Thank you for contacting me about Fairtrade.
Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. I fully align myself with these goals, and I think it is important that we continue to support the Fairtrade initiative.
Between 2010 and 2016, DFID provided £18 million to Fairtrade International to support their work and strengthen the global Fairtrade system. This includes Fairtrade producer and worker organizations that contribute to inclusive economic, environmental and social development in their communities around the world. There are over 1.65 million farmers and workers spread across more than 74 countries participating in Fairtrade. DFID currently works with Fairtrade through a small grant, which has enabled it to develop “Fairtrace”, a technology-based supply chain mapping tool focussed on the cocoa sector.
I want to see a world where all workers are paid a wage which enables them to escape poverty, and where they do not have to work in unsafe conditions because they want to provide for their families. DFID continues to improve product and worker standards through support to the ISEAL Alliance, the umbrella organisations that represents all sustainability standards. Work in this area has been scaled up, including promoting international standards such as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, supporting organisations that work with businesses to encourage them to pay more living wages, such as the Ethical Trading Initiative, and placing pressure on businesses, through programmes like ShareAction’s Workforce Disclosure Initiative.
While it remains a commercial decision on whether or not to stock Fairtrade products and adopt Fairtrade Principles, I am encouraged that the Government works with the British Retail Consortium to help retailers ensure their supply chains are ethically sound.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.