HRDD Work at Fairtrade

Fairtrade Human Rights Commitment and advocacy messaging paper will be published soon. They are essential building blocks in our work towards full HRDD compliance of our products, programs and services.

Published in HRDD Newsletter/August 2020 issue

To build Fairtrade’s profile as an HRDD partner and a thought-leader, the HRDD WG works to strengthen our HRDD-related (1) business services, (2) advocacy work and (3) internal systems. Here is a summary of our current key activities.

Defining Fairtrade’s current HRDD-related offer to business (O2B) – the “light offer”

  • After review of the gap assessment by the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR), we are finalizing our light HRDD O2B. This means that we are introducing HRDD terminology to what Fairtrade is already offering to companies (e.g. certification/sourcing FT, guidance & expertise on HRDD). At the September Working Group meeting we aim at agreeing upon the final draft, after which in Q4 we can put out a proactive messaging of Fairtrade being a credible partner and a tool for companies to prevent or mitigate human rights infringements.
  • To ensure that our claims are ethical and reduce any risks of litigation and liability, the offer proposal will be verified by external legal and HRDD experts. Accompanying Principles of Engagement will be defined through a bottom-up, producer-inclusive approach.
  • Going forward, the light offer will set the ground for NFOs and PNs exploring and piloting new O2B ideas, approaches and financial arrangements.

Contact: Lead of “HRDD for our Partners” subgroup Linda Wagner

Defining advocacy messaging and plan

  • Fairtrade’s HRDD-related advocacy messaging is for internal circulation only as it will be published in September.
  • The advocacy messaging was developed by the HRDD Working Group, which includes representatives from each PN, several FI units and NFOs, FLOCERT and FTAO. It also went through a wide consultation of other Fairtrade experts as well as some external partners, including legal experts.
  •  An advocacy plan is being drafted, to advocate for a bottom-up approach to HRDD. Key processes that we wish to influence are the (1) EU legislation on HREDD (human rights and environmental DD), (2) Call for COVID stimulus packages to include HERDD conditions, (3) Review of OECD DD Guidance in 2021-2022 and (4) Country-level coalition building and advocacy.

Contact: Lead of “HRDD for the Public” subgroup Sami Asali (

Human rights and HRDD in Fairtrade Standards

  • HRDD CoE and FI Standards Unit have started a dialogue on whether and how Fairtrade standards could better support human rights work, HRDD and related collaboration by certified entities.
  • For instance, Rainforest Alliance and Bonsucro have revised/are currently revising their standards to include requirements for certified entities to do HRDD (assess human rights risks, set up human rights-based grievance mechanisms, make and implement plans to mitigate the risks, facilitate remediation of human rights violations, set up tracking systems to monitor progress, and communicate about this work).

Contact: Lead of HRDD Centre of Excellence Tytti Nahi (

Human rights (hotspot) mapping

  • In the beginning of 2021, it will be time to assess the human rights risks in Fairtrade operations and certified supply chains. The objective is to identify the locations and the human rights issues where risks are the highest.
  • This systematic, organization-wide mapping is the first step in setting up a HRDD process for Fairtrade.
  • The mapping also provides a good context for discussing human rights and HRDD with Fairtrade networks as well as product, regional and country levels and even POs.
  • The mapping is of course only possible, if all relevant Fairtrade staff contribute! A detailed proposal identifying all the needed contributors will be made in late September.
  • The mapping will be coordinated by the HRDD CoE. CoE has been planning the exercise with CLAC, FTA, FI Global Impact Unit, FI Global Product, Programmes and Policies Unit and FLOCERT for several months already.

Contact: Lead of HRDD Centre of Excellence Tytti Nahi (

Working to publish our Human Rights Commitment

  • Several of you have asked when we’ll get to publish the Human Rights Commitment, approved by the FI Board on 23 June. Apologies for the delay caused by holidays and media crises!
  • A blog text and related changes to FI website are underway and we are working to get the Commitment published still in August.
  • Fairtrade Germany has already translated the Commitment into German and other translations are proceeding.

Contact: Lead of HRDD Centre of Excellence Tytti Nahi (

Did we fail to mention your HRDD-related work? Please let us hear about it and we’ll include it in the next newsletter!