Two decades ago, Fairtrade certification arrived in the market as a great innovation, a force for delivering positive change in global supply chains. The spirit of innovation that led to the creation of Fairtrade continues to be a crucial part of our DNA and we constantly strive to find new ways of improving the lives of producers and workers. This is why we have pledged in our Global Strategy 2016-2020 to increase our investment in innovation, creating a portfolio of new ways of working with our commercial partners. Our objective is to motivate more businesses to work with us, and enable more farmers to sell on Fairtrade terms while implementing programmes to tackle the issues they are most concerned about: climate change, gender inequality and low productivity.

We have made great progress in translating innovation into action over the past year, launching new products such as the first Fairtrade Carbon Credits initiative and putting in place the foundations of a new portfolio of services.

First Fairtrade Carbon Credits in the Market

At the beginning of 2017, the Save 80 project became the first Fairtrade carbon project certified against the Fairtrade Climate Standard, an innovative scheme developed by Fairtrade in partnership with Gold Standard – the leading certification standard for climate and development. This climate mitigation and adaptation project in Lesotho is being financed by global logistics company Deutsche Post DHL’s purchase of Fairtrade carbon credits, which has helped fund 10,000 energy-efficient stoves as an alternative to the traditional method of cooking on open fires. This delivers both environmental benefits (reducing deforestation given that the stoves use 80 percent less firewood), and also health advantages (by reducing smoke inhalation).

The Fairtrade Climate Standard enables vulnerable communities in developing countries to reduce emissions while also strengthening themselves against the effects of climate change. The Fairtrade Minimum Price ensures the costs of running the project are covered, while an additional Fairtrade Premium is paid directly to the village communities to be invested in local climate adaptation initiatives of their choice. For businesses, Fairtrade Carbon Credits can help offset any remaining unavoidable emissions once they have taken all possible measures to minimise their carbon footprint. Following the successful pilot phase, Fairtrade Climate Standard certification is now open to all small-scale organised groups.

Going Beyond the Label: A New Offer to Business

In June 2017, following a year-long consultation process with producers, national Fairtrade organizations and commercial partners, Fairtrade International’s General Assembly approved the new Offer to Business framework to promote the growth of Fairtrade. It provides the foundation for developing a portfolio of innovative services that respond to the changing needs of commercial partners in response to shifting environmental concerns.

The new services fall into the three following categories, developed through consultation with our business partners:

  • Commercial Funding of Programmes: Fairtrade members will be able to offer commercial partners the opportunity to fund new and existing Fairtrade programmes developed by members, ensuring producer networks are in the driver’s seat of all programme investment.
  • Supply Chain Services: Fairtrade is in the process of developing a comprehensive portfolio of related services such as supply chain mapping, risk assessments and impact reporting.
  • Complementary Services: In pursuit of the Global Strategy 2016-2020, Fairtrade and its members will work with organizations on services that build on Fairtrade certification, but are not limited to it. Rooted in the principles of empowerment, fair trading, and transparency, these services will complement our core work with the FAIRTRADE mark whilst opening up new opportunities for businesses to meet their sustainability commitments through long-term partnerships with Fairtrade.

What's next?

  • System-wide support to enable the rapid development and implementation of new services as outlined in the Offer to Business framework
  • Develop business plans for each of the new services
  • Review and update the Fairtrade brand to reflect the changes represented by the Offer to Business
  • Run a broad communication campaign to promote the new services and engage companies
  • An ongoing commitment to developing innovative services to attract the support of business partners and deliver further benefits for producers and workers