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Showing posts tagged “Fairtrade Standards”

Our work is far from over. This new Standard provides the support framework, and we have to work hard to make sure workers have the capacity and the freedom to negotiate fairer workplaces.

Wilbert Flinterman, Senior Advisor on Workers’ Rights and Trade Union Relations at Fairtrade International. Read more about the new Standard for Hired Labor.

Fairtrade Announces Sweeping Changes for Plantation, Estate Workers: New Criteria on Freedom of Association, Living Wage

Fairtrade International has overhauled its Fairtrade Standard for Hired Labor to strengthen the position of workers in Fairtrade certified plantations and estates.

The newly revised standard includes detailed requirements to guarantee workers’ right to freely organize and collectively bargain. Certified producer companies must not only declare this right publicly to workers, but allow unions to meet with workers and offer to engage in a collective agreement process with worker representatives if there is none in place.

Fairtrade International is also introducing a new methodology to set living wage benchmarks and a clear process for plantations to progress towards a living wage. The new methodology has been developed and benchmarks have already been set in some areas. Fairtrade International is now in the process of calculating rural living wage benchmarks for each region with Fairtrade certified plantations.

Fairtrade presented the new methodology and benchmarks to industry partners and at the recent European Conference on Living Wages to build wider agreement.

“Our work is far from over. This new Standard provides the support framework, and now we have to work hard to make sure workers have the capacity and the freedom to negotiate fairer workplaces,” says Wilbert Flinterman, Senior Advisor on Workers’ Rights and Trade Union Relations at Fairtrade International.

“We will continue building partnerships with global union federations and local trade unions to engage workers; at the same time we will continue pushing for fairer prices, and a better distribution of value along the supply chain.”

Other changes include new criteria to strengthen Fairtrade benefits for workers, including temporary and migrant workers. Workers will have more control on how they spend the Fairtrade Premium, the funds for workers’ development. Elected worker representatives will report expenditure to a general assembly of workers. Workers can newly use a portion of this money for cash or in-kind bonuses.

The new Fairtrade Standard for Hired Labor will be published January 15, 2014 and come into effect for companies in June.

The release of the new Standard for Hired Labor on plantations follows the release of the 2012 Strategy for Hired Labor and is part of Fairtrade’s ongoing work to improve and extend the benefits of Fairtrade to all waged workers involved in Fairtrade supply chains.


Addressing the Effects of Climate Change

Climate change related events are on the rise, notably in developing countries. Producers in the Global South are increasingly feeling the brunt of climate change effects, including higher temperatures, increased rain, floods, and droughts.

Research carried out by the Natural Resources Institute of the University of Greenwich indicates that climate change “will have mainly negative impacts upon agricultural production, food security and economic development, especially in developing countries.”

Fairtrade coffee producers in Latin America are currently being severely affected by the spread of the leaf rust disease which is affecting over 50% of the total coffee growing area in Central America, and within the range of 30 - 40% in some South American countries. Climate change has been identified as a key factor facilitating the outbreak. Fairtrade producers are also being affected in Africa; tea farmers in East Africa, for instance, suffered heavy frost events in early 2012 which destroyed thousands of acres of bushes.

Unfortunately, the picture of the future does not appear promising. In fact, several modeling studies predict that by 2050 the productivity of coffee, cocoa, tea or cotton will severely be affected and production in some areas might even disappear. Many farmers will need to adapt their practices to the new climatic conditions or risk losing their livelihoods.

The Fairtrade Approach

As the effects of climate change become more evident, Fairtrade producers need additional technical and financial support to confront these new challenges. Beyond the benefits that Fairtrade offers to producers (Fairtrade Minimum Price, Fairtrade Premium, strong environmental standards, etc.), the system supports basic pre-conditions that are needed to implement climate change adaptation measures such as: organizational development, environmental sustainability, financial stability, investment possibilities, and greater autonomy.

Fairtrade acknowledges that the current benefits of the Fairtrade system are insufficient to help producers confront the effects of climate change. As a result, we have developed a climate change strategy that defines the scope, establishes Fairtrade priorities and provides a framework for action.

A global work plan for climate change has been developed, focusing on producer services (i.e. climate change standards), producer support for climate change adaptation (creating partnerships for adaptation projects), and producer-driven advocacy. The overall mission is to enable vulnerable producers to adapt to climate change and support them to mitigate the impacts, while promoting further sustainable development practices.

Fairtrade International and some member organizations have also introduced carbon reduction plans to reduce their operational impact on climate change.

Learn more about the global work plan, how climate change is addressed in the Fairtrade Standards, and how the Fairtrade movement is going even further to tackle this growing challenge.

World Day Against Child Labor: Fairtrade’s Commitment to Children and Youth Continues


Today is World Day Against Child Labor. According to the International Labor Organization there are around 215 million child laborers in the world; around half of them work in hazardous conditions.

In the agriculture sector alone, an estimated 170 million children and youth are working. Many of them do not attend any form of school, have little time to play, do not receive proper nutrition or care and more than half of them are exposed to the worst forms of child labor (e.g. work in hazardous environments, slavery, or other forms of forced labor). Many of the types of work girls and boys are involved in are hidden and therefore difficult to track, suggesting that the actual number of child laborers could be much higher, especially for some girls.

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