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Business Aspects

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Business news, practical advice, tools, resources and encouragement to help those involved in Fair Trade business succeed.

PACT Apparel Launches New Organic Cotton, Fair Trade Certified Line Carried in Whole Foods

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PACT brand announced this month that it is launching a line of organic cotton apparel manufactured in a Fair Trade Certified facility. The line will include 19 product styles featuring 78 different items. A preview of the line featuring custom designed women’s t-shirts for Spring retailing at 14.99 launched March 7, 2014, exclusively at select Whole Foods Markets. Joe Dickson, Senior GlobalQuality Standards Coordinator for Whole Foods Market, said “We are excited to be the exclusive launch partner of PACT’s new line which also represents the first time Whole Foods Market has sold Fair Trade Certified apparel.”

On July 1, 2014, the Fair Trade Certified line will be expanded to include its underwear, leggings, camisoles, men’s t-shirts, long johns and baby products. The expanded line will be available at retailers across the US and on PACT’s website.

From seed-to-shelf, PACT follows every step of the manufacturing process in a supply chain that is fully GOTS and Fair Trade Certified by third party auditors. All of the cotton for PACT’s Fair Trade Certified line is sourced from Chetna Organic — a cooperative of 15,000 organic cotton farmers in India who practice non-GMO organic agriculture.

The Fair Trade Certified line is produced in a certified factory in India that has led the movement for the ethical and sustainable production of garments. Factory workers are permanent employees as opposed to migrant laborers, their families are covered by factory-provided health insurance, and the children of workers receive free education through high school.

More at MENAFN post

FWP Analysis Compares Fair Trade & Ecosocial Certifications on How Committed Brands Are Distinguished

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Fair World Project (FWP) has published some analysis on how well different Fair Trade and eco-social seals distinguish committed brands (that is brands that are committed to building a just economy in all policies and practices) from conventional brands (that is brands that offer some certified products or ingredients but in other supply chains and practices show a lack of commitment to Fair Trade principles). The analysis currently compares 7 certifications across 8 questions about a brand’s practices throughout all its supply chains, company history, minimum percentage requirements for multi-ingredient products, focus on small producers, and more.

More at FWP post

Fairtrade International Launches Commodity Sourcing Program

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Fairtrade International recently announced the first commitments to its new commodity sourcing model. Rather than focusing on all the ingredients for a multi-ingredient final product, Fairtrade Sourcing Programs means companies can now make big commitments to use Fairtrade cocoa, sugar or cotton across product ranges or even their whole business. Already at launch nine companies have signed on to increase their Fairtrade purchases starting with initial 2014 volumes set to deliver $1.2m in additional Fairtrade Premium to cocoa farmers by the end of this year.

The associated label, shown at left for cocoa ingredients, looks somewhat different than the FAIRTRADE product label,  under which all commercially available ingredients in a multi-ingredient final product that could be FAIRTRADE must be FAIRTRADE. The U.S. market, administered by Fairtrade America, is not presently allowing use of the label for Fairtrade Sourcing Programs.

Mars and major German, Swiss and Japanese retailers and brands were the first to make serious commitments to cocoa farmers under Fairtrade’s new commodity sourcing model. Swiss company Switcher was also announced recently as the first to pioneer the new approach in cotton.

The early commitments alone will increase Fairtrade cocoa sales sixfold in Germany in 2014 and deliver 14% growth to Fairtrade cocoa farmers worldwide, by close to 6000 metric tonnes (MT). Many of these companies have set multi-year growth targets so Fairtrade cocoa farmers will benefit from year-on-year increases to overall volumes of cocoa sales.

More at Fairtrade International post

FWP Campaign Asks Brands Participating in Fair Trade to Support Fair Trade Policies

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Fair World Project, an advocacy program of Organic Consumers Association, is inviting Fair Trade supporters to ask Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Starbucks, and Honest Tea to support fair trade policies in government. With current developments heading towards passage of international free trade deals such as Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA), FWP believes the companies should ensure that their influence is used to demand fair and transparent trade policies that benefit farmers and workers.

More at FWP campaign

Fair for Life Announces Changes to Its Certification

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“Fair for Life” Certification announced changes to part of its certification program after a revision process ended in December 2013. The changes apply to the certification’s Labelling & Control standards, and to its Handling Operations standards.

More at Fair for Life post

Fairtrade International Makes Major Changes to Strengthen Hired Worker Standards

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Fairtrade International has overhauled its Fairtrade Standard for Hired Labor to strengthen the position of workers in Fairtrade certified plantations and estates producing tea, bananas and other fruit, cut flowers, herbs, vegetables and sports ball factories. 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 publically 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.

More at Fairtrade International post

Certification Comparison Tool Published by FWP

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An online tool was recently published to compare some aspects of certification programs for Fair Trade and ecosocial labels in the U.S. and Canada markets. The tool, published by Fair World Project (FWP), a program of Organic Consumers Association, currently compares 6 certifications across 8 criteria. The tool presents both objective factors as well as FWP’s opinions on how well each label meets FWP’s expectations.

The tool focuses on certification policies related to multi-ingredient products, so doesn’t presently address scores of other criteria on how labels compare. The tool currently compares Fair Trade USA’s “Fair Trade Certified”, Fairtrade America’s FAIRTRADE, IMO’s “Fair for Life”, Ecocert, UTZ Certified, and Rainforest Alliance Certified, and is updated as of November 2013.

More at FWP online tool

FairWild Certification Expanding As It Reaches 5th Anniversary

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The innovative, and relatively small FairWild certification for fairly traded, wild-harvested products reached its 5th anniversary this year. This year the system saw a number of new products with FairWild-certified ingredients launched, and FairWild Standard projects underway in Morocco, China, India and beyond.

More at FairWild December newsletter

NY Times: U.S. Gov Apparel Procurement Follows Pattern of Legal Violations & Harsh Labor Conditions

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A major New York Times front-page investigative story published this week exposes a pattern of legal violations and harsh working conditions at US government apparel suppliers in developing countries. It also shows that the US government is relying on Walmart audits that are hiding life-threatening hazards in supplier factories. Labor rights advocates and Fair Trade systems offer positive alternatives to such indignities.

More at NY Times article

Small Producer Symbol Expands & Diversifies Program

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The Small Producer Symbol (SPP), a producer-led and owned Fair Trade certification system based in Latin America focusing on small producers, has in recent months expanded into more countries, coops and product categories. SPP announced its first organization registration in Germany, which will enable consumers there to become aware of the innovative certification. So far, there are 52 organizations certified by the SPP.

Two coffee producers organizations of Bolivia have recently joined SPP, “La Montaña Verde” and “Antofagasta”. Plus, a fruit producing organization from Ecuador, Urocal, became a new member. Furthermore, SPP celebrates its first  small artisans’ organization, OEPAIC, also from Bolivia.

SPP held its annual conference in Peru, November 7 and 8 , with about a hundred people, most of them small producers, from several countries of Latin America, North America and Europe.

More at SPP post