Our workstreams

In line with Fairtrade strategy 2025, 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 the work to prevent, mitigate and remediate human rights and environmental challenges. Our work is organized around four streams: System development, Offer to Business, Advocacy and Capacity building.

System development

Certifications and social auditors are expected to carry out due diligence on their human rights and the environmental impacts, just like (other types of) companies are. What’s more, the rising public awareness of violations in supply chains is raising questions and concerns about the effectiveness of certifications. For example Business and Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC) now calls for “hard law strategies to redress weak social assurances”.

In this context, we must strengthen our own due diligence work. The key task at hand is to carry out a systematic, Fairtrade-wide risk and impact assessment. We will publish the results of this assessment as an online dashboard, “Fairtrade Risk Map”, during the second quarter of 2022.

HREDD CoE and WG also support the FI Standards Unit in the revision of trader and other standards, and FI Comms and Global Impact in preparing a top-notch Human Rights Report in 2023.

Offer to Business

Fairtrade’s commercial partners expect us to support their HREDD work – and Fairtrade wants to ensure that corporate HREDD work is built on meaningful dialogue with producers, and yields co-investments in addressing the risks and root causes identified by producers.

We are thus developing new services to support (potential) licensees’ HREDD work and to connect licensees and producer organisations. These services will include various expert and programme services to identify, prevent, mitigate and remediate risks and root causes.


Numerous governments in Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania are drafting policies and regulations to promote HREDD. These may advance the realization of farmers’ and workers’ rights – or if badly designed, obstruct it. Fairtrade is needed to ensure that these policies address unfair purchasing practices, promote meaningful dialogue among supply chain actors, and promote living incomes and living wages as human rights.

HREDD WG brings Fairtrade advocacy experts together to influence HREDD policies and practices. We collaborate with FTAO to promote Fairtrade’s asks especially in HREDD legislation by the European Union.

Read more from our advocacy plan 2021-2022.

Capacity building

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

Currently, we create guidelines and training materials to support SPOs design and implement an HREDD process. Due diligence related requirements exist in all Fairtrade standards, have recently been strengthened in coffee and are being considered for cocoa. In 2022, similar materials will be developed for HLOs and traders. Read more about the SPO guidelines project ToR here.

Access our webinar archives here.

Access our newsletter archives here.

Brief history of the HREDD WG and CoE

  • 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.
  • In 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. 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 2021, strategic decisions are taken by a Core Group that consists of eight experts: three from PNs, three from NFOs, one from FI and one from HREDD CoE.
  • HREDD WG is open to any member of Fairtrade staff and, in October 2021, has some 70 members. Three times a year, WG meetings offer an opportunity for members to gain updates of recent progress and influence future priorities. Concrete work is carried out in 4 workstreams, which any member can join.
  • HREDD WG meeting materials: Available for WG members in Teams. Other Fairtrade staff members can request them from Human Rights Coordinator Meri via email to meri.hyrske-fischer@fairtrade.fi




ToR approved by FET in May 2022

Work plan and budget for 2022

Approved by Core Group in January 2022

Structure and membership

October 2021 situation

HREDD Work priorities August-December 2022