Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Global Food Policy Report 2017

From International Food Policy Research Institute

"The 2017 Global Food Policy Report provides a comprehensive overview of major food policy developments and events. In this sixth annual report, leading researchers, policy makers, and practitioners review what happened in food policy, and why, in 2016 and look forward to 2017. This year’s report has a special focus on the challenges and opportunities created by rapid urbanization, especially in low- and middle-income countries, for food security and nutrition."

Download the report (IFPRI)

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

UK: Shoppers Supporting Fairtrade

Fairtrade Foundation’s initial estimate for the overall retail value of the Fairtrade market 2016 suggests an increase of 2%, meaning an increase to £1.65bn in 2016.

Read further the article by Fairtrade Foundation

Friday, March 24, 2017

Conflict minerals: MEPs secure mandatory due diligence for importers

European Parliament press release

All but the smallest EU firms importing tin, tungsten, tantalum, gold and their ores will have to do "due diligence" checks on their suppliers, to stop this trade being used to help fund conflicts and human rights abuses, says a political understanding reached by MEPs, ministers and the EU Commission on Wednesday March 16
. Due diligence will also be mandatory for smelters and refiners. The EU Commission will press big manufacturers to disclose details of products that might contain conflict minerals.


"We need to finally break the vicious cycle between trade in minerals and the financing of conflicts - today marks an important waypoint towards achieving this goal. It is a first step for the EU to make a real difference for people on the ground. We need to end the suffering of people being forced to mine precious metals and do our utmost to prevent violent conflicts. We succeeded in pushing for mandatory measures instead of a voluntary system – a huge success achieved by the European Parliament", said Trade Committee Chair Bernd Lange (S&D, DE)

"I note with great satisfaction that the shared-responsibility approach, promoted by me as a Rapporteur, has prevailed during the very difficult and highly technical negotiations. It is extremely important that the recognition of existing and future due diligence industry schemes has become the central element of the Conflict Minerals Regulation. I stand committed to the agreement that has been reached between the co-legislators on the way forward. This common understanding is an excellent basis for continuing the work towards an efficient and workable regulation, truly serving the interests of people and communities caught in war and conflict", said rapporteur Iuliu Winkler (EPP, RO).

MEPs win mandatory due diligence rules for importers

MEPs persuaded ministers that due diligence checks, conducted according to OECD due diligence guidelines, should be mandatory for importers of tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold and their ores from conflict and high-risk areas. The Commission and Council initially proposed only voluntary checks. EU member states’ competent authorities will be responsible for ensuring compliance by companies, and also for determining penalties for non-compliance, to be monitored by the EU Commission.

No burden on small firms

MEPs and ministers, aiming for almost full coverage of the imported minerals and metals, agreed that the smallest importers (e.g. for dentistry) should not be obliged to comply with a due diligence scheme, so as to avoid encumbering their businesses with unreasonable bureaucratic burdens. Recycled metals, existing EU stocks and by-products are excluded from the regulation.

Disclosure requirements for big EU manufacturers and sellers

Parliament also secured an EU push for due diligence by companies whose products contain tin, tungsten, tantalum or gold in their supply chain. Big EU firms that make or sell such goods - i.e. those subject to EU law on "non-financial reporting" (above 500 employees) - will be encouraged to report on their sourcing practices based on a new set of performance indicators to be developed by the EU Commission. Moreover, these businesses will be able to join a registry to be set up by the Commission and report voluntarily on their due diligence practices.

Review clause

The deal also requires the EU Commission to review and report to Parliament and the Council on the effectiveness of the new law – both its impact on the ground and the compliance by the EU firms, and, should it not suffice to induce the desired effect, consider additional mandatory measures.

Next steps

The technical details of the legislation agreed in principle on Wednesday still need to be worked out. The Dutch Presidency of the Council has pledged to conclude the informal legislative negotiations with the MEPs before its term ends on 1 July. Further political "trilogues" (three-way talks) under the Slovak presidency might be needed to seal the final text of the legislation before it is approved by Parliament in plenary session.

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.