Human rights and due diligence

Fairtrade works to empower farmers and workers, foster responsible business conduct and spur policy reforms that protect human rights in global supply chains.

2023 Pacayal Coffee Honduras

If conducted fairly, Human Rights and Environmental Due Diligence (HREDD) can be groundbreaking in advancing farmers and workers’ rights and environmental sustainability. HREDD is a process where a company manages the social and environmental risks and harms linked to its business.

Fairtrade calls for fair due diligence, based on dialogue with rightsholders, fair cost sharing, collaboration and continuous improvement.

  • Dialogue with rightsholders Dialogue between companies and affected people is not only right but also practical: It helps companies to hear about and join existing efforts to address the most serious risks and harms.

  • Fair cost sharing In order that farmers can invest in strong due diligence measures, they need better prices, longer-lasting business relationships, and co-investment among all supply chain actors.

  • Collaboration - To tackle poverty and inequality, the root causes of many risks in supply chains, we need collaboration between suppliers, buyers, governments and civil society actors. Crucially, buyers need to assess and often reform their own purchasing practices.

  • Continuous improvement Transformative change takes ambitious reforms in regulation and business practices. First steps must be taken by most powerful supply chain actors.

How Fairtrade supports due dilligence

Multistakeholder initiatives like Fairtrade can support but not substitute corporate due diligence.

Fairtrade has for long supported and expected Fairtrade certified organisations to take some due diligence measures, including risk assessments, policies, and remediation work. Now we are bringing fair due diligence to the core of our work.

  • Standards. We are currently strengthening the due diligence requirements for all Fairtrade certified organisations – traders and processors, plantations, farmer cooperatives and contract production settings.

  • Support. Fairtrade offers ongoing advice, training and programme-based support to farmers, workers, miners and management at plantations and factories. Our tools for this work include the Fairtrade Risk Map.

  • Funding. We channel funds to producers through Fairtrade Minimum Prices, Fairtrade Premium and programmes to strengthen producers’ position and due diligence measures.

  • Business services. Fairtrade can support each step of the corporate due diligence. In particular, we can support risk prevention and mitigation, and meaningful engagement between companies and affected people.

We are committed to aligning Fairtrade’s policies and processes with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP, 2011).

Fairtrade's Human Rights Commitment

HREDD guides and tools for supply chain partners

Commercial services

Advocacy position papers and statements

Mitigating risks

Fairtrade's human rights commitment

Overview (September 2020)

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