Fair treatment

As consumers become more globally connected and better-informed, they desire assurance that the people and animals involved in every step of the supply chain are treated fairly. Brands are increasingly meeting this desire by telling stories that bring consumers closer to the people and process behind a product.

How is this sub-trend evolving?

How it was

Mainstreaming of fair treatment practices, with Fairtrade increasingly becoming the default choice

McDonald’s (one of the UK’s biggest coffee sellers) using Rainforest Alliance certified beans.

How it is

Growing desire for assurance that fair practices cover the whole supply chain

Danish clothing retailer NÜ now sells fair trade jeans, made in small, local and ethical factories out of 100% organically-grown cotton.

How it will be

Multiple options in any category allow consumers to make ‘fair treatment’ a key filter for choice.

La Pradelle is a French online seller of produce that requires all its suppliers to sign up to their charter of fair treatment which publically shares its commitment to people and animals alike

In-market examples from around the world

What: B Corp is to business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee or USDA Organic certification is to milk. Today, there is a growing community of more than 1,600 Certified B Corps from 42 countries and over 120 industries working together toward 1 unifying goal: to redefine success in business.
Why: B Corps are for-profit companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.
What: A platform from the Brazilian food brand that shares with consumers candid information about the chickens they consume – from how they are treated, to busting myths, and offering recipes. along with Brazil’s population.
Why: Understanding consumers do not want to be deceived, the brand meets the needs of a worried public by allowing them to see the truth about the chickens (and the way they’re raised) and make their own decisions about consumption. This is an entirely new concept of agricultural transparency in Brazil – a window into increasingly industrial farming methods that are growing in line with Brazil’s booming population. Sadia Seara’s hope is that the Brazilian market can grow and evolve to be more sustainable than developed Western markets have grown to be.
What: In response to Trump’s indefinite suspension of Syrian refugees and temporary travel bans to six other Muslim-majority nations Starbucks’ CEO announced that they would hire 10,000 refugees over the next five years in stores and factories worldwide
Why: Extending their fair treatment beyond current employees or suppliers, the chain is taking a stance in the wider world and helping propound the fair treatment of all people irrespective of (in this case) religion or personal circumstance.
What: KuapaKokoo is a Ghanean cocoa farmers co-op that works to improve social, economic, and political wellbeing of its members. Critically, the members are the owners of the organization including its chocolate brand (Divine).
Why: Fair treatment is not just of its people, but KuapaKokoo also fight for local causes to ensure fair treatment across and beyond the production chain – from abolition of modern child slavery, to campaigning for afforestation.
What: US company 2 degrees snack bars are healthy, vegan and gluten free. For every bar you buy, 2 degrees feeds one hungry child from the community that produces the snack ingredients, branding themselves as ‘consciously crafted’.
Why: Consumers who want to live and eat healthily are becoming more aware of the high mark up on health foods, which often does not reach the farmers themselves. Children from those farming communities benefit from every purchase of a 2 degrees bar.
What: In early 2015, the Fairtrade Foundation has signed a deal with Waitrose under which it will endorse and advise on the supermarket’s own ethical food sourcing programme.
Why: This new partnership is the first of its kind between a retail business and the Fairtrade Foundation. Fairtrade will evaluate Waitrose’s existing projects and help design new ones and its involvement will be flagged beside relevant items in stores.
What: Fashion retailer JDWilliams, owner of over 30 clothing brands adheres to the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), an alliance of retailers, suppliers, trade unions and voluntary organisations that set strict standards for working conditions in factories.
Why: The company has been praised by NGOs for taking a co-ordinating role and driving the Bangladesh Accord forward, giving smaller brands the opportunity to step up and take the lead in supply chain ethics.
What: Called a “badge of honour for farmers” and the “gold standard,” AWA (Animal Welfare Approved) has come to be the most highly regarded food label when it comes to animal friendly, pasture-based farming in North America.
Why: The programme was founded as a market-based solution to the growing consumer demand for meat, eggs and dairy products from animals treated with high welfare and managed with the environment in mind.