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Ghana unveils fair trade labelThursday, February 25, 2016 > 10:42:19
(Ghana Business News)
The first international label that guarantees fair trade to organisations operating in any part of the supply chain – producers to retailers – has been unveiled to provide credibility, identity and expanded market access to business organisations.
With this unique fair trade label, consumers would be able to identify products in the international marketplace that meet high economic, social and environmental sustainability criteria.
The new label was originally launched by the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO), which embodies an experienced global network of organisations representing the Fair Trade supply chain for the past 60 years.
It was required that members unveiled them locally to create awareness and attract more businesses to realise the extensive benefits involved in its usage.
Mr Kobina Arkaah, the President of the Solid Rock Association, a non-governmental organisation, at a media launch in Accra, said apart from members benefiting from the credibility and identity by way of an international guarantee system, the WFTO offers a platform for learning where members connect with like-minded people across the globe.
The WFTO also provides tools and training to increase market access, as well as a common voice that speaks out for Fair Trade and trade justice.
The label, he said, was backed by a robust and credible Guarantee System that creates opportunities for economically disadvantaged producers, ensures transparency and accountability as well as payment of fair prices for products.
Mr Arkaah said the WFTO has currently become home to over 50 organisations in 70 different countries across five regions, including Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin and North America, and the Pacific Rim, with elected global and regional boarders.
He said practices used across the supply chain were checked against the WFTO Fair Trade Standard, which were a set of compliance criteria based on 10 principles and International Labour Organisation Conventions, which frowns on the use of child or forced labour and encourages long-term trading relations.
The principles also encourage gender equality, women’s empowerment and freedom of association, good working conditions, capacity building as well as respect for the environment.
The label, he said, could be put on packaging or tags of handicraft and food products as an assurance that the products were produced and traded by guaranteed Fair Trade Organisations whose practices were checked against the 10 Fair Trade principles.
Mr Arkaah said since there was no international public regulation for the certification of Fair Trade products, private entities could deliberately set up their own criteria and certify single products without considering the practices of the company that sells these products.
“This explains why it is of utmost importance for organisations to have a label that allows consumers to clearly identify the organisations who are hundred per cent committed to fair trade”, he said.
Nii Alue Kobbla Addico, President of Sucardif Association, a non-governmental organisation, who chaired the function, said the label represents an important step towards the recognition that an alternative economic model, more humane and sustainable at different levels was actually possible.
He said by buying products carrying the new WFTO label, traders and consumers could make concrete contributions to create a more just world, to help fight against poverty, social injustice and discrimination; support economically disadvantaged small scale producers, and promote the rights of people and respect for the environment.