Webinar Recap: In the Face of COVID-19 Challenges, Fair Trade Brings Unity, Resilience

Fair Trade USA hosted two webinars to discuss the findings from survey outreach and explore the impact of COVID-19 on Fair Trade Certified™ farmers, workers, and fishers.

Overview

Following an initial survey in April, Fair Trade USA conducted a follow-up survey to 85 farms, cooperatives, factories, and fisheries in July. Two webinars—one on food and beverage supplly chains, and the other on apparel and home goods supply chains—highlight key results from those surveys and delve deeper into the unique challenges these industries are facing.

Fair Trade USA Producer Services team, Field Staff, and Business Development representatives share their first-hand perspectives on the impact of COVID-19 in the supply chains and industries they work most closely with to provide a more complete picture of ways the effects of the pandemic are interconnected. They offer learnings from working with Fair Trade USA partners since the outbreak. The pandemic has created similar challenges for different actors across global supply chains, as well as scenarios that have demonstrated the value of fair trade certification for many. On a positive note, stronger fair trade commitments and a rise in conscious consumerism have also emerged from this crisis.

 

Food & Beverage

 

Highlights

“The pandemic has revealed some additional ways that the fair trade system can support producers. On farms that are required to have personal protective equipment and health insurance already, we’ve seen a higher degree of resilience to the pandemic. We’ve seen some certified farms that are much better equipped to communicate with their workers.”John Goad, Producer Services Manager

“What I have seen that’s been really encouraging, through all of this, is that our partners and many industry leaders have chosen to stay the course with their sustainability and social responsibility efforts. I see this as a sign that the industry is really committed to increasing sustainability and does view it as a necessary part of our future.” – Danielle Spencer, Business Development Manager, Fresh

“Nothing unites us like a common enemy, and this virus has really become a common enemy for communities throughout the globe." – Molly Renaldo, Partnerships Manager, Packaged Goods

 

Moderator

Andrew Gonzales, Implementation Resources Manager

 

Panelists

  • Danielle Spencer, Business Development Manager, Fresh
  • Jenifer Jackson, Producer Services Manager
  • John Goad, Agriculture Producer Services Manager
  • Molly Renaldo, Partnerships Manager, Packaged Goods
  • Pablo Granados Dieseldorff, Fisheries and Aquaculture Coordinator, Producer Services
  • Priyanka Amin, Manager, Impact Data and Analysis

 

Apparel & Home Goods

 

Highlights

Brenda Hernandez, LATAM Field Manager, and Sumita Sarma, India Field Manager, discuss the challenges that factory workers are facing in each of their respective regions as a result of government measures and decreased demand. For Indian factories, Sumita shares that the Fair Trade USA policy on emergency fair trade fund use "was highly appreciated, not only by factory partners but also by workers, because it helped them to meet certain needs such as school fees, house rent payments, medical supplies, and food. Most of the workers had reduced income in those particular months that the lockdown was happening in our country.”  

"Our partners have been constantly asking us about their factory partners, and asking, ‘What can we do to help?’ We have had some brands reach out and send additional Fair Trade Premium to their factories. Something else promising that we’ve seen is a slight uptick in new brand partners." – Ashley Graham, Senior Brand Partnerships Manager, Apparel and Home Goods

 

Moderator

Emily Hobbs, Corporate Philanthropy and Partnerships Manager

 

Panelists

  • Ashley Graham, Senior Brand Partnerships Manager, Apparel and Home Goods
  • Brenda Hernandez, Apparel and Home Goods Field Manager, LATAM
  • Priyanka Amin, Manager, Impact Data and Analysis
  • Sumita Sarma, Apparel and Home Goods Field Manager, India