Limited review of the definition and scope of significant number of workers- SPO Standard
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PART 1 Introduction
1. General Introduction

Fairtrade Standards support the sustainable development of small-scale producers and workers in the Global South. Producers and traders must meet the relevant Fairtrade Standards for their products to be certified as Fairtrade. Fairtrade International’s Standards and Pricing Unit (S&P) is responsible for developing Fairtrade Standards in line with the Standard Operating Procedure for the Development of Fairtrade Standards and in compliance with all requirements of the ISEAL Code of Good Practice for Setting Social and Environmental Standards. A fundamental principle is wide consultation with stakeholders to ensure that new and revised Standards reflect Fairtrade International’s strategic objectives, are based on producers’ and traders’ realities and meet consumers’ expectations.

You are kindly invited to participate in the limited review on the definition and the applicability of the concept of “employing a significant number of workers” in the Fairtrade Standard for Small-scale Producer Organizations. We appreciate your input on the topics suggested in this document and encourage you to give explanations, analysis and examples illustrating your comments. All information will be treated with care and kept confidential.

The deadline for completing the survey is 12.09.2022. If you have any further comments, please send them to Jebet Yegon,

Following the consultation, S&P will compile and aggregate all the comments received and share them anonymously via email and on the Fairtrade International website.
2. Background

Fairtrade envisions a world in which all small producers and workers can enjoy secure and sustainable livelihoods, fulfil their potential, and decide on their future.

During the full review of the Fairtrade Standard for Small-scale Producer Organizations (SPO) the definition of the significant number of workers was revised from 20 workers as previously defined by the certification body to “10 workers working for more than 30 hours per week that are present for one month or more during a year or equivalent”. The intention of the change was to increase the number of workers that are covered by the requirements that are applicable to SPOs and members that employ a significant number of workers.

Standards & Pricing (S&P) have received feedback that the number of variables included in the revised requirement (number of workers, hours worked per week, duration and equivalency) presents a challenge, as gathering all this information during the audits is not always easy especially because there is no mandatory requirement on record keeping. In an effort to strengthen the assurance framework for worker’s in SPOs, S&P is presenting a proposal in this consultation to introduce a mandatory requirement for record keeping.

A number of requirements in the conditions of employment and the occupational health and safety sections of the standard are only applicable if the SPO or its members employ a significant number of workers. S&P has also received feedback that requirements in this section that touch on basic and human rights should be applicable to all workers regardless to the number employed. S&P is therefore presenting 11 requirements from these 2 sections that would be applicable to all workers regardless to the number employed by the SPO or its members.

It is important to mention that if workers are hired by the whole organization, then the application of these requirements should be checked for the whole organization, and not per individual member. This would ensure that small individual farmers are not overburdened as they might not have the capacity to fulfil these requirements.
3. Objectives of the Standards Review

- To ensure that the requirements touching on fundamental human and labour rights are applicable to all workers regardless to the number employed.
- To strengthen the assurance framework for workers in the SPO Standard.
- Develop final proposals for approval by the Standards Committee (SC).
4. Project and Process Information

The project started in February 2022 with the launch of the project assignment which is available on the Fairtrade International website.

The current Fairtrade Standard for Small-scale Producer Organizations is also available on the Fairtrade International website under this link.

The progress to date and next steps are described below:

Timeline - Activity

Oct 2021 • Scoping
Oct 2021 - July 2022 • Research
Aug – Sep 2022 • Consultation published 30 days
Oct 2022 • Drafting final proposal
Nov 2022 • SC decision
Dec 2022 • Publication
Dec 2022- Dec 2023 • Implementation
5. Confidentiality

We value your input and will analyze all responses carefully to inform the final proposal. All information will be treated with care and confidentiality, and the results will only be communicated in aggregated form. However, in order to make the best use of the data, we do need to know which responses are from producers, traders, licensees, etc., so we kindly ask you to provide us with information about your organization.
6. Acronyms and definitions


HREDD - Human Rights Environmental Due Diligence
NFO - National Fairtrade Organization
RFA - Rainforest Alliance
SC - Standards Committee
SOP - Standard Operating Procedure
SPO - Small Producer Organization
S&P - Standards & Pricing
PN - Producer Networks
PPE - Personal Protective Equipment
WRTU - Workers’ Rights and Trade Unions