As companies continue to unpack the complexity of new compliance criteria, Fair Trade USA™ is pleased to announce that its globally recognized, award-winning sustainable sourcing programs will ensure that participants can demonstrate compliance with the European Union’s Regulation on Deforestation-free products (EUDR).

Passed in late 2021, the European Union (EU) has added required rigor to ensure that products brought to market combat global deforestation. This ambitious approach to mitigating the drivers of deforestation is far-reaching as its negative effects are a growing threat to natural environments, communities who depend on agriculture, and the sustainability of supply chains. As longtime leaders in sustainable production and sourcing, Fair Trade USA is excited and ready to help coffee, cocoa, and palm oil partners meet the EUDR compliance requirements by the December 2024 deadline.

Over the upcoming year, Fair Trade USA will take two tracks to ensure that partners can demonstrate compliance – by leveraging the rigor and strength of our Agricultural Production Standard (APS) and by continuing the organization’s technological transformation.

Assurance & Standards

The APS is the backbone of Fair Trade USA’s standards, and already includes requirements preventing degradation and deforestation while upholding applicable laws in the country of production. Deforestation and degradation of natural forests are prohibited on certified farms. For groups of small farmers in areas of risk, required trainings are provided to ensure knowledge of protected areas in their region and best practices for conservation.

In 2024, the organization will further strengthen required processes to best support companies and producers towards compliance with new due diligence included in the regulation. This will include guidelines and policies on the applicable cut-off date by product category (e.g. December 2014 for coffee, December 2020 for cocoa, etc.), as well as requirements on precise origin information and assurance processes for securing the origin integrity of the product. Fair Trade USA’s Trade Standard already includes the ability to ensure product traceability, and in 2024 will explore the role that trade partners can play in the due diligence obligations of the supply chains in which they participate.

Tools & Technology

If improving livelihoods, empowerment, and protection of the environment are the heart of Fair Trade Certified, supply chain traceability and transparency are its central nervous system. Fair Trade USA, already known as one of the most credible programs in the field, has engaged a leading technology partner to support its digital evolution.
With built-in capabilities leveraging geolocation/polygon mapping, partners will have access and the ability to assess EUDR compliance risks. This is further complemented by traceability and legality checks which will allow both producer and trader partners to receive EUDR Due Diligence Statements where applicable. The organization will be aligning its infrastructure to these enhancements to onboard producers and traders through 2024-2025.

These technological advancements combined with the programmatic requirements for coffee, cocoa, and palm oil will not only allow Fair Trade USA to augment its capabilities around traceability, but also support the organization with the EUDR and enable our partners to be compliant with the regulation by the time it is required.

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