"Thanks for your commitment. You’ll be happy to know Fairtrade has initiatives in place to deal with the issues brought up in this blog:
In March Fairtrade International (FLO) announced new trade standards for coffee to encourage fairer negotiations, clarify the role of price fixing, and reduce speculation. We are also facilitating training for producers and traders on contracts, price fixation and risk management strategies. We have set up a new mediation process in case a producer and trader have a contract dispute. (For details: http://www.fairtrade.net/latest_news1.0.html?&cHash=015da3e485&tx_ttnews[pointer]=1)
Fairtrade International’s Global Producer Finance Unit was set up two years ago to facilitate financing opportunities for producers. They are working to secure more and better opportunities for all types of financing including pre-financing, credit, insurance, etc.
The Fairtrade certifier FLO-CERT conducts detailed audits for traders against all requirements in the Fairtrade Generic Trade Standard. The standard says Fairtrade traders must provide pre-financing when producers request it. It has a complaints procedure for specific grievances (for details: http://www.flo-cert.net/flo-cert/main.php?id=17). Some traders are audited by the national labelling initiative for their country instead of FLO-CERT."
|Meeting the growers of Organic Fair Trade Arabica coffee|
in Aceh, Indonesia in April, 2011
Thirdly, with the onus on producer groups as it is set up now, there is even greater potential for failure. Let's peel back a few of the running assumptions which contribute to systematic failures:
These issues can be addressed. Future posts will examine the importance of contracting with producers; how to keep both buyers and producers accountable to one another; and examine ways to introduce Fair Trade principles to producer groups.
I would like to add a special thanks to Helvetas Vietnam (www.helvetas.org.vn) for permitting me to write of our work together to make the world a better place. Also, I would like to add a note on my partner Chou, who is currently in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), patiently awaiting my return where we can begin working on the book of our Journey for Fair Trade.
|Chou and I at Mt. Bromo, Java, Indonesia|
Thank you for joining me and Chou on this journey. If you have any comments, suggestions or ideas, I welcome all and invite you to comment below or catch me on facebook.
Mitch Teberg, MA