HRDD in Fairtrade’s Strategy for 2021-2025

HRDD - an important part of our future work on each of the strategic pillars – empowerment, growth and innovation, thought leadership and advocacy, and digitalization.

Published in HRDD Newsletter/ November 2020 issue

Article by Tytti Nahi, Lead of Fairtrade’s HRDD Centre of Excellence

Fairtrade has always had Human Rights at its core, defending the rights of disadvantaged small holders and of agricultural workers in global supply chains.

According to the strategy HRDD is an important part of our future work on each of our strategic pillars – empowerment, growth and innovation, thought leadership and advocacy, and digitalization.

This text is a simple collection of points the strategy makes about HRDD.

The Executive Summary of the strategy pledges that “we will expand our current offer to businesses, introduce innovations like Fairtrade local and HRDD and, in general, improve the experience offered to our customers, business partners, and shoppers”.

What does the strategy say about the human rights we focus on?

The strategy:

  • highlights that “Living Income and Living wage are basic Human Rights”
  • confirms that we’ll “Integrate a framework of Decent Work (as described in ILO’s ‘Pillars of Decent Work’) in all HRDD processes” and
  • recognizes that environmental rights are also human rights.

Further, it emphasizes that we’ll “actively recognize the role of women and young people in farming”, which highlights the role of gender rights and child rights in our work.

Related to Empowerment, Growth and Innovation

the strategy sees that:

  • “Fairtrade’s commercial partners, as well as farmers and workers, expect us now to support their HRDD requirements, and to ensure that all actors in the supply chain are well equipped to identify human rights violations and providing remediation.”
  • We will develop “a unique Fairtrade proposition on HRDD that addresses farmers’, workers’, and our commercial partners’ needs and expectations”, “ensuring that Fairtrade has a solid and inclusive, bottom up offer on HRDD”.
  • We will “Build the capacity of producer organizations to respond to market requirements, e.g. HRDD”
  • We will “scale this service provision starting with, and ultimately moving beyond Fairtrade certified supply chains with the objective of improving the human rights of a larger number of workers and farmers, as well as delivering on a business/market need.”

Related activities

  • “a Human Rights Impact Assessment will be carried out in the initial twelve months of implementation.”
  • “Pilots with new HRDD solutions and a Human Rights report will be produced within three years of approval of the strategy.”
  • We will “offer commercial partners and POs a one-stop-shop for producer data and information”
  • We will “introduce human rights impact assessment and mitigation services for businesses and POs”
  • “We will help them [farmers, workers and commercial partners] to put the right processes in place, so they can meet their transparency obligations under human rights legislations.”
  • We will explore “partnerships with other organizations (tech partners, trade unions, NGOs), to ensure that Fairtrade’s HRDD proposition is effective and constantly learning and evolving.”

We will help them [farmers, workers and commercial partners] to put the right processes in place, so they can meet their transparency obligations under human rights legislations.

In advocacy work

  • Fairtrade will continue to influence key thematic priorities such as trade equity, human rights due diligence and decent livelihoods while exploring new priority areas of influence and advocacy in areas such as climate change and resilience.
  • We seek “Global thought leadership … on key areas like power imbalance and resiliency of supply chains, human rights risks, climate change and inequality.”
  • We also seek “policy changes at the national, regional and global level”, and changes in “business practice and behaviour – and “campaign for business and governments policies which support human rights”

Further

  • We are determined to build long-lasting partnerships in the areas of gender and youth, climate resilience, HRDD, producer strengthening, financial access, digitalization and data systems, advocacy and campaigning.
  • Fairtrade will develop HRDD services in an agile and innovative way, using this as a blueprint for further development of our services offer.

Cover page of Fairtrade programmes -brochure (2020)

Because an important part of our future HRDD offer for farmers, workers and companies are programmes that assess and/or mitigate human rights challenges, it’s important that the strategy also

  • recognizes “that we cannot reach our goals through certification alone and that our grassroots level human-rights based system can be used as a platform for wider interventions. With that in mind, we will strengthen our fundraising and program management capacities as well as our supportive functions.”
  • We will “provide targeted support and programs in case of human rights violations” in our global products (in the first instance coffee, cocoa, bananas, flowers and, potentially, sugar).