New Programs for Cotton, Cocoa and Sugar have Board Approval

21 November 2013
  • New model to enable Fairtrade producers to increase their Fairtrade sales

  • Work now underway for launch in early 2014

The Fairtrade International Board approved new programs for cocoa and sugar at its meeting in Amsterdam last week. A similar program for cotton was approved earlier this year.

The new model, called Fairtrade Sourcing Programs, will enable cocoa, sugar and cotton farmers to sell more of their crops as Fairtrade, bringing greater impact to their farms and communities. It forms a key part of our global strategy, “Unlocking the Power of the Many”, which seeks to dramatically increase Fairtrade’s impact for producers, and reaffirms our commitment to small-scale farmers in cocoa, sugar and cotton.

Producers need to sell more on Fairtrade terms

Currently, many cocoa and sugar producers only sell a fraction of their crops on Fairtrade terms. Thousands of Fairtrade cotton farmers have sold little to no Fairtrade cotton in the last few years. At the same time, there are millions of disadvantaged farmers that could benefit: just 1.2% of the world’s cocoa comes from Fairtrade farmers; in cane sugar and cotton it is even less.

“Fairtrade Africa welcomes Fairtrade Sourcing Programs as an important new model to open up more ways for farmers to benefit from Fairtrade,” said Chief Adam Tampuri, Chair of Fairtrade Africa and member of the Fairtrade International Board. “Thousands of farmers in West Africa are in dire need of new opportunities to sell their cocoa and cotton as Fairtrade. We need action now to turn this situation around, to transform the lives of African producers. We believe Fairtrade Sourcing Programs are an important part of the solution”.

Fairtrade Sourcing Programs will create new sales opportunities for producers

Up to now, our focus has been solely on certifying consumer products with the FAIRTRADE Mark. To carry the Mark, 100% of a product must be Fairtrade (for products like coffee, bananas or wine) or, for a product with multiple ingredients like ice cream or chocolate, all available ingredients must be Fairtrade certified (read more about our composite product rules here).

Fairtrade will introduce the new Sourcing Programs alongside the existing model, opening up new sales opportunities for Fairtrade producers. Globally, more and more companies have committed to buying sustainable cocoa, sugar or cotton, to use across whole product ranges or even their entire business. The new model provides a big opportunity for Fairtrade farmers to sell to companies who are focused on one or two key raw products, rather than certifying end consumer products. Companies will be able to communicate their sourcing program commitment using a new, differentiated ‘Program Mark’ either on-pack or in their corporate communications.

Under Fairtrade Sourcing Programs, producers will receive all the same Fairtrade benefits, including the protection of a Minimum Price (wherever relevant) and the Fairtrade Premium.

How we developed the model and next steps

The Sourcing Program model is the result of almost two years of detailed research and consultation involving Fairtrade producers, partners, and consumers. Around 200 partners, including over 40 producer organizations around the world took part.

We will share more details about Fairtrade Sourcing Programs when we make our public announcement in early 2014.

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