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Fair trade — trade-related sustainability assurance schemes

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Fair trade — trade-related sustainability assurance schemes

 

SUMMARY OF:

Commission communication (COM(2009) 215 final) — the role of Fair Trade and non-governmental trade-related sustainability assurance schemes

WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE COMMUNICATION?

  • It details developments since the communication on fair trade* published in 1999 by the European Commission.
  • It suggests measures which public authorities, supporters of fair trade and others could take to promote the concept.

KEY POINTS

Since 1999, a single, independently verified Fairtrade certification mark has been introduced. This replaces national labels and has increased consumer awareness.

  • Fair trade criteria include:
    • fair producer price;
    • part-payments in advance if producers request;
    • long-term stable relations;
    • transparency and traceability throughout the supply chain;
    • production practices that comply with International Labour Organisation conventions;
    • respect for the environment, human rights — especially those of women and children — and traditional production methods;
    • support for producers to develop their own potential, agricultural yield and access to export markets;
    • measures to raise awareness about fair trade and its aims;
    • assessment of the concept’s impact.

The Commission suggests that:

  • private schemes to promote fair and sustainable trade should
    • remain without government interference;
    • explore possible synergies and understanding between themselves;
    • assess objectively the impact of their initiatives;
  • public procurement tenderers should take the Fairtrade label into account when requesting sustainable goods and services;
  • the EU should identify ways in which the EU budget could be used to promote fair trade.

In 2010, the Commission presented a communication highlighting the triple benefits of more open trade for economic growth, consumer choice and job creation.

In 2012, the Commission tabled a new communication to enhance synergy between trade and development policies. The combination, it explained, could boost jobs and growth in the EU and create better conditions for trade and investment in developing countries.

* KEY TERMS

Fair trade: a trading relationship, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equality in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalised producers and workers — especially in developing countries. Fair trade organisations, backed by consumers, are engaged actively in supporting producers, raising awareness and campaigning for changes to the rules and practice of conventional international trade arrangements.

MAIN DOCUMENT

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee — Contributing to Sustainable Development: the role of Fair Trade and non-governmental trade-related sustainability assurance schemes (COM(2009) 215 final, 5.5.2009)

RELATED DOCUMENTS

Communication from the Commission to the Council on ‘fair trade’ (COM(99) 619 final, 29.11.1999)

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions — Trade, Growth and World Affairs: Trade Policy as a core component of the EU’s 2020 strategy (COM(2010) 612 final, 9.11.2010)

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee: Trade, growth and development — Tailoring trade and investment policy for those countries most in need (COM(2012) 22 final, 27.1.2012)

last update 07.12.2016

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