Left behind by ecolabels
The market in the global North for goods that are fairly produced and sustainable is well established; demand in middle-income countries in the global South is growing fast.
Smallholder farmers having a chunk of this expanding market could tackle the interlinking global challenges of poverty, food insecurity, ecosystem degradation and climate change.
But the process for carrying the widely established labels (eg Fair Trade logo, FSC certification) that show a product is locally sourced, fairly-traded or sustainable is too costly and complex for smallholders. They are cut out of this market while large-scale producers enjoy the lion’s share.
IIED is working with smallholders to carry their own ‘shared labels’ – lighter touch, more affordable certification, but that still offers the consumer assurances of high-quality goods that are locally, fairly and sustainably produced.
How stuck is this handbrake?