Our workstreams

Our work is organized around four streams: System development, Offer to Business, Advocacy and Capacity building. In line with Fairtrade strategy we focus on “developing a unique Fairtrade proposition on HRDD that addresses farmers, workers, and our commercial partners needs and expectations”. Producers’ key need is for other supply chain actors to co-invest more into production conditions and work to prevent, mitigate and remediate human rights and environmental challenges.

System development

Revision of trader and other Standards, internal Risk and Impact Assessment and a top-notch Human Rights Report are key steps in implementing the Strategy goal of “ensuring that Fairtrade has a solid and inclusive, bottom-up offer on HRDD” and contributing to more efficient and effective data collection and analysis.

Offer to Business

We facilitate the development of an additional set of services to support customers’ HREDD compliance, including, for example, human rights impact assessment and mitigation services for businesses and POs. We are all committed to building a bottom-up HREDD proposition and services, and see capacity building work with producers as a foundational part of Fairtrade’s HREDD work.

The work of the O2B subgroup is currently focused on creating guidelines for pilot service projects, updating the programme ways of working and refining the definition of ”Bottom-Up”.

Brief history of the HREDD WG

  • The HRDD Working Group started as an informal coalition of the willing in the summer of 2017. Back then, representatives from Finland, the Netherlands, the UK and Fairtrade International met to discuss how Fairtrade should respond to the rise of the HRDD approach. During the next 1,5 years, the group gained members from 16 Fairtrade offices, including each Producer Network.
  • In March 2019, the Board of Fairtrade International gave a formal mandate to the HRDD Working Group to develop a system wide approach to HRDD.
  • Early 2020 the HRDD Centre of Excellence (CoE) was established under the auspices of Fairtrade Finland, to facilitate and lead the work on business and human rights at Fairtrade as a crosscutting function. Its current mandate extends until the end of 2021, with a continuation sought for 2022-2023.
  • The HRDD WG changed its name into HREDD WG in April 2021, to be in line with external stakeholders which have increasingly started to use the term ”HREDD”. Name change didn’t bring any new tasks but reinforced the idea of the group looking also at environmental issues, when they have implications on human beings.
  • As of May 2020 a Core group exists as the highest decision making body with 8 members and one coordinator.
  • Currently, the HREDD WG is composed of approximately 70 participants. The activities are structured around 4 work streams and 4 task forces which any member can join.
  • HREDD WG meetings are organized 3 times a year and they offer an opportunity to influence the big lines of the Fairtrade HREDD work.
  • Click here to see the structure and membership of HREDD WG (Sept 2021)


Responsible business conduct has been discussed and promoted for decades. However, today we can see that voluntary initiatives and unbinding international guidelines have proven to be on their own insufficient in addressing systemic human rights and environmental violations.

Laws make human rights a reality.

We collaborate with FTAO to support advocacy work on HREDD policies, to campaign for business and governmental policies which support Human Rights.

Our goal for 2021-2022 is to ensure that Fairtrade’s key advocacy asks are included in the negotiations and final HREDD legislation/guidance by the European Union, national governments in major Fairtrade consumer and producer countries and, to a lesser extent the OECD.

Read more about our activity streams in our advocacy plan 2021-2022.

Capacity building

We build the capacity of Fairtrade Member Organisations, FI and FLOCERT via the HREDD WG, newsletter, regular webinars and workshops, diverse materials and (starting in Q1/2022) an online training course. Further, we have started exploring partnerships supporting our HREDD proposition.

Currently, we are leading a project which supports SPOs in designing and implementing HREDD processes as per the HREDD criteria in standards. Currently those criteria exist in coffee and they are considered for cocoa. As the standard revisions advance similar support is needed to HLOs and traders. Read more about the SPO guidelines project ToR here.

Access our webinar archives here.

Access our newsletter archives here.