Monday, March 20, 2017

Cocoa Industry Announces Cooperative Initiative to End Deforestation

Twelve of the world's leading cocoa and chocolate companies agreed to a statement of collective intent committing them to work together, in partnership with others, to end deforestation and forest degradation in the global cocoa supply chain, with an initial focus on Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. 

The agreement, concluded in London during a meeting hosted by HRH The Prince of Wales, commits the participating companies to develop and present a joint public-private framework of action to address deforestation at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP 23) meeting in Bonn in November of this year. 

The meeting, organized by World Cocoa Foundation (WCF), IDH-the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) and The Prince's International Sustainability Unit (ISU), is the first of its kind covering the global cocoa supply chain. Senior executives from the 12 companies stated their commitment to develop an actionable suite of measures to end deforestation and forest degradation, including greater investments in more sustainable forms of landscape management; more active efforts in partnership with others to protect and restore forests in the cocoa landscape; and significant investments in programs to improve cocoa productivity for smallholder farmers working in the cocoa supply chain. 

Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana are the world’s leading producers of cocoa, and many observers point to cocoa farming as a driving force behind rapid rates of deforestation in both countries. Speaking at the event, HRH The Prince of Wales said, "Tropical rainforests play an absolutely crucial role in climate change mitigation and adaptation, in ensuring sustainable livelihoods for hundreds of millions of people and in conserving biodiversity. The most powerful direct reason for action is that deforestation threatens to undermine the very resilience of the cocoa sector itself, and with it the livelihoods of the millions of smallholders who depend on it. I am heartened that companies are undertaking to work up, in full collaboration with host governments and civil society, a Joint Framework of Action to make good on the commitments announced today, in time for COP 23 in November." 

The meeting brought together a cross-section of the world’s largest chocolate makers and cocoa buyers, producers and traders, including Barry Callebaut; Blommer Chocolate Company; Cargill; CEMOI; ECOM; Ferrero; The Hershey Company; Mars, Incorporated; Mondelēz International; Nestlé; Olam and Touton. Also present were ministers and senior government representatives of the two-leading cocoa producing countries – Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana – as well as France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Alliance for Responsible Mining and Responsible Jewellery Council reducing the burden of audits

Organizations like the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) and the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) have developed standards and certification systems to help businesses make their supply chains more transparent and responsible.

In response to the industry’s demand for reduction of audit burden, ARM and RJC have decided to harmonize their assurance systems where possible and pilot combined Fairmined and RJC’s Chain-of-Custody (CoC) audits. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

UK: Fairtrade back in growth as foundation launches new marketing strategy

By David Burrows

"The Fairtrade Foundation has launched a new, hard hitting marketing strategy following research showing that 23% of UK consumers “never think about who produces their food and drink”."

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

FairWild Foundation to launch a new accreditation and auditor training programme

FairWild Foundation has decided to launch a new accreditation and auditor training programme for the FairWild certification bodies. 

According to FairWild Board member and accreditation co-ordinator Elisabeth Rüegg, “The decision to accredit additional qualified certification bodies will allow the FairWild scheme to be offered worldwide, and give wild-collection operators more options over which certifier they work with. 

As Rüegg outlined during the presentation at the Biofach in February, FairWild Foundation is now open to enquiries from certification bodies interested to become accredited for the certification scheme. Phase 1 of the accreditation programme in 2017 involves pilots with applicant certifiers, with a full system anticipated to be in place by January 2018. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Is this the beginning of the end for Fairtrade?

"After decades of fast growth, a reversal in the fortunes of Fairtrade is apparent. This is particularly so for the Alternative Trading Organisations (ATOs) that spearheaded the movement, but which have become its first casualties. Here, at the start of Fairtrade Fortnight, Dr Iain Davies asks what the future holds for Fairtrade."  

Read further the post by Amy Lunt in a blog of the University of Bath.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Cocoa farmers in Côte d'Ivoire still living under the porverty line

A new study carried out by Barry-Callebaut and  the French Development Agency (AFD) shows that cocoa farmers in Côte D'Ivoire, even with the benefit from sustainable projects such as labels or private sector initiatives, are still living far under the poverty line, with a rough estimate of a per capita daily cocoa income of 568 CFA Franc (Euro 0,86).

This is the direct result of low cocoa yields on already relatively small cocoa farms. The study conducted between 2013 and 2015 confirms that yields are low (435 kg/ha), farms are small (4.87 ha) and old (24 years old).

The barriers to yield improvements are the insufficient use of fertilizers, including organic fertilizers due to insufficient financial means and the lack of access to finance. In addition and of particular relevance in Côte d’Ivoire where trees are old and highly affected by diseases (mainly by stem borer and swollen shoots virus (CSSV) and mirid bugs), the requirement to replant cocoa trees with the optimal planting material is often postponed due to a lack of knowledge of best management practices. 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Evaluation report on the UTZ tea program in Sri Lanka

"This study, commissionned by UTZ, evaluated the social, economic and environmental outcomes of the UTZ tea program in Sri Lanka. The researchers took a qualitative approach, combining different research methods. They assessed the UTZ program within the local context, from the perspective of different stakeholders, and also looked for unexpected changes."

Download the report

Voluntary sustainability standards for bananas

"Voluntary Sustainability Standards are becoming mainstream in the banana export market as big companies to measure and showcase the improvement of their practices to limit supply and reputational risks."

Read further the article by the FAO

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Ireland: Sales of Fairtrade Products Continue To Grow in 2016

Irish consumer spending on Fairtrade products has increased by 9% from €250 million to approximately €272 million.

The ongoing recovery in the Irish economy is having a positive impact on the number, range and sales levels for Fairtrade products here. 

Ireland’s largest coffee company, Bewley’s, is moving all of its own label coffee to Fairtrade by the end of 2017. And an increasing number of smaller coffee companies are getting involved as well – these include the Kinsale Coffee Company, the Café Lounge and a special coffee for Inishbofin Island which last year became a Fairtrade island. As well as this, retailers like Aldi have launched Fairtrade products like poinsettias and new bouquets of Fairtrade roses. 

Speaking about the Bewley’s conversion to 100% Fairtrade, Peter Gaynor, Executive Director with Fairtrade Ireland: "This sets the new benchmark for companies in Ireland, if the largest coffee company in Ireland can source all its Bewley’s branded coffee on Fairtrade terms - then obviously so can everybody else. For too long companies have outsourced their responsibilities to the end consumer asking them to ask for Fairtrade products – and yes of course we should do that as consumers – but companies have to take more responsibility themselves for what goes on in their value chain and make their own decisions." 

Friday, March 3, 2017

HSBC overhauls deforestation policy after Greenpeace investigation

"More than 200,000 people signed a Greenpeace petition putting pressure on HSBC over its links to harmful palm oil corporations
HSBC has launched a new zero-deforestation policy after a Greenpeace investigation found a link between the banking corporation and organisations destroying Indonesia’s forests and peatland."
Read further the article by   on Ethical Corporation