Number of companies partnering with sustainable labels continues to grow

As a Dutch consultant for a Latin American foreign trade programme, it is my job to analyze the impact of policies and trends within the European Union on Latin American exports, especially the exports of sustainably produced goods and/or foods. As I have a great desire to spread consciousness about the positive developments going on in sustainable business between Europe and Latin America, I have created this blog.

Sustainable trade can nowadays be recognized by trade in products with labels that guarantee fair incomes, good working conditions and/or environmental friendly agricultural practices. Examples are the Fair Trade label, the UTZ Certified label, the organic label, the Rainforest Alliance label, the IFC label and so on. As a Dutch citizen I am very proud to say that the first Fair Trade label was created in 1986 in the Netherlands by the Max Havelaar foundation. Its first use was for coffee. Later on other products followed such as cacao and bananas.  Also the UTZ certified label was a Dutch invention. Many European citizens desire to be solidary with the small farmers producing their foods.

Although big companies in the eighties were hardly interested in using those type of labels, now more and more companies want to be associated with these labels to have a responsible, green image. For example an international company like Dole now also produces organic and Fair Trade bananas; the UTZ certified label, which is a very successful label for tea, coffee and cacao, managed to get big brands such as HEMA, Douwe Egberts and IKEA involved.

Ofcourse being genuinely sustainable, goes further then just having a certification, but to me it is a promising start which has really contributed to better working conditions, better incomes and more environmental friendly agricultural practices.

I am very excited about these developments and absolutely believe in its continuing success. As Leonardo di Caprio said during his Climate Change speech for the United Nations: “For the economy will die if our eco-system collapses”. Companies have no alternative than to go sustainable!