This week we welcomed the news that Fairtrade International has revised its Standards for Small-scale Producer Organisations. We are pleased to see Fairtrade’s continued efforts to lift the bar, ensure standards are relevant and deliver lasting impact.

The revisions include:

  • Environmental protection: monitoring and preventing deforestation have been strengthened, and requirements on improving soil fertility and sustainable water use have been added.
  • Stronger, democratic organisations: applicants need to demonstrate they are established organisations, have Fairtrade market potential including interested buyers, and made a democratic decision to join Fairtrade. Now, a greater proportion of cooperatives’ members must be small family farms.
  • Good governance and oversight: cooperatives must carry out a needs assessment shortly after getting certified to support decision making around the Fairtrade Premium. In addition, further guidance on spending the Fairtrade Premium has been added.
  • Health and safety: the requirements on labelling and storage of pesticides and hazardous chemicals have been strengthened to protect the wellbeing of farmers and hired workers.
  • Equality: cooperatives are now encouraged to adopt a gender policy and increase the active and equal participation of women in the organisation.

Many of the revisions help address key challenges Twin tackles daily. Implementing new standards will go some way to ensure more tools are available to deliver development impact that Twin and others want to see.

Fairtrade and Twin have been closely intertwined since the Fairtrade Foundation was established in 1992. Many of the innovations Twin has pioneered; Cafédirect, Divine Chocolate and Liberation Foods have helped to mainstream Fairtrade in the UK and further afield. Our trading company Twin Trading still largely trades in Fairtrade certified coffee and cocoa and our programme work actively supports smallholder producer organisations achieve Fairtrade certification.

The belief that organised farmers, working together, are able to support the long-term economic, social and environmental development within their communities and help lift families and communities out of poverty is at the centre of our theory of change.

With the New York ‘C’ price for coffee still around the US$1.00/lb mark, the offer of a Fairtrade Minimum Price is perhaps more important today than it has been since it was first introduced.  And so, Twin continues to work closely with Fairtrade along with many of our partners, in both producing and consuming markets.

As these new standards come into force, we will work with our partners to implement them in full. Twin will also continue to actively support those who want to go further and invest more through our own six-pillar approach.  If you want to learn more about the Fairtrade coffee and cocoa available from Twin Trading, take a look at some of the producer organisations  we work with.