Improving working and living conditions through Fairtrade
In order to improve the living and working conditions of workers in the global South, Fairtrade expanded its standard for flowers and plants in 2015 to include the category of young plants. Since then, in addition to cut flowers and ready-cultivated plants, young plants or unrooted cuttings can also be Fairtrade-certified.
Certification has many advantages for the workers. These include, for example, fixed employment contracts, maternity protection, protective clothing and training in the safe handling of chemicals. They also benefit from a wage that is at least equal to the lower wage limit prescribed by the Fairtrade standard. In addition, certified farms receive a Fairtrade premium, which farmers and workers can use freely. They can decide together in which projects the premium should be invested.
“We hope to be able to fulfil a number of wishes of the workers with the additional premium income. One of them is the establishment of a day care centre. Many workers are forced to give up work after giving birth because there is no one to take care of their child,” says Roman Girma, crop coordinator at Red Fox, a plant farm participating in the pilot project. “We also want to expand medical care so that the families of the workers can be cared for in the future. So far, only the employees themselves have health insurance through the company-run clinic.”
In addition to the regular Fairtrade premium, toom also pays an extra premium of one cent per Fairtrade plant purchased to the workers at the cuttings farms via the young plant company. This is roughly equivalent to doubling the Fairtrade premium payment. In order to label those plants that are traded through the pilot project, Fairtrade is introducing a new, separate pilot label. The first poinsettias labelled in this way will be available at toom Baumarkt from November 2022.
*The REWE residue guide tightens the legal requirements for the use of plant protection products on ornamental plants.