Progress updates on HREDD work

Published in HREDD Newsletter/November 2021 issue

Offer to Business

  • HREDD O2B work has been on a timeout since early July, when CAN expressed a concern that it’s not sufficiently advancing producer needs or expectations.
  • Collaboration is now back on track, building on close dialogue between PNs and NFOs over the last months, including two meetings of the HREDD Core Group and a workshop by the Fairtrade Executive Team (FET). See here Tytti’s notes from the FET’s HREDD workshop, held on 7 October.
  • HREDD O2B subgroup has selected two priorities for the rest of 2021: Building HREDD dialogue with licensees and building Fairtrade’s risk and impact assessment services.
  • Building dialogue with licensees: There’s now a system-wide agreement that we need to build more and deeper HREDD dialogue with (potential) license holders, to present Fairtrade certification as a good HREDD tool, to share our perspective on what makes HREDD inclusive and hence effective, and to find partners for piloting new HREDD services.
  • HREDD CoE is organizing three peer support sessions in November 2021-January 2022 for NFO staff who currently lead the work of (a) selling HREDD services or (b) providing HREDD related expertise services at each NFO – or could do so in the future. The aim is to enhance the expertise of these colleagues who are the first ones facing licensees.
  • Building Fairtrade’s risk and impact assessment services: These services are widely sought by commercial partners at the moment and, if we design them in a smart way, can yield partnerships and co-investment from other supply chain actors to support producers’ work in addressing human rights and environmental risks and problems. HREDD WG works to clarify what Fairtrade finds important in risk and impact assessment, and what kind of services we should pilot. This also involves providing feedback to what FLOCERT is already developing on tailored risk reports and HRIA.
The wealth of possible O2B service models being considered in HREDD O2B work.

HREDD partnerships

  • Partnerships are a key priority in Fairtrade Strategy 2025 – and needed for HREDD work too.
  • In June, WG members identified the HREDD steps, where partnership development is most urgent: Risk and impact assessment; Due diligence among traders and licensees; Human rights capacity building for POs.
  • The human rights issues, on the other hand, where partnership development was found most urgent are: Living income; Living wage; Child protection and child rights.
  • WG members then identified the most potential global/international partner organisations, in a workshop organized by FI GRM and HREDD CoE. Senior Advisors on the prioritized human rights issues were invited to join.
  • The five prioritized organisations for HREDD partnerships are: Amfori BSCI, Save the Children International’s HREDD Centre, Ethical Trading Initiative, Focusright GmbH, and Oxfam Business Advisory Services. Discussions with the first two have now been started by FI GRM and HREDD CoE.
  • Further, HREDD Advocacy subgroup is currently assessing the value of memberships at the European Coalition on Corporate Justice, OECD Watch and Interdependence Coalition.
  • The WG will review the overall progress of the HREDD partnership work in early 2022.

Advocacy

  • Advocacy experts working on HREDD hold regular peer support calls every 3-4 weeks, to energize advocacy work towards the European Union, in the run-up to the Commission’s legislative proposal for mandatory HREDD. The calls are facilitated by HREDD CoE and supported by FTAO. In addition to European NFOs, both FTA and CLAC participate in the calls.
  • This group, the FTAO and WFTO-Europe have just prepared an updated HREDD demands paper, signed by 15 Fairtrade organisations.
  • EU legislative proposal for mandatory HREDD is expected on 8 December. Fairtrade’s assessment of it will be published as soon as possible afterwards.
  • The group plans a letter to policy makers and a related social media campaign in Q1/2022, to collect and showcase support for Fairtrade’s key demands (i.a. fair purchasing practices, living income as a human right, meaningful farmer and worker engagement). Signatures will be collected from producers and licensees (big and SMEs alike).
  • In Africa, FTA has established a Partnership with Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA); a work plan to concretize the MoU is in the making. Training of FTA staff and POs on advocacy and policy influencing is also in the pipeline.

Supporting human rights defenders (HRDs)

  • Every now and then, human rights organisations and trade unions seek FT participation to support HRDs – individuals who promote or protect human rights in a peaceful manner – but FT has neither policy nor an agreed process for deciding when and how to participate.
  • HREDD WG discussed a draft commitment which builds on FT’s Human Rights Commitment. A smaller group is currently revising the draft based on comments gathered from the WG members.
  • When ready, the commitment will be first brought to the HREDD Core Group, then for sign-off by the FI & Global CEOs or FI Board (to be clarified).

Fairtrade-wide risk assessment

  • The mapping of the human rights and environmental risks and challenges related to Fairtrade operations and certified supply chains is advancing. The Mapping Task Force met on 5 October to review the goals and work together on the next steps.
  • The mapping includes the identification and assessment of a) product risks, b) country risks and c) operational risks of Fairtrade.
  • Regarding products, the question is “what are the most severe human rights and environmental risks and problems in the production and supply chains of each Fairtrade product (group). We need to cover all products/product groups, because our claim of making trade fairer is essentially the same for all of them: They all carry the same Fairtrade logo.
  • We have now commissioned literature reviews on almost every one of the Fairtrade products/product groups. Once ready, these texts will be validated and enriched with audit and impact data as well as knowledge from PNs and FT staff. The product risk mapping aims at responding to the following questions:
    • What are the most severe HRE risks and problems in the production and supply chains of the commodity/commodity group?
    • What are the root causes of these risks and problems?
    • Have producer organisations taken a significant role in reducing (some of) these risks and problems?
  • The summary of product, country and operational risks will be published as an online Fairtrade Risk Map during the second quarter of 2022. This Map will highlight the root causes behind human rights risks: Especially unfair purchasing practices, disparities in economic power and lack of living incomes.
Mock-up of the Fairtrade risk map, to be published in Q2 of 2022

Standards

  • Standards Unit and HREDD WG are developing a brief document entitled Principles and Roadmap for integrating HREDD into Fairtrade Standards, to guide future standards review work.
  • HREDD CoE and WG are engaging actively in the Trader Standard review, which the WG has long seen as an essential and urgent task. Currently, we have weaker due diligence requirements – requirements for the organization to do human rights and environmental commitments; training; risk assessment; policies; prevention, mitigation and remediation plans; grievance mechanisms; tracking; reporting; and rights-holder engagement – towards traders than towards SPOs and HLOs.
  • HREDD CoE also supports the ongoing cocoa standard review, where HREDD requirements are proposed to both traders and SPOs. This review is much influenced by the very ambitious HREDD requirements of the African Regional Standard on cocoa production, proposed by the governments of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.
  • HREDD CoE also supports producer and auditor training on HREDD (see information about guidelines below).

Guidelines for producers and traders

  • Currently, we are coordinating and supporting a project to develop guidance materials for SPOs on how to incorporate HREDD approach in their work. In concrete terms this means building their capacity on human rights, the concept of HREDD and its different steps (commitment; risk assessment; policies and procedures; action plan for prevention, mitigation and remediation; tracking; grievance mechanism).
  • This project is topical and relevant because the Fairtrade coffee standard was recently updated with HREDD criteria.
  • The project steering group members are: Lilian/FTA, Michael/FTA, Jon/FI cocoa, Alison/FI coffee, Anita/FI social compliance, Juan Pablo/FI environment. In addition to the support from the SG, we have received inputs for the draft guidance materials, logistics and organization also from other experts within the system, especially from the FTA West Africa team.
  • These support materials created in the framework of this specific project will be finalized in Q4/2021.
  • We are also planning the development of similar, tailored-made support and guidance for HLOs, Contract production and traders.

Capacity building and communications

  • CLAC is currently producing an infographic and video of HREDD in Spanish and Portuguese for use with product networks, country networks and POs. FTA has also decided to translate these materials into English, French and Arabic. HREDD CoE supports with the budget and promotion of these new materials.
  • If you are interested in having a crash course in public speaking, please look at these materials from a public speaking training organized for HREDD WG members: this presentation and recording of the first training session. After this first session, attended by 39 people, eight WG members gained more in-depth support in two tailor-made workshops with practical exercises.
  • The ‘HREDD intranet’ has been reformed: We are happy to share the updated site address with you. Please remember that the site is just for internal purposes and not to be shared outside Fairtrade.
  • The intranet holds e.g. HREDD materials for use with licensees or POs, news articles and webinar recordings. The reform was realized in conjunction with the renewal of Fairtrade Finland’s website.
  • E-learning module: A small task force is designing an e-learning module on HREDD, for the purpose of staff induction and training. The module will utilize Moodle. The task force meets for the first time on 12 November and plans to publish the course in Q1/2022.
Webinar section of the new internal web page

Terms of reference for HREDD CoE

  • HREDD CoE now has an official mandate, approved by the Fairtrade Executive Team (FET) in July.
  • The CoE leads the development and supports the implementation of Fairtrade’s HREDD proposition. This entails the development of Fairtrade-wide HREDD policies, key processes, services and messaging, and implementation support for Fairtrade Member Organisations, Fairtrade International and FLOCERT.
  • Strategic decisions are taken by a Core Group that consists of eight experts from different parts of the Fairtrade system: PNs (3 experts), NFOs (3), FI (1) and the CoE (1).
  • CoE is accountable to the FET and to the CEO Forum. The CoE will continue to coordinate the HREDD WG.
  • Check ToR here.

Future of the CoE

  • FET has confirmed that our CoE will continue operating in 2022, but the level of funding is uncertain.
  • FET has asked Fairtrade organisations to make voluntary budget allocations. So far, allocations have been received from each PN, FI and Fairtrade Ireland.
  • See a summary of HREDD CoEs funding pitch here.
  • The minimum budget needed to attempt implementing the HREDD aspirations of Strategy 2025 is €347k for 2022. That would cover a third staff member, some support for risk assessment work by PNs, and other critical operational funds.
  • If this budget cannot be attained, CoE can propose a revised Strategic ambition. For instance, we could focus on HREDD system development, capacity building and advocacy workstreams for 2022 and move to HREDD O2B work in 2023-2024. This could be achieved with the current COE resourcing (€192k for 2022).
  • The funding will be next reviewed at the CEO Forum on 15 November.
  • We will seek HREDD WG members’ comments on a draft workplan for 2022 as soon as the level of budget is clearer.

Any questions related to our work, please contact Lead, CoE, Tytti Nahi (tytti.nahi@fairtrade.fi) or Human rights coordinator, CoE, Meri Hyrske-Fischer (meri.hyrske-fischer@fairtrade.fi)

Would you like to inform Fairtrade members of your ongoing HREDD work? Please let us hear about it and we’ll include it in the next newsletter.