News and press releases

The Fair Trade Movement calls for urgent rethink on climate action ahead of COP28

Brussels, 9 November 2023 – The  Fair Trade Movement today calls on governments, businesses and world leaders to scale up joint efforts and take bold, immediate, meaningful and inclusive climate action before it is too late.

With less than a month until the UN COP28 climate change conference in the United Arab Emirates, Fairtrade International, the Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO) and the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) jointly demand that financial pledges to support countries and communities most exposed to climate risks are met.

Climate change has become impossible to ignore, and so is the fact that its impacts are unfair and unequal,” says Sophie Aujean, Global Advocacy Director at Fairtrade International. “Our general conclusion is one of frustration with our global political leaders. The Fair Trade Movement is shouldering its share of responsibility to build a better tomorrow with determination, but the future of our planet depends on all of us. Tackling the climate emergency requires a shared approach.”

The three organisations – who together represent more than two million farmers, producers, workers and artisans in SMEs and cooperatives across the globe – believe climate finance can play a meaningful role – but only if current shortcomings are adequately addressed.  “To create meaningful and lasting impact, climate justice must be the foundation of all climate action, but the window of opportunity is rapidly narrowing and must be seized now,” says Charlotte Vernier, the FTAO Senior Coordinator and lead on Climate Change and Deforestation.

The Fair Trade Movement identifies several areas for immediate improvement which, it says, will significantly help climate finance delivering on its objectives.

  • With adaptation finance flows running at five to 10 times below the estimated needs, prioritising actions that both reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and help communities adapt is becoming more urgent than ever.
  • Remaining structural barriers need to be addressed – producers – especially small-scale women farmers – must have access to financial products and services that are tailored to their needs to allow them to become more climate-resilient and transition to sustainable agriculture. This includes flexible repayment terms, lower interest rates, and simplified application processes.
  • Finally, the loss and damage fund agreed at COP27 must not get bogged down in endless discussions about who pays what. The most climate-vulnerable countries already suffer disproportionately for a climate catastrophe which is not of their making.

Climate finance plays an important role but is not a magic wand,” warns however Vernier. “A multi-dimensional approach is essential to fully understand, prevent and cope with the consequences of the climate crisis were facing.” The joint statement makes clear that to achieve a genuine transformation, global leaders urgently need to look at the bigger picture and concrete ways to support smallholders, small businesses and artisans to shift towards climate resilient practices.

There can be no climate justice without trade justice, and vice-versa,” says WFTO Chief Executive Leida Rijnhout. “Fair Trade Enterprises are leveraging the change we need to shift from an economic system that thrives on exploitative and extractivist practices to a fair one, both for people and the planet. Through their business model, they are proving that alternatives do exist: if we follow their example, we have a concrete chance at achieving sustainable development.”

The active participation of local stakeholders – including farmers, workers and communities – is essential for designing, prioritising, implementing and monitoring efficient climate tools. “Farmers and farming communities are best placed to identify specific challenges and solutions in their local context,” explains Juan-Pablo Solis, Senior Adviser on Climate and Environment at Fairtrade International. “Farmersexpertise and traditional knowledge are key – but the transition to agroecology is unaffordable for most farmers due to unfair market prices and power imbalances in supply chains.”

For emerging supply chain laws to be truly transformational, global leaders and policymakers therefore need to step up efforts to break down remaining silos and efficiently link measures to facilitate decarbonisation with a global fight against inequalities and poverty” concludes Vernier.

Download the full joint statement here and a three-page summary here. Fairtrade International, the FTAO and WFTO will be at COP28 to support producers, farmers and workers in their fight for climate justice. For more information about Fair Trade movement side events, participants and interview opportunities, please contact Juan Pablo Solis at


Fair Trade Advocacy Office

Charlotte Vernier

Senior Policy & Project Coordinator


Fairtrade International

Sophie Aujean

Director Global Advocacy


WFTO Europe

Mikkel Kofod Nørgård

Regional Coordinator





Include Social Aspects on Textile Labels: We respond to the new Textile Labelling Regulation

Brussels, 28 September 2023 – The European Union is revising its rules on product labelling: what information should be included on garments and textiles. At present, this is limited to information on fabrics and care instructions. To improve working conditions for all workers in the supply chain, it is important to provide more information on the social side of the garment sector. Today, the Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO) presents this position to the European Commission through a call for evidence. 

Until the 30th of September the European Commission opened a call for proposals. This legislative process is used to receive feedback on specific policies which will be used to update the policy, in this case the Textile Labelling Regulation. The FTAO argues that social information should be given on three different levels: country level, company level and information from the production sites. These three will be explained in more detail below. 

Human rights violations take place in the garment sector at a great scale: low wages, unpaid overtime, unsafe factories and (sexual) harassment, to name a few. One of the contributing factors to this is a lack of transparency. Consumers that want to make an informed choice and buy sustainable products have difficulty finding the right information. Workers that want to address problems don’t know who the buyer is and cannot reach them. Garment- and textile – labelling could help tackle this problem when used in the right way.  

How information should be presented 

It is important that the information is understandable and accessible to different stakeholders in garment supply chains, to consumers and for journalists to fact check information. Where possible, information should be provided on the label, detailed information could be provided through a QR code or other digital means. Information should be given for all tiers of the production process: from the raw material stage (cotton farms or other fibres), through the spinning-, weaving- and finally cut-make-trim (CMT) stage. 

Country specific information 

The country of origin can give some insights, as long as it is accompanied by specific information. This could be information on the minimum wage in a country and how this relates to a living wage. Ratified ILO- and UN conventions can also be informative, for example on migrant workers or supporting freedom of association. This does not mean that these problems will never arise, it is however an indication that there is an international system in place to address issues when they arise. How a country scores on the list on the ranking of trade union busting can also provide useful information. 

Company information: purchasing practices and complaints 

The purchasing practices of a company should be made clear as they can have a big influence on working conditions. Last-minute changes in delivery times or design could have significant repercussions for a factory: financially, if additional investments arise in the event of design changes, but also in terms of possible longer working hours, if delivery times are pushed forward. (Forced) unpaid overtime is not uncommon in these situations to compensate for the losses. A company should therefore pay a price that makes sustainable production and decent working conditions possible. To verify if this is the case, transparency is needed on the purchasing practices and contracts between the company and their supplier. If a company has a complaints mechanism, it should be clear what complaints they have received and how they responded to these cases. 

Working conditions and audits 

For the different stages of the production process, information should be provided on the average working hours, overtime (if present), health & safety conditions, committees that are active, real democratic trade unions present at the factory, collective bargaining agreements settled and information on types of employment contracts. Temporary contracts are common in the garment sector. This creates job insecurity for workers and influences other human rights. Some workers might not receive a new contract when they become pregnant or if they join a trade union. Farming raw materials such as cotton is often a seasonal job, making job security even lower. If these working conditions are verified by an auditing company, this information should be made public as well, in such a way that does not put workers or smallholder producers at risk.   

Aligning with other EU policies 

As a minimum we call for the Regulation to be in line with forthcoming Due Diligence legislation such as the CSRD and CSDDD (for example by including a link to the CSRD reporting on the company on/through the label). However, these directives have limits in terms of size of companies covered and type of information that are legally obliged to provide. In itself the Due Diligence legislation will not provide sufficient information for all pieces of garment for consumers to make an informed decision. Therefore, the information listed above should be added on/through the label.  

For any questions around our work on the Textile sector or Due Diligence legislation, please contact May Hylander at

More than 240 000 European citizens demand a Living Wage for the people who make our clothes around the world

Brussels, 20 July 2023 – The people who make our clothes cannot afford a sufficient and nutrient diet, to send their kids to school, to live in decent housing or to go to the doctor. This is because they earn on average 2 times less than a living wage: the salary needed to live in decent conditions. Yesterday at midnight, the Good Clothes, Fair Pay campaign, supported by the Fair Trade Advocacy Office along with many other organisations, came to an end, after having collected 240 180 signatures from EU citizens


240,180 EU citizens signed the Good Clothes, Fair Pay campaign, a European Citizens Initiative, asking the EU to adopt legislation that requires EU textile and garment companies to ensure that workers in their supply chains are paid a living wage.    

240,180 citizens demand fairer and more transparent supply chains and want brands to be held accountable when not respecting the rights of their workers. Citizens are also ready to change the way they consume but call for public policies that would make companies offer better products. A survey conducted in 2020 by Oney Group and OpinionWay in France, Spain, Portugal and Hungary, shows that 90% of European consumers are sensitive to sustainable consumption and expect brands to be committed and help them consume better. However, more than half of them do not believe the promises of brands concerning sustainability.  

Although the Good Clothes Fair Pay European Citizens’ Initiative did not reach the signature goal needed to demand an official response from the European Commission, the number of signatures confirms that the impact of the textile industry on the human rights of its workers is an issue which mobilises increasing public support. Up to recently, Living Wages for garment workers was rarely at the forefront of public conversation about the impact of the fashion industry, and was almost never included in public policies aiming at making the fashion sector more sustainable. 


A Living Wage and a Living Income is a human right and the EU needs to into account what workers and civil society, and now also more than 240 thousand citizens, are calling for and make way for a fairer fashion industry through both currently negotiated and potential EU-legislation: 

Through an ambitious EU Directive on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence. The EU is currently negotiating new legal obligations for the biggest companies on the EU market: they will have to identify, bring to an end, prevent, mitigate and account for negative human rights and environmental impacts in their value chains. Negotiations between the Council, the Parliament and the Commission are undergoing right now and key points will need to be addressed for the final text to be impactful for the people in textile supply chains:  

  • The final text needs to explicitly refer to both Living Wages for workers and Living Incomes for smallholders or self-employed producers, to ensure that both garment workers and cotton producers receive a fair remuneration allowing them to live in decent conditions.  
  • The Directive needs to explicitly require companies to assess the impact of their business model and their purchasing, trading and pricing practices on human rights and to take measures to prevent, mitigate and address the harm that they are causing.  
  • The text from the Commission created a Due Diligence obligation solely for the biggest companies. Around 99% of EU textile companies are SMEs and available research shows that smaller brands collectively represent a significant amount of the garment industry. Excluding them from the scope of Due Diligence obligations runs the risk of leaving many garment workers unprotected. The EU should at least follow the proposed scope by the Parliament that includes the most companies and aligns the scope with the sustainability reporting obligations under the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive.   
  • The Directive must make clear that engagement with stakeholders should be at the centre and done in a meaningful way at every step of the Due Diligence process in line with the OECD Guidelines.   

The coming months will be key for achieving an ambitious and impactful legislation. Join us to ask our governments and members of the European Parliament for a strong law – check out the Justice is Everybody’s Business Campaign and Action Toolkit!  

Towards the prohibition of Unfair Trading Practices (UTPs) in the textile sector. The Good Clothes, Fair Pay campaign calls for the prohibition of Unfair Trading Practices which cause, or contribute to, harms to workers. These include, among others, payment delays, order cancellation and prices under the cost of production. As asked by the EU Parliament in its report of the Sustainable Textiles Strategy, the European Commission should introduce legislation to prohibit UTPs in the textile sector, similar to what was introduced for the agri-food sector in an EU Directive from 2019. Read more on how such a legislation could look here. 

By pushing for an enabling policy environment for Living Wages and Living Incomes. All governments committed to improve the textile sector should consider joining the Joint Declaration on Living Wage and Living Income signed by the Dutch, German, Belgian and Luxembourgish governments. They commit to collaborating to implement measures to integrate Living Incomes and Wages into their public policies on sustainable supply chains, at national and EU levels.   

For any questions around our work on Fair and Sustainable Textiles or Due Diligence legislation, please contact May Hylander at

Ecodesign Rules for Sustainable Products: European Parliament misses key chance to increase transparency on labour rights

Brussels, 12 July 2023 – The European Parliament adopted its position on the proposal for Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR). The position is a good step towards more sustainable products. However, social aspects are not covered which is a huge missed opportunity for policy alignment with existing and upcoming Due Diligence legislation. 

The position adopted today by the European Parliament is their answer to the proposal for Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (hereafter the ‘Ecodesign Regulation´) that puts forward environmental performance requirements for several product categories. The proposed Ecodesign Regulation is building on previous legislation on energy-related products. With this proposed regulation, the scope of the products that are covered has been broadened: this is a very good step, as not only energy-related products need to be produced more sustainably. Especially welcome is the inclusion of the textile sector. One big improvement both by the Council in May 2023 and now today by the European Parliament is the inclusion of a ban on the destruction of unsold goods (starting with textiles and electronics). This is a long awaited and crucial first step in the right direction.  

The proposed Ecodesign Regulation also introduces a so-called Digital Product Passport. This tool will require companies to provide information to recycling facilities and consumers on aspects such as recyclability and environmental performance. Transparency on the social aspects in the production process, such as existence of unions, health & safety or information on wages, were not part of the framework by the Commission proposal, and the Parliament also regrettably failed to introduce it. This is especially problematic for the textile sector, which is known for its labour violations within its supply chains: long over hours, low wages and unsafe factories are well-known problems in the garment industry.

The products used in the European Union are produced by millions of workers worldwide, and therefore there is no way to speak about sustainable products without addressing their working conditions and human rights,” says May Hylander, Policy and Project Officer at the Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO).  

Missed opportunity to align the Ecodesign Regulation with Due Diligence policies 

Under the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), companies are required to report on their sustainability risks and activities to mitigate these. This will also be the reporting tool of the proposed Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD). The fact that the Ecodesign Regulation is not aligning with these other instruments that aim to regulate transparency and sustainability in global value chains is a real missed opportunity. Social aspects of the production process should have been part of the Digital Product Passport to make this information more accessible to workers, producers, consumers and civil society.  

The European Parliament also misses the chance to improve the rights of workers and producers by adopting a holistic approach to sustainability and include socially responsible public procurement and human rights standards the mandatory criteria for green public procurement (for example for textiles). Instead, they stayed with the limit to environmental criteria proposed by the European Commission. Finally, the FTAO welcomes that the European Parliament added thatNo later than 4 years after the date of application of this Regulation, the Commission shall consider the inclusion of social sustainability and due diligence requirements within the scope of this Regulation. Even if it is an important addition, it is too little too late, and the Commission must consider this inclusion as early as possible to not keep leaving out the people making the products. 

For any questions around our work on the Textile sector or Due Diligence legislation, please contact May Hylander at

We release the White Paper “Fair Thread: policy recommendations for a sustainable textile industry”

Brussels, 4 July 2023 – As part of the Small But Perfect (SBP) project, we release today the White Paper “Fair Thread: policy recommendations for a sustainable textile industry”. This White Paper, jointly written by the Fair Trade Advocacy Office and Fashion Revolution, including a Needs Analysis of sustainable SMEs done by Bocconi University, aims to tackle inequalities stemming from the current fast fashion model.

It highlights 19 policy recommendations urgently needed to improve livelihoods of millions of workers and farmers in the value chains of EU textile companies and show how these policy changes can also be good for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs). 

The White Paper is based on the outcomes of the SBP project. The input for the Paper is taken from two multi-stakeholder Policy Dialogues exploring enablers and blockers for a fair and sustainable textile sector well as thorough research and the learnings from the network of SMEs, business support organizations and policy makers created during the SBP project. 

The Paper covers the topics of:  

  • Sustainable Business Models  
  • Traceability and Transparency  
  • Living Wage and Living Income  
  • Unfair Trading Practices   
  • Human Rights and Environmental Due Diligence  
  • Sustainable Public Procurement 


The White Paper picks up on the momentum at EU level to regulate the industry: last month, the European Parliament recently voted on their position regarding two important policy instruments for improving the fashion industry: the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD) and the EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textile. While this is very welcome  the CSDDD limits the scope to big brands with high turnover and therefore has small prospects of leading to real positive change in the textile and garment industry. At the core of the EU fashion industry – making up 98.8% of all EU fashion businesses in 2022 – are Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). SMEs are well placed to drive systemic industry change, and should not be left out of the policy conversation. It is also crucial to improve due diligence in the textile sector as particularly power imbalances between brands and their suppliers (often SMEs) lead to numerous human rights and environmental abuses.  

Garment brands hold buying power over their suppliers. If manufacturers do not agree to specific buying terms, then the brand can choose to switch suppliers at any moment(1). Brands and retailers use this buying power to unilaterally enforce unfavourable purchasing terms. These unfair trading practices (UTPs) include buying at prices below the cost of production, unilateral changes to agreed contracts, late changes in lead times, and cancelling (semi-)produced garments. Afraid to lose future orders, manufacturers tend to not address these (often) illegal practices and absorb the losses instead. This means the factory does not have enough financial space to invest in safe working conditions, sustainable production methods or living wages for its workers.  

At present, the vast majority of fashion brands cannot prove that they are paying their workers a living wage(2). Low wages force people to work excessive overtime to make a living. Working excessive hours in hazardous situations can lead to hand numbness, back problems and eye strain when sewing(3). Respiratory issues, skin disease, burns and even death can occur due to working with toxic chemicals(4). Some workers are forced to skip meals because they cannot afford food for their families(5).  

Voluntary initiatives by the industry, such as commercial audits or sustainability platforms, have not been able to fix problems like power imbalances, lack of transparency and dangerously low wages. Companies that do want to take responsibility and produce sustainably are faced with unfair competition from brands that do not consider the environment or human rights in their supply chain.  

SMEs are particularly exposed to these challenges, both as brands having to compete with big fast fashion companies, and as manufacturers being faced with Unfair Trading Practices from their buyers. These challenges have not been taken sufficiently into account in upcoming EU legislation  

In the SMEs Needs Analysis in the Annex it is described in more detail what regulatory changes SMEs need as well as how current legislative proposals should look to work for SMEs. In order to support European circular and sustainable SMEs in fashion, customised policies are necessary, as well as a customised approach in the implementation of regulations. As highlighted in the Annex, customised approaches could be related to availability of dedicated incentives, adapted timing of implementation depending on the company size, availability of dedicated training for reskilling and upskilling, availability of specific toolkits dedicated to SMEs to reduce complexity. 

Read the full paper here. 

For any questions around our work on the Textile sector or Due Diligence legislation, please contact May Hylander at  



  1. Out of the Shadows: a spotlight on exploitation in the fashion industry, Clean Clothes Campaign (2020), p. 3. 
  2. Tailored Wages: the state of play in the global garment industry, Clean Clothes Campaign (2019). 
  3. Annie Delaney, Rosaria Burchielli and Tim Connor, Positioning women homeworkers in a global footwear production network: how can homeworkers improve agency, influence and claim rights? (2015) 57:4 Journal of Industrial Relations 641. 
  4. Petr Bengsten and Danwatch, Toxic chemicals used for leather production poisoning India’s tannery workers, The Ecologist (2012). Available at: 
  5. Penelope Kyritsis, Genevieve LeBaron and Scott Nova, Hunger in the Apparel Supply Chain: Survey findings on workers’ access to nutrition during Covid-19, Worker Rights Consortium (2021). 

EU-LAC: Partners of choice for mutually beneficial sustainability goals

Brussels, 26th June 2023 – The Fair Trade movement welcomes the introduction of a New Agenda for Relations between the EU and Latin America and the Caribbean and the fact that the agenda for relations between the EU and Latin America Caribbean (LAC) region has a strong multilateral approach for cooperation and engagement. As well as the fact that a European External Action Service is involved in the process and its implementation. 

However, the Fair Trade movement regrets the lack of reference by the EU to the need to address the root causes of systemic issues linked to sustainability in LAC countries, and the responsibilities deriving for the EU thereof. There is need of a wider vision to address the root causes of the spillover effects embedded in the EU trade policy. 

Continue to read the full joint reaction (in English and Spanish) here.

For any inquiries, please contact Virginia Enssle at

The Fair Trade movement presents its views on the need for a truly Global Green Deal

Brussels, 19th June 2023 – The Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO), in partnership with Fairtrade International (FI) and the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), has released today its paper “Transforming the European Green Deal into a Global Green Deal – the role of Fair Trade”. The paper calls on the European Commission to work on transforming the European Green Deal into a Global Green Deal, by repositioning the role of trade and business models. This will decrease the externalities of the existing EU policies, in favour of people and planet all around the globe.

According to the signatories, it is high time to assume responsibility for the impact the European way of life has on other countries and, in particular, on those in the Global South. The ever-continuing EU demand for diverse material resources and a range of manufactured products creates significant negative spillover effects in many producing countries. Notable examples are environmental and biodiversity damages (the EU is responsible of 10% of deforestation), unacceptable working conditions, fatal accidents and a large proportion of outsourced greenhouse gas emissions. It is estimated that 40% of the total EU emissions are generated outside the EU borders in producing goods and services that satisfy EU consumers’ demands. The paper recognizes that the current European Green Deal rightly addresses some of these spillover effects, notably through its approved Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) and Deforestation Regulation, but that there is an absolute need for more comprehensive and structural measures.

Eric Ponthieu, the FTAO’s Strategy Director, said: “The Fair Trade Movement can draw on decades of experience in establishing social and environmental justice through trade, both regionally and internationally. Promoting Fair Trade and regenerative business models is the best way to ensure more consistency between the European Green Deal and the EU development policy, in line with the Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development.

The paper draws policy makers’ attention to the fact that the EU cannot afford to disregard global sustainability and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) while addressing climate change. Leida Rijnhout, WFTO Chief Executive, said: “There should be full coherence in terms of adequate policies, objectives, rights and responsibilities between European and non-European countries, hence a Global Green Deal to intertwine the global dimension with the European policies. Fair Trade Enterprises are a powerful driver of system change, they are the building block of a new, sustainable economy”.

The signatories highlight that mainstreaming Fair Trade approaches and FT enterprises in the Global Green Deal can lead to multiple benefits and facilitate the achievement of the 2030 SD Agenda. Sophie Aujean, FI Director Global Advocacy, said: “Smallholder farmers and workers are increasingly under pressure due to the impacts of the climate and inflation crises. The Fair Trade movement not only provides fairer prices to small producers, it also promotes sustainable farming practices, diversification of livelihoods, it supports farmers and cooperatives in adding value to products and it is working with businesses and governments committed to sustainability.

The FTAO, FI and the WFTO will work together to promote more responsible trade and businesses, sustainable consumption and production patterns as well as social and environmental justice by calling upon the integration of Fair Trade principles and the role of Fair Trade Enterprises into a fully fledged Global Green Deal.

For any inquiries, please contact Eric Ponthieu at

European Parliament calls the Commission to fix unfair trading practices in the textile sector

On June 1 2023, the European Parliament voted on an Own-Initiative Procedure (INI) in response to the Textile Strategy. The strategy acknowledges the human aspect of garment production and among other things calls for the European Commission to present legislation to minimise Unfair Trading Practices (UTPs) in the garment sector. This report is an answer to the European Commission strategy for sustainable and circular textiles that was presented March 30 2022. The strategy from the European Commission included some green ambitions but lacked actions on the social aspect of the textile industry, therefore this response from the European Parliament is very welcome.

Social dimension of textile production

The Parliament acknowledged that there cannot be a sustainable and circular textile sector without considering the social dimension of the industry, including a gender perspective. The Parliament highlights the occurrence of labour rights violations in the garment industry, such as unsafe working conditions and lack of living wages. It states that the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD) alone will not be able to fix these problems (as was suggested in the strategy of the Commission). A point that the Fair Trade Advocacy Office strongly supports, especially given that 99% of the garment sector is comprised of SME’s, that are not covered by the due diligence directive. The Parliament therefore urges the Commission to take additional steps towards addressing human rights in textile supply chains.

Call for legislation to tackle Unfair Trading Practices (UTPs)

The garment- and textile industry is known for its unequal power relationships between garment brands or retailers and their suppliers. This power imbalance creates pressure on garment factories. For example, garment factories might be pressured to offer low prices and make last minute changes or they get orders they cannot refuse and that workers end up paying for through (unpaid) overtime. In its initiative, the Parliament urges the Commission to minimize the problems that result from this.

The Commission is asked to provide an assessment of how to minimise unfair trading practices, including through legislation. A ground-breaking step that the Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO) has pushed for many times. The FTAO is therefore pleased to see the Parliament bringing this to the attention of the Commission. In drafting legislation, the Commission could draw inspiration from the EU Directive 2019/633 on unfair trading practices in the agricultural and food supply chain. The legislation should practice such as last-minute cancellation of orders, unilateral disposition of discounts, last minute order changes and payment later than 60 days.

Transparency and traceability

The Parliament welcomes the initiatives brought forward by the Commission that stimulate transparency and traceability. Through increased transparency consumers are empowered to make sustainable decisions and garment workers know where they can address issues on working conditions when they arise. An important tool to increase transparency is the forthcoming Digital Product Passport (DPP). According to the Parliament this passport should be ‘accurate, complete and up to date’. The report does not elaborate on the details. As the garment industry employs millions of people worldwide, a passport for clothes or textiles would not be complete without information on social aspects. The FTAO therefore strongly encourages policy makers to include information on labour rights and working conditions in the DPP.

Public procurement needs to include social criteria

Public authorities have considerable buying power. Authorities should use this buying power to drive the development towards more sustainable textiles produced with respect of Human Rights. The Parliament acknowledges this and calls for a broader and more effective application of socially responsible and sustainable public procurement criteria for textiles. The Parliament has the potential to take action on this concretely in the frame of the Eco-Design regulation that is being negotiated at the moment.  According to the FTAO, effective application of socially responsible public procurement would also need a revision of the 2014 Directive on Public Procurement to require public buyers to do Human Rights and Environmental Due Diligence and to enable public procurement to be part of the administrative sanctions in the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence directive.

Next step: action from the European Commission

The initiative was adopted with a big majority of 600 votes, sending a strong signal to the European Commission to take action. Together with other Civil Society Organisation, the Fair Trade Advocacy Office published a response to the own initiative of the Parliament. The FTAO will follow the process closely and hopes that the Commission, together with stakeholders and civil society, will address the above topics through effective legislation promptly. Textile workers have been waiting way too long for living wages and full respect of their human rights.

For any inquiries, please contact May Hylander at 

ADP countries must support a smallholder-inclusive implementation of the EU Deforestation Regulation

Brussels, May 30 – The adoption of the EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) is a major milestone showing the commitment of the European Union to contribute to reducing global deforestation. NGOs have repeatedly indicated the regulation can only be truly effective and achieve its objective, if it is smallholder-inclusive. Now the text is finalized and adopted, effective implementation and enforcement are essential to achieve positive change on the ground and tackle deforestation worldwide.

The annual conference of the Amsterdam Declarations Partnership (ADP), held in London on 10 May 2023, highlighted the urgency to ensure smallholders are included in the fight against deforestation. We commend this interest and focus, however, we still miss the level of action needed to ensure they are effectively supported, in a coordinated way. We believe that the ADP is a key initiative to make it happen. For this reason, we call upon the incoming Belgian Presidency to consider steering urgently the following actions through the partnership:

  1. Immediately assess the EUDR impacts on smallholders and their needs for compliance
  2. Urgently and significantly scale up support measures empowering smallholders and forest
    communities, especially women, enabling them adequate market access based on fairness and equity
  3. Start engaging with all relevant producer countries based on a strategic framework
  4. Enable producers, in particular smallholders and forest communities, to earn a living income

Read the full joint letter here.

For any inquiries, please contact Charlotte Vernier at

European Parliament vote on the CSDDD: Significant improvements for the rights of smallholder farmers

Brussels, 1 June 2023 – Today, the European Parliament adopted its position on the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD). This proposed directive provides a unique chance to enhance business responsibility for human rights and the environment.

The Parliament introduced significant improvements on the proposal from the European Commission, particularly in requiring companies to assess the potential or actual adverse impacts that their purchasing practices and business models may have on human rights and the environment. “This is a significant improvement to the proposed directive for workers and farmers who ultimately pay the price of Unfair Trading Practices (UTPs),” stresses May Hylander, Policy and Project Officer at the Fair Trade Advocacy Office.

The Parliament also improved the Commission’s proposal by recognising the right to a Living Income, alongside the right to a Living Wage. One-third of the food we consume is produced by smallholder farmers – independent economic actors who earn an income rather than receiving a wage. Many of them struggle to earn enough to afford a decent standard of living for their household, let alone adopt more sustainable production practices. “Elevating the recognition of the right to a living income within the CSDDD can prompt companies to closely examine their purchasing practices, making meaningful contributions to lifting smallholder farmers out of poverty” says Catarina Vieira, EU Policy Advisor for Solidaridad.

The importance of engaging meaningfully with stakeholders throughout the due diligence process and the extent to which companies must do so have been widely debated in the Parliament. In line with the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct, meaningful stakeholder engagement goes beyond mere consultation. Its purpose is to help businesses understand and address the needs and concerns of affected stakeholders’ effectively, with special consideration for groups most vulnerable to adverse impacts. We welcome that the Parliament followed that approachemphasises Meri Hyrske-Fischer, Human Rights Advisor for Fairtrade International.

Furthermore, the undersigning organisations appreciate the Parliament’s clarification that disengagement is only to be done as a last resort, taking into account the potential adverse human rights or environmental consequences. Unfortunately, the limitation in the Parliament’s position, where disengagement is only deemed necessary when companies are directly responsible for causing or contributing to harm, contradicts the principles of responsible disengagement outlined in the OECD Guidelines and UNGPs. “In line with international norms, a company should do everything in its power to end or mitigate the adverse impact, and only disengage as a last resort if it lacks the leverage to do so” – Fanny Gauttier, EU Public Affairs Lead at the Rainforest Alliance.

The Parliament’s position is not perfect. It fails to reverse the burden of proof, key to ensuring access to justice for victims, and eliminates the article that outlines the duty of directors in setting up and overseeing a company’s due diligence process. Despite this, the European Parliament possesses a robust mandate for trilogue negotiations. Its position is more closely aligned with the OECD Guidelines and UNGPs and offers a higher likelihood of practical effectiveness.

It is now a shared responsibility of the Parliament, the Commission, and the Council to work towards a compromise that reflects high ambition in advancing the goals of the CSDDD, addressing unintended repercussions and preventing a disproportionate burden of due diligence on less powerful actors in global value chains.

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Fair Trade Advocacy Office

May Hylander

Policy and Project Officer

Rainforest Alliance

Darla van Hoorn

Manager, Global Media Relations
+31 (0)6 20 09 13 12


Bram Verkerke

Press Officer

+31 6 296 01233

Fairtrade International

Meri Hyrske-Fischer

Human Rights Advisor,