I have published some critiques of Fair Trade Certification here in recent weeks, and have gotten some thoughtful and even-minded pushback about it both online and off. I feel compelled, as they say in the U.S. Congress, to “revise and extend my remarks” about Fair Trade. In so doing, I will turn for help to one of the great parliamentarians of the 20th century, and a small group of allies working to shape Fair Trade in the 21st.
FLO-CERT recently sent the following letter to smallholder farmer organizations regarding its new policy on unnannounced audits. While the idea of a surprise inspection seems reasonable, some of the conditions of the new FLO policy — both stated and unstated — raise some concerns.
Fair Trade organizations struggling to keep pace with the changing and increasingly rigorous requirements for Fair Trade Certification may be wondering how concerns over technical compliance have come to compete for their attention with efforts to ensure social impact.