THE FAIRTRADE Foundation is calling on businesses and government agencies at Rio+20 to partner with them to take forward a programme to ensure smallholder farmer organisations can better benefit from global value chains.
Much of the discussion at Rio+20 the United Nations conference on sustainable development will focus on the need to move to a greener economy and the Fairtrade Foundation will call for ethics to be at the heart of this.
Building on recently published research, the Fairtrade Foundation aims to implement a practical programme of work based on best practice learning to support better business trading relationships with smallholder farmers. The programme plans to empower producers to contribute to the development of their own communities.
Speaking at the Global Compact Corporate Sustainability Forum (The Sweet Spot: cocoas promise of sustainability, equity, profitability for smallholders and business) in Rio on June 18, Richard Anstead, head of product management at the Fairtrade Foundation, said that a sustainable, greener economy must be more equal and fair.
Poor and vulnerable producers are not getting the best deal possible and evidence shows that shoppers increasingly look to businesses to demonstrate their responsible practice. Transparency and accountability will be key in future and systems such as Fairtrade help to provide the catalyst.
Smallholders must be organized and empowered to benefit from opportunities presented by global trade. Supporting smallholders is a key route to ensuring increased global food production, improving sustainable production especially in light of the effects of climate change and reducing poverty and inequality.