In my last blog post about breaking down principles to practices in contracts (From Principles to Practices Part II) with Fair Trade producer groups, I discussed and provided examples of the purpose behind such a contract:
- To provide clear definitions for common understanding
- Assign clear and practical areas of responsibility to both the producer and the buyer for each principle. A Fair Trade contract cannot be one sided!
- Reference the relevant United Nations and ILO Conventions, thereby integrate a Rights-Based Approach into the contract
- Create a platform for in-depth discourse to develop common understandings that overcome social and cultural barriers between the buyer and the producer
Indeed, yes, both sides (buyers and producers) has its own duties. However, I do believe that a third party must play a key role i.e to match buyers' and producers' interest. The third party can be NGO, person, or government. As long as no conflict of interest they face, they can then contribute significantly to fair trade implementation.
We NSCF-North Sumatera Coffee Forum has been trying to spread the idea of fair trade, such as coffee price at growers level must be high enough that coffee growers can then have enough income for better livelihoods and for maintaining their coffee field sustainably by using GAP/SOP. The coffee growers have right to live good, have right to be treated fairly, have right to live in friendly ecology/environment, have right to prepare good education for their children etc.
NSCF will stimulate coffee stakeholders to form coffee forum in each regencies or subregencies. To do that, NSCF needs external supports (technical and financial) to establish the forums and then train the forum members. For short and simple explanation: such coffee forums will disscuss then with the local government so that the local government will decide policies/program based on people rights. The forums will also make good relationship with buyers. It's a kind of win-win solution for all sides. The producers will produce coffee with highest quality continuously, and buyer will buy coffee with highest price.
I do understand that the tasks of NSCF is not easy. However, NSCF have done something through spreading the idea to decision makers and people near to them as well as to the coffee exporters. Although the results are not yet seen significantly, but at least they already rethink their policies/program. Otherwise, the future of coffee will be questioned and unclear.
Thank you. Kind regards.
Dr. Sabam Malau
Chairman of NSCF-North Sumatera Coffee Forum
In the Helvetas contract, it states: “Verification of compliance to the contract will be conducted by external auditors with an understanding of the local political, social and cultural contexts and extensive knowledgeable of Fair Trade Principles and Practices. To ensure a fair disposition in the audit, both the Producer and the Buyer will be assessed according to the terms of the contract.” In short, it is not only the producer who is held accountable, but the buyer as well.
- Improving livelihoods
- Maintaining sustainable farming practices
- Live well
- Fair Treatment
- Live in a safe, unpolluted environment
- Children receive good education
In establishing Ten Principles of Fair Trade, the World Fair Trade Organization also defines the payment of a Fair Price:
Principle Four: Payment of a Fair Price
|© Bennett cartoon from the Christian Science Monitor|
|Discussing the Value Chain and a Living Wage at the|
Helvetas Workshop in Hanoi, Vietnam, May, 2011.
Living Wage Calculation:
- Producer sets minimum wages according to a “Living Wage” calculation in the local context.
- Producer guarantees equal pay for equal work by women and men.
- Producer ensures women and men have equal access to skills training and capacity building to increase income generating opportunities.
Mitch Teberg, MA