Our Fair Trade Products
The Fair Trade Certification Process
There is the Fair Trade Labeling Organization (FLO) coordinating in our case 30 types of Cane sugar in some 20 countries. In each country then there is a national representative organization, which can independently prioritize the product categories they want to promote. Under the FLO, the Max Havelaar “Brand” of Fair Trade is the National FLO organization in 5 countries, namely Belgium, Denmark, France, Switzerland & the Netherlands.
In order to be FLO-certified therefore, a company in the North has to work together with a FLO-certified “Cooperative” in the South. Raffinerie Tirlemontoise works for the Candico-products together with cooperatives in Malawi and Zambia.
Getting a FLO-certificate as a cooperative demands an accurate follow-up of different things. That’s why they have to demonstrate:
That they are organized as a cooperative;
That decisions are being taken democratically by the members;
That it is clear who is a member and why some aren’t;
That labor laws are being followed;
That environmental concerns are taken on board;
That they can provide EU-quality products;
How they will handle the money equitably;
That they have a detailed plan as to which community-based projects will be financed by the Fair Trade premium
The FLO-audit for companies such as Candico, is even harder, as over 100 separate points of focus are being audited, where every step in the process (from farm to fork as it were) receives due attention. This demands a good collaboration between the different departments of the company: purchase, export, customer service,…
Understanding the local needs
Fair Trade implies that money goes to the local population in order to fulfill “their” needs, not what we think their needs are. And experience teaches that small initiatives can have great positive consequences.
For example, in Malawi, the local population used to get water from the local river, crawling however with crocodiles. Numerous were therefore the accidents when water was needed, and the water quality probably also wasn’t what was desired. Installing a water-well costs 1.500 €. So, thanks to Fair Trade, village after village got their clean water wells, lowering the accident rate, lowering contaminated water induced diseases, helping them to further irrigate lands and increase productivity, and providing them with water for making bricks, towards building primary schools, or renovating the local hospital, so that the necessary drugs can be safely stored. So, small money with large positive consequences for whole communities.
The Fair Trade premium in numbers
Normal Fair Trade Cane sugar receives a 60$/T FT premium, whereas for Bio-Cane FT sugar this amounts to 80$/T. The Fair Trade-licensing rights cost 60€/T, so that all in all, together with the contributions due to the FT Control system, a surplus cost of 120€/T of FT sugar is paid out.
A consumer drinking 3 cups of coffee per day, sugared with one cube of Fair Trade cane sugar, therefore pays an annual premium of less than 1€ (88 Cent to be precise), for the benefit of having an authentic good tasting , qualitative piece of Cane sugar, in whatever form they wish. It’s nice to know that the Fair Trade premium is transferred directly from Candico to the account of the cooperative itself, entirely devoted to finance their chosen projects, as audited during the yearly certification process. So no money sticks to whomsoever in that process.