Oakland, CA — Fair Trade USA and UTZ Certified are collaborating in a pilot program designed to help cacao farmers access both supply chains through a single audit, according to Fair Trade USA.
Under the arrangement, farmers who want certification from both groups can attain it by complying with the UTZ code and a module on Fair Trade standards that include that organization’s minimum price and community development premiums. The initiative aims to broaden their access to the market, enhance social and economic benefits for them and their families and significantly reduce the cost of earning dual certification.
Phase one of the program, to be launched this year, focuses on identifying pilot producer groups: those who would benefit most from dual certification, and will include purchase of cocoa certified through the pilot collaboration.
Regarding the joint effort, Paul Rice, president and CEO of Fair Trade USA, observes: “We share a common goal of enabling sustainable production and livelihoods for farming communities across the globe, and together we can make an even bigger impact. Working with UTZ we’ll make certification even more efficient and beneficial for farmer and the industry alike.”
Although the pilot incorporates a Fair Trade USA add-on module, a spokesperson for the group adds: “Any initiatives that help make sustainable cocoa the norm, including a reciprocal agreement, are ones we’d like to explore eventually.”
Information about the program is available from Sri Artham, Fair Trade USA director of consumer packaged goods, at firstname.lastname@example.org.