Through Fairtrade, farmers and workers have the power to tackle obstacles such as child labour, gender inequality, labour rights and environmental abuses, which not only deny people their basic human rights but threaten the future of their businesses and jobs. In 2015-2016 we expanded our programmes in these key areas.


Communities in Charge of their own Well-being

Fairtrade supports producer communities to build programmes that address human rights issues in their communities, including those involving child and forced labour and gender-based violence. The challenges faced by farmers and workers in developing countries go beyond the scope of any certification system. So, we are building our own expertise and working with farmers, workers, governments, companies and civil society organizations to address human rights issues in and around Fairtrade producer organizations.

Children and youth are at the heart of Fairtrade’s Youth Inclusive Community Based Monitoring and Remediation (YICBMR) system on child labour. Our rights-based, inclusive approach builds on the capacity of children and young people in and around producer organizations to contribute to the identification of and response to child and forced labour and increased protection. They are involved every step of the way to address this issue.

SCOOPADEF youth leader male BROU Franck 2_Max Havelaar Netherlands

“The Village Project is important to me as it makes us aware of children’s rights and we learn how we can implement a monitoring system in our community. Moreover, the project is about improving employment opportunities for young people and it gives us the chance to apply for a scholarship.”

Brou Konan Franck, cocoa farmer and project Youth Leader

The YICBMR system is being piloted in Belize, Paraguay, Mexico, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Zambia and India. The system aims to proactively identify and respond to child labour. This involves ensuring young people are removed from exploitation and hazardous work, are provided with developmental opportunities, and that those removed are not replaced with other children. Also involved in the YICBMR system are prevention projects aimed at improving primary, secondary and vocational education and supporting young people searching for decent employment opportunities.

In 2015, producers in Belize presented their YICBMR programme to government agencies, educational institutions and industry partners from Belize, Mexico, the USA and Honduras. Read more

Working with Fraternité Sans Limites, Tony’s Chocolonely and the Dutch Postcode Lottery, Fairtrade has implemented this approach in West Africa in a project called ‘It Takes a Village to Protect a Child’.

Read more about our approach to addressing child and forced labour


Cooperating for our Climate

In December 2015, we launched the Fairtrade Climate Standard at COP21, the Climate Change Conference. The new Standard, developed in partnership with the Gold Standard, enables producers to reduce their carbon emissions while improving their resilience to climate change. Some of Europe’s biggest businesses were among the first to commit to buying Fairtrade Carbon Credits under the new Standard. Learn more about Fairtrade Carbon Credits.

At the same time the Fairtrade producer networks are prioritising climate change adaptation, and developing programmes and projects to meet farmers’ specific needs.

Read about our approach to addressing climate change


Gender: A Women’s Issue?

Gender is not just a women’s issue. Gender equality in agriculture means empowering men and women farmers, workers and their employers to build communities where everybody feels equally valued.

DSC_0001 - Fidelina Zaldaña_HORITraining and awareness-raising are key parts of our recently refreshed gender strategy (PDF)In El Salvador, CLAC established a ‘Leadership Training & Women’s Empowerment School’ for six coffee cooperatives. The school will be implemented in Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda in 2017. Read more

“This school has been invaluable, helping me to grow as a woman and to realize myself as a leader.”

Fidelina Zaldaña, coffee farmer 

We are also taking our approach beyond Fairtrade. In 2015, we hosted a World Banana Forum meeting (PDF) addressing gender equality in the banana industry. Women leaders from trade unions and smallholder organizations shared their challenges and recommendations for action.

Read about our approach to addressing gender equality

What's next?

  • We will embed gender mainstreaming across the Fairtrade system.
  • Fairtrade will work with young people and children in and around producer organizations to develop a strategy to make agriculture an attractive option for the next generation of youngsters seeking to build sustainable livelihoods.  We will scale up this work by further engaging with governments, NGOs, trade unions, companies, ILO and UNICEF.
  • We are also developing specific strategies to improve Fairtrade’s effectiveness in tackling discrimination and abuse of vulnerable people in supply chains.

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