negotiations. If you are unaware of resources available to you as a small-scale coffee farmer, you are in a weaker position.

One of Fairtrade International’s primary goals is to address potential imbalances in trade and bring greater fairness. As one of the only certification systems that directly address trade relationships, Fairtrade International works hard to find a balance between strict criteria while still allowing trade to flourish.

Fairtrade International’s newly revised Trader Standard aims to strengthen core requirements, promote greater transparency, and also includes new voluntary best practices to recognize traders who go above and beyond simple compliance with core requirements.

To be successful and drive impact for farmers and workers, we need to have all types of companies,” said Harriet Lamb, Chief Executive of Fairtrade International. “We’re prepared to work with people who do the minimum, but we need to recognize those who go beyond the Standard and the requirements – who are fully committed to sustainable trade.”

The revision comes out of a far-reaching consultation with approximately 400 stakeholders participating, including more than 100 producers, over 170 traders and input from workshops held in six countries.

Many companies in the Fair Trade system are already dedicated to sustainable and ethical trading practices, such as offering training and financial support to producer organizations, early commitment on contracts, and measures to limit their environmental impact.

New voluntary best practices included in the Trader Standard will be audited, giving Fairtrade International the ability to formally recognize those who go above and beyond. For companies that are still developing their approach to sustainability, these best practices provide a framework to improve performance – similar to the development path model used in Fairtrade International’s Producer Standards.

Examples of these best practices include extended sourcing plans, capacity building, long-term commitment and additional environmental criteria.

Fairer Tradeer  Manuel Pandalis

The core requirements of the Trader Standard always have been – and remain focused– on fairer trading relations which had been slightly revised to improve clarity and simplify language and ensure greater transparency in the trade relationships. For example in the revised Standard the trader/buyer needs to offer pre-financing and if they cannot offer it directly, they need to help facilitate it for the producer organization.

In addition to improving on the existing Standard, new requirements have been added in three major areas: trading with integrity, labour and environment.

 “The revised Trader Standard engages the entire supply chain to encourage fairer and more sustainable trade relationships at all levels and brings more balance between what’s required of producers and what’s required of businesses,” said Fabienne Yver, Co-Manager of the Trader Standard Review at Fairtrade International.

The new Trader Standard is applicable from July 2015 onward, except for labour and environmental sections which will be applicable in January 2017 after a transition period. This will allow traders with exceedingly complex supply chains adequate time to prove that they comply, as well as allow the Fair Trade system to adequately train auditors and ensure successful implementation.

Read the full article here. Find further information on the Trader Standard Fact Sheet (PDF) or download and view the full Trader Standard here.

 

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