Fair Trade

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Fair Trade

Recommendations and conclusions:

- The Committee welcomes the Commission’s Communication which highlights and supports the increasing impact of consumer labelling schemes to enable consumer choice.

- The Committee agrees that the dynamic and market-responsive nature of these consumer labels is encouraged by their voluntary nature and recommends that resource and regulatory support is given to the development of the improved transparency, impact and credibility of such schemes and the capacity of producers to influence them and participate through certification. The aim should be to harmonise approaches where they agree and ensure that the factors which distinguish them are communicated in a transparent way.

- The Committee highlights the role that Fair Trade has played in stimulating practical consumer action on sustainable purchasing, with the building of civil society engagement in numerous forms. The further commitment by the Commission to support civil society organisations to develop consumer awareness and support for sustainability assurance schemes in this area is welcome as it additionally provides capacity to generate civil solidarity and positive action.

- The growth in recent years of all forms of sustainable purchasing initiatives indicates that now is the time for the Commission to seriously consider how the underlying standards and processes can influence its engagement with the WTO, especially concerning international trade policy towards developing countries which gives greater emphasis to social and environmental factors.