14 Mar 2023

Reporting Social Compliance Allegations

While Fairtrade is not a protection or safeguarding agency, we diligently uphold our duty of care to act to protect vulnerable children and adults who are alleged to have experienced abuse, exploitation and /or negligence within the Fairtrade certified entities. The occurrences of these unacceptable practices are major non-conformities to Fairtrade Standards, involving prohibitions of child labour, forced labour and/or gender-based or workplace violence.

Once we are made aware of such allegations, we take a holistic and rights-based approach as set out in our internal Act to Protect Policy. Follow-up actions may involve working and engaging with rights-based national protection agencies, health services, schools, local authorities, ombudsman offices, district attorneys, non-governmental organisations, and other duty bearers to enable the implementation of relevant and applicable laws concerning protecting children and vulnerable adults from abuse, exploitation and/or neglect.

Our Act to Protect policy and framework has been developed and refined over the past decade under the lead of our expert Senior Advisor, Social Compliance, Anita Sheth who has been the focal point for all such allegations. We are deeply grateful for the work Anita has done to develop and embed this robust social compliance system at Fairtrade, and reluctantly say farewell to her as she continues her work in compliance in another area of the sustainability sector.

Going forward we ask that all allegations of non-conformities to Fairtrade relevant standards involving child labour, forced labour and/or gender-based or work place violence in the supply chain be submitted to Fairtrade International, the independent standard setter, via the email to socialcompliance@fairtrade.net.

You could also submit allegations to FLOCERT, the independent certification body of Fairtrade, via email to credibility@flocert.net.

Fairtrade International and FLOCERT, have independent processes to assess the allegation submitted. Follow-up with FLOCERT takes place through auditing and for Fairtrade International, through multiple options depending on the allegation, such as in-person visits by trained Producer Networks Social Compliance teams, supported by recognized rights-based organizations or experts, enforcement personnel at national protection agencies and/or through specialized staff at the organization.

Allegations will be treated with great care and kept in the strictest confidentiality. No person submitting an allegation will face harm. Remember that both the receiver and the sender of allegations, have responsibility to ensure no further harm comes to persons alleged to be in harm. At Fairtrade International everyone has responsibility to act to protect persons alleged to be in harm in certified entities.