Markets working to support sustainable development

In the News: 9th April 2015

09 Apr 2015

Here you will find a round-up of all the latest news and events in mechanisms from around the world. 

Fisheries

  • The Huffington Post recently investigated the exploitation of people working in the global fishing industry -- referred to as 'seafood slavery'. It focused on the Thai fishing industry, which has a majority migrant workforce, many of whom lack documentation, don't speak Thai, and often fall victim to bonded indebtedness as a result of false recruitment practices. They profiled a number of schemes in the fisheries sector to improve traceability, labelling, purchasing standards and seeks to guarantee fair and safe working practices for those in the industry; including a Fair Trade USA certification scheme.
  • Keeping UK supply chains free from 'illegal, unreported and unregulated' (IUU) fishing was the focus of a recent joint report by the British Retail Consortium, Environmental Justice Foundation and WWF UK. So-called 'pirate fishing' accounts for around 26 million tonnes of fish and economic losses of up to USD $23.5 billion a year globally. Recommendations from the report include mandating that large fishing vessels carry a unique identification to assist satellite tracking and EU coordinated database of fish catches.

Thai fishing boat. Source: Wikipedia

Sustainable business

  • George Kell, the Executive Director of the UN Global Compact,  has argued that companies needed to consider constraints in their supply chains that relate to environmental and social factors such as air quality and water scarcity, traditionally referred to as 'externalities'. In the context of new UN Sustainable Development Goals to be unveiled in September that will provide firms with clear development priorities, Kell argued that "what used to be called externalities are now part of your business ".
  • The Guardian recently profiled the Shared Interest Foundation, and their Access to Finance programme. The programme assists businesses to expand and diversify, through training in financial skills, business planning, and finance, with £2 million already being dispersed to farmers and handicraft makers in the Ivory Coast, Uganda, Ghana, Tanzania and Kenya.

Coffee farmer in Brazil. Source: Wikipedia

Fairtrade

  • Fairtrade Brasil was recently launched. The scheme covers coffee beans, honey and other fresh produce. The President of Fairtrade Brasil, Naji Harb, has argued that having a specific Brazilian operation will "reduce the dependence on the international market and open up the Brazilian and South American markets as an alternative, avoiding language barriers and exchange rate changes". 
  • Following the ebola epidemic in West Africa, Fairtrade Africa have committed to training their liaison officers in dealing with such epidemics in order to pass on this knowledge to local producers. Kwame Benson, Partnerships Manager for the Fairtrade West African region said "there is need for continuous awareness creation so that people will remain vigilant and prevent a re-emergence of the epidemic".
  • The UK Fairtrade Foundation and supermarket Waitrose have announced a partnership whereby the Fairtrade Foundation will provide guidance and share best practice with the Waitrose Foundation on the supermarket’s own programme that puts profits from Waitrose marked products back into Global South communities that supply the produce. This is the first time Fairtrade has engaged in third-party verification. Waitrose, while an active supporter and supplier of Fairtrade products launched its own foundation 10 years to improve the conditions of workers and communities that supply fresh produce to Waitrose, with over 450 projects existing across South Africa, Kenya and Ghana. The projects are voted on in the local community, to ensure they directly provide benefit.

Forests

  • Grist recently reported that agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland has announced plans to adopt a no-deforestation policy for soy and palm oil. It follows previous commitments from other agribusinesses Wilmar and Cargill who have pledged to stop buying from suppliers who clear rainforest.