A Fair Price for Human Rights Due Diligence

Published: 9 Dec 2022


Human rights underpin Fairtrade’s vision of a world in which all producers can enjoy secure and sustainable livelihoods, fulfil their potential and decide on their future. This study seeks to find out the extent to which Fairtrade’s interventions reduce human rights harms in global supply chains and can contribute to the human rights due diligence of companies. These interventions include the Fairtrade Minimum Price, Fairtrade Premium training for producers, standards, development projects and advocacy work.

Fairtrade commissioned the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and DIMES Consultancy to undertake the study, focusing on coffee farmers from Ethiopia and Colombia, and banana producers from Colombia and the Dominican Republic. Five human rights domains were explored through document review, more than 100 interviews and nine workshops: living wage / living income, working conditions, freedom of association, child labour and forced labour, and discrimination and women's rights.

The researchers found that Fairtrade interventions have advanced human rights, especially in the areas of social and economic rights. In other areas, while progress has been made in areas such as women's rights and migrant workers' rights, Fairtrade's favourable impacts are limited by unequal power relations in supply chains and society, culture (machismo, patriarchy) or policies and laws of the country.

The study also articulates where Fairtrade plays a valuable role in supporting companies on their human rights due diligence, particularly in bringing insights on risks and the voice of producers to the table in risk identification and assessments, and as a starting point for "meaningful HRDD".

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