IMO Control (the Institute for Marketecology) is offering up a new fair trade certification to be blended together with its organic certification called “Fair for Life.” A one-stop Fair Trade and Organic Certification has been proposed by many in the industry in the past. But does this certification system offer up the necessary criteria to ensure the poorest small-scale farmers are protected from the whims of the market? I’m not sure and am looking forward to learning more. At first glance at their webpage – a few red flags pop up. Prices are “negotiated” between buyer and seller rather then set by a third party and it appears they will be working with plantations (although it is not clear if this is true in the case of coffee). Pluses to the certification include, annual audits, adherence to FLO standards (ok, maybe this isn’t a total plus but a start) and no licenses fees for the supply chain. Below is their press release. We’d love to hear your thoughts!
New Fair Trade Certification Available in the US by The Institute for Marketecology (IMO)
November 1, 2007
http://www.prweb.com Press Release Newswire
Responding to the growing demand for fairly traded products and those produced with socially responsible practices, IMO, one of the most prominent certifiers for organic products and quality management systems in the world, has developed and made available a new standard for Fair Trade certification, called “Fair for Life”. IMO has a strong presence throughout the world, with representatives in over 30 countries, and activities in over 90 countries. From now on a new representative in the US, makes IMO certification more attainable to US companies.
“IMO’s new standard will make Fair Trade certification available for a wide range of products for the first time, and it will open up new market opportunities for these products, as consumer interest in Fair Trade is growing rapidly and showing no sign of slowing down,” says Kerry Hughes, M.Sc., IMO’s new US Representative, also of EthnoPharm, with over a decade of experience in the field of natural products and Fair Trade. Ms. Hughes will be representing IMO at the upcoming Supplyside West conference in Las Vegas, NV, November 6-9 and will be available for meetings for discussing IMO certification. Types of products that the IMO certification may reach include foods, herbs, botanicals, spices, multi-ingredient products, handicrafts, textiles and toys.
For those who miss the conference, or want more information, Kerry Hughes and Florentine Meinshausen, Social & Fair Trade Manager at IMO, will be available to individually introduce the IMO Fair for Life certification, and the steps required to becoming certified. They will also be conducting on-going tele-conferences & webinars, beginning November, 2007. Contact Kerry(at)EthnoPharm.com or florentine.meinshausen(at)imo.ch for more information.