Magazine article New Internationalist

Fair Enough?

Magazine article New Internationalist

Fair Enough?

Article excerpt

An alternative certification and labelling system, the Small Producers Symbol (SPP), is keeping farmers at the heart of fair trade.

Latin American producers set up the scheme in reaction to Fairtrade International (FTI)'s way of doing business. Farmers had become increasingly frustrated with the dominance of corporations and large plantations. They also complained of a limited role for producers at Bonn-based FTI where international standards are set, and the high cost of certification.

Thanks to the 'politics behind the labels', there are now at least six certifiers of 'ethical' coffee in the US alone. Unsurprisingly, consumers are confused.

But SPP, which covers agricultural, beekeeping products and crafts, is steadily attracting more co-operatives and mission-driven importers, because it costs farmers less money and its fairtrade standards are more adaptable to the needs of the producer co-operatives. …

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