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HAND IN HAND: the criteria

Updated criteria for Rapunzel’s HAND IN HAND program – for a partnership at eye level with the countries from the South
In order to guarantee that fair-trade with organic food products is really fair, binding rules are needed that both sides can agree with: those who cultivate, process and sell the food products in the countries of the global south and those who purchase these products. We have specified such rules for Rapunzel’s proprietary fair-trade program in the HAND IN HAND criteria catalogue. This criteria catalogue gets regularly updated. The latest update became effective in July 2018.

„Transparency and reliability are essential for fair-trade relations with people in Asia, Africa and Latin America. According to this principle we have continually refined the criteria for our fair-trade program “, explains Barbara Altmann, head of the department for strategic resource security.

The criteria for the HAND IN HAND (HIH) program that were updated in July 2018 developed through Rapunzel’s daily, direct contact with currently 18 HIH partners. The updated criteria include the feedback from independent inspectors and experts as well as the feedback from our trade partners in Ecuador, Tanzania or Sri Lanka. Finally, Rapunzel also included daily common practice and/or articulated these aspects with greater clarity. Thanks to the long-standing partnership with HIH suppliers, Rapunzel has always been at eye level and in close exchange with the HIH suppliers. This also had an impact on the updated version of the HIH criteria and the entire HAND IN HAND program.

Fair, reliable and effective for all participants

Hermelinda Choque Huanca is a coffee picker at the Norandino Cooperative in Peru, Rapunzel HAND IN HAND partner since 2009
Hermelinda Choque Huanca is a coffee picker at the Norandino Cooperative in Peru, Rapunzel HAND IN HAND partner since 2009
Hermelinda Choque Huanca is a coffee picker at the Norandino Cooperative in Peru, Rapunzel HAND IN HAND partner since 2009

Most important changes and updated rules of the HIH criteria (version 5-2018):

  • Fair prices: Rapunzel has always been paying their HIH partners buying prices that equal at least the average, conventional market prices. In addition to this buying price, Rapunzel pays an organic and fair-trade bonus. 

    Independent of market events, Rapunzel assures its suppliers a minimum price. Reference prices, e.g. FLO Fairtrade prices serve as an orientation. The reference values for a minimum price that Rapunzel will never fall short of are defined in writing in the HIH criteria 5-2018.
  • Bonus: The HIH bonus is an important aspect for the partners of Rapunzel’s HIH program. Local farmers and employees of the HIH partners continue to decide how this fair-trade bonus should be used. Now, the farmers and employees must document their decisions in writing and define how the bonus should be used. In addition, Rapunzel and the HIH partners periodically review if the bonus should be adjusted.
  • Prefinancing: Rapunzel has always been supporting the HIH partners through prefinancing of their harvest. Now, we specified in the criteria that all peasant cooperatives have a guaranteed right to obtain prefinancing.
  • Control and certification: If a HIH partner fails to comply with the minimum criteria even after a grace period of several months, the partner will be temporarily suspended. During the suspension, the HIH bonus is redirected to the HIH fund. At the same time, Rapunzel works with the respective HIH partner so that the HIH partner will be enabled to comply again with the criteria.
  • Support and counselling: Rapunzel is in permanent contact with all HIH partners and performs regular on-site visits. Additionally, Rapunzel organizes an annual workshop for all partners at Rapunzel headquarters in Legau - a good opportunity for exchange, networking and training.

The new version 5-2018 of the HIH criteria became effective as of July 16, 2018. Starting January 2019, the updated criteria list will form the basis for the HIH partner inspections. The inspections are carried out in a regular, two-year cycle by an independent agency – on both sides: at the HIH partner abroad as well as at Rapunzel Naturkost headquarters in Legau in the Allgäu region.

The HAND IN HAND criteria are based on the ILO (International Labour Organization) core labor standards, the definitions and requirements of the international SA 8000 Standard (Social Accountability) and the IFOAM (International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements) guidelines for social justice. The criteria apply to cooperatives, plantations, exporters and processors who provide HAND IN HAND products.

The certification of Rapunzel and the HAND in HAND suppliers according to the HAND IN HAND criteria is performed by an external certification agency.

Rapunzel pays the external costs for the HAND IN HAND inspection and certification of the partners.

The HAND IN HAND program is a proprietary fair-trade program. Rapunzel is the founder of the HAND IN HAND program and acts as direct importer of HAND IN HAND raw materials as well as distributor of HAND IN HAND products. This private program complements the fair-trade programs of other organizations and different organic certification agencies.
Sofía Huarina de Alavi, farmer from the cocoa cooperative El Ceibo in Bolivia – HAND IN HAND partner since 25 years
Sofía Huarina de Alavi, farmer from the cocoa cooperative El Ceibo in Bolivia – HAND IN HAND partner since 25 years
Sofía Huarina de Alavi, farmer from the cocoa cooperative El Ceibo in Bolivia – HAND IN HAND partner since 25 years

Who controls HAND IN HAND? 

Up to now, the fair trade sector has no comparable international standards that are subject to public legislations as is the case in the organic sector, e.g. with respect to the EU organic regulation. Social standards or fair trade programs are subject to private law – since they were initiated by individual organizations / initiatives. Precisely for this reason, Rapunzel Naturkost takes its responsibility very serious. 

Independent organic inspection

Every HAND IN HAND producer – worldwide - must be certified by an independent organic inspection institute. The control takes place once or twice a year, even without advance notification. The product quality is continuously examined through the analysis of samples both in our own laboratory as well as in independent, external laboratories.

Independent HAND IN HAND inspection

The HAND IN HAND criteria are examined every two years by independent inspectors. Rapunzel coordinates the inspection. The evaluation of the inspection results and the certification - in case of compliance with the HAND IN HAND criteria - are performed by an external, independent certification agency. The additional expenses for the inspection of the HAND IN HAND criteria and for the certification process are paid by Rapunzel.

Personal inspection

As important as the independent controls is the personal contact with our suppliers. Rapunzel organizes regular, mutual visits with the suppliers. The close personal contact makes it possible to identify problems and opportunities in an early stage and to create a strong base for long-term collaboration. 

Rapunzel HAND IN HAND – you can count on it

Every two years, the independent Institute for Market Ecology (IMO) inspects and certifies the correct handling of the HAND IN HAND work and Rapunzel's own compliance with the HAND IN HAND criteria. The audit includes Rapunzel’s compliance with the HAND IN HAND criteria, the pricing policy, the logistic handling, as well as consultation and documentation. Upon request, we will send you the latest certification.  



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