Fairtrade International announces labelling shake-up

11th March 2014 - Fine Cut

A new labelling project for manufacturers has been unveiled by Fairtrade International.

Under the Fairtrade Sourcing scheme, companies will be able to display the organisation's logo on products where a single ingredient meets its criteria.

Previous Fairtrade International rules have stipulated that all components of items carrying the badge must be purchased on Fairtrade terms.

Commenting on the programme, president of the Fairtrade Africa Cocoa Network Fortin Bley stated: “This is the breakthrough we have been looking for. The farmers I represent in Africa have been looking to sell more cocoa as Fairtrade for a long time."

The new labels differ from the original Fairtrade Mark, which is reserved for products that are wholly Fairtrade.

As part of the new commodity-based sourcing system, labels will have a white background and will feature details of the Fairtrade commodity used, with farmers in the Dominican Republic, Ghana, the Ivory Coast and Peru all benefiting from the scheme.

Products in the UK that are expected to feature the new labels in 2014 include items featuring Fairtrade cotton, while cocoa and sugar products are planned to be added to the scheme next year.

The new Fairtrade Sourcing Programs labelling is aimed at encouraging more manufacturers to incorporate Fairtrade ingredients, such as cotton, sugar and cocoa, in their products in order to boost sales worldwide of Fairtrade goods and generate bigger commitments to producers.

A total of nine companies globally have committed to the new approach to date, including retailers Co-op and Aeon, and manufacturer Mars, with many setting multi-year growth targets for using Fairtrade.

The initial pledges are expected to generate an extra $1.2 million for cocoa farmers by the end of 2014 and have been hailed as a "flying start" by Fairtrade International's chief executive Harriet Lamb.

British sales of Fairtrade products were up by 14 per cent year-on-year in 2013, reaching £1.78 billion, with the UK's Fairtrade Foundation recently celebrating Fairtrade Fortnight to mark 20 years since the first products carrying the label appeared in the country.

The UK-based body has launched a Make Bananas Fair campaign, with producers touring Britain to discuss the benefits of the labelling system, which helps to lift people out of poverty across the globe by ensuring farmers receive a fair price for their produce.

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