Public Policies for Fair Supply Chains


Extreme poverty and human rights violations still prevail in many global supply chains. In order to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals, a collaborative and holistic approach to regulating supply chains is needed. Voluntary approaches, by demonstrating best practices and encouraging companies to improve their practices, have led to some progress. However, to achieve large-scale change, business conduct needs to be addressed through comprehensive legislative and non-legislative action at national, regional, and global level, ensuring a positive impact on all those involved in global supply chains, especially the most vulnerable.


At the Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO), we focus on public policies and accompanying measures which will promote real change in companies’ behaviour and lead to a better distribution of value throughout global supply chains.

At the core of our work, we aim to achieve positive change for small farmers and workers in the Global South and so, work closely with our member organisations such as the Fairtrade system and the World Fair Trade Organisation, to ensure that our work is aligned with the experiences of producers.

Therefore, we are advocating for a change in companies’ purchasing practices, including pricing, as these practices play a substantial role in the human rights and environmental violations in supply chains. Good purchasing practices enable suppliers to provide adequate production standards and safe working conditions as well as pay living wages and earn a living income.

We believe that a re-rebalancing of power in supply chains is possible through:

  • Mandatory Human rights and Environmental Due Diligence legislation, including the responsibility of companies to adopt sustainable purchasing practices that enable living incomes and wages for farmers and workers.
  • Bilateral agreements with producer countries (involving civil society); including development and cooperation support to contribute to sustainable local development and the definition and enforcement of relevant legislative frameworks
  • Coherent and supportive trade practices
  • A safe space for companies to discuss sustainability issues and clarification of to what extent competition law can allow cooperation for sustainability purposes
  • Constructive support from states and the European Union to the UN binding treaty process on business and human rights

We ask for regulation in all sectors, but we believe there is potential for immediate progress in the cocoa and textile sectors.

More information on our EU policy workstreams here.