Winfried Fuchshofen PhD
Here we chat to Winfried Fuchshofen PhD, the Director of the Fair Trade Sustainability Alliance (FairTSA).
FairTSA certify the Lucy Bee products as Fair Trade, collecting our Fair Trade premiums and they monitor and audit this to ensure funds are paid by us and spent accordingly and accounted for. This guarantees transparency to all, plus the way in which FairTSA works offers a respect for the local producer communities and families.
Q: How is FairTSA different to the Fair Trade logo often seen on products?
FairTSA logo as seen on Lucy Bee Fair Trade certified products
Winfried: There are several things that differentiate our (FairTSA) approach to Fair Trade from other company’s approaches.
What that typically means is that the organic inspection and Fair Trade inspection are carried out at the same time by the same person. That means we have zero carbon inspection, there is no additional travel and the inspector knows the culture and, in most cases, they know the operation already. They know the people so they can do a more thorough job than somebody who is flown in and doesn’t know what’s going on locally.
With FairTSA, you are working with one team and you have both certifications done at the same time but in a typical Fair Trade scheme they are totally parallel, meaning somebody else comes in and they have a totally different set up and different documentation.
At FairTSA, we build our system on an existing organic certification. There is something called an internal control system which is necessary when you have lots of small farmers and the inspector cannot go to each individual farm. This way the inspector controls the internal system which controls the farms. We have created a manual based on this in order to make life for the producers as easy as possible without cutting corners in terms of content and requirements but cutting out a lot of administration costs.
We have developed a system that really makes project-based accounting a reality. This has been hard and often producers do not realise that the work they are doing means something to somebody else. It is hard to understand the impact this has on the consumer, for example, when you are in the Amazon and you’re creating something that really helps the small farmers to make a different living than planting coca (as is the case with Lucy Bee Starseed Sacha Inchi Omega Oil). It’s a huge distance in a philosophical and mental way.
A Peruvian farmer with sacha inchi growing in the background. Fair Trade contributions help to incentivise farmers to replace coca plants (used for cocaine), with sacha inchi, as well as creating teaching programmes for conservation and sustainability
To communicate this is one of our biggest challenges, to actually say “this matters”. This is where we are putting most of our efforts in getting this communication going because we realise that it’s not easy.
Fair Trade contributions being used for education in India, as well as water conservation schemes and solar powered energy
We have producers where we lose money, however we find that their programmes might be fantastic so we want to support it. Then we make an internal decision and say, ‘go ahead, we will support you and we’ll sit down and re-evaluate what we’ll do and how we’ll move forward’.
Q: Have you seen a rise in consumers being more aware of Fair Trade and producers wanting to be Fair Trade?
Winfried: Yes, generally speaking, I would say there is a very clear trend of consumers becoming more aware of Fair Trade.
Migration has become a big problem. A country can only accommodate so many people and so we have to make conditions in the country of origin, liveable for these people. For us, Fair Trade makes a big contribution in this regard.
Fair Trade helps to make living conditions better for the farmers and workers involved
As a consumer, I can really make an impact, and I’m not just buying a product to make sure the worker gets their minimum wage. I’m also contributing to the producer community that makes their life worthwhile.
I think this should be a consideration for ALL products. If you want to have equitable relations, then all people should have good living conditions and we see ourselves as a part of that movement.
Q: Marketing can be quite misleading on products. We have noticed some products say ‘fairly traded or ethically sourced’ but with no Fair Trade logo. What are your thoughts on this?
Winfried: I find this kind of marketing confusing at best and misleading at worst. If there is no Fair Trade certified logo then the chances are that the product is NOT Fair Trade.
Lucy Bee Cacao Powder is from the Dominican Republic. Fair Trade premiums help support the mainly female workers who are single mothers, having been abandoned by their husbands. Funds are also used here to teach English to their children to help increase their future prospects
Always ask the company:
If we turn to Lucy Bee for these questions:
Q: Do you ‘practise what you preach’?
Winfried: I do. FairTSA is a relatively small organisation and we place a huge emphasis on accountability and fairness. For example, any essential business travel is always made as economically as possible, including accommodation for overnight stays.
By using products certified by us, we will all continue our path to supporting a fairer world for all, creating new possibilities and better living conditions for rural communities around the globe.
About Lucy Bee Limited
Lucy Bee is concerned with Fair Trade, ethical and sustainable living, recycling and eating close to nature with additive free products for health.
Members of the Lucy Bee team are not medically trained and can only offer their best advice. Any information provided by us is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.
Please note you should always refer your health queries to a qualified medical practitioner.
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