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More transparency for fair trade

Criteria for the HAND IN HAND program were updated by Rapunzel
- for a partnership at eye level with the countries of the south 
A global network: Rapunzel's HAND IN HAND partners and their raw materials
A global network: Rapunzel's HAND IN HAND partners and their raw materials
A global network: Rapunzel's HAND IN HAND partners and their raw materials
[17.07.18]  Fair-trade with organic food products needs binding rules - criteria that can be accepted by both sides: those who grow, process and sell the products in the countries of the global south and those who purchase these products. The organic pioneer Rapunzel Naturkost has now updated the HAND IN HAND criteria (HIH) for its proprietary fair-trade program.    

„Transparency and reliability are essential for our fair-trade relations with people in Asia, Africa and Latin America. To this end we have further refined the criteria for our fair-trade program", declares Barbara Altmann, head of the department for strategic raw material securing at Rapunzel. The fair-trade program has been existing for more than 25 years and Rapunzel has continually developed the program together with its partners. This way, Rapunzel can label more and more products with the HIH fair-trade label, can pay additional HIH boni, can donate more money to the HIH fund and can contribute to the further spread of fair-trade.

The updated HIH criteria were developed from the daily and direct interactions with currently 18 HIH partners. The HIH criteria include suggestions from independent inspectors and experts as well as the feedback from agricultural partners from Ecuador, Tanzania or Sri Lanka. In some sections of the criteria, Rapunzel included established practice and/or stated aspects more clearly. Thanks to long-time trade relations, Rapunzel keeps a close exchange at eye level with its HIH partners. This had an impact on the updated version of the HIH criteria and on the fair-trade program at the whole.

The most important changes and updated provisions of the HIH criteria (version 5-2018):

  • Fair prices: from the beginning, Rapunzel has been guaranteeing its HIH partners a minimum price above average, conventional market prices that also includes an organic and a fair-trade bonus. Reference prices, e.g. the prices of FLO Fairtrade serve as an orientation for the HIH prices. The reference values for a minimum price that should never fall below a certain level are now defined in writing.
  • Bonus: the HIH bonus is an important aspect of Rapunzel's HIH program for the trade partners. The decision of how this fair-trade bonus is used for eco-social projects continues to be made by farmers and the staff of the HIH partners. Now, the HIH partners put down and document in writing, how they come to their decisions. In addition, Rapunzel and the respective HIH partner review on a regular basis if the bonus needs adjusting.   
  • Prefinancing: Rapunzel has been supporting the HIH partners through the prefinancing of the harvest. Now the criteria specify that all smallholder cooperatives have a guaranteed right to obtain prefinancing.
  • Control and certification: should a HIH partner not comply with the minimum criteria after a grace period of several months, the HIH partner will be suspended temporarily. During the time of temporary suspension, Rapunzel continues to pay the HIH bonus into the HIH fund. At the same time, Rapunzel works with and coaches the HIH partner in order to empower him to fulfill the criteria again.
  • Partner support in case of product unavailability (e.g. massive crop failure due to extreme weather events): if a HIH partner cannot supply products as agreed, Rapunzel continues to pay the HIH bonus to the respective partner in order to support him in such a difficult situation. The prerequisite for this support is that no other adequate fair-trade product is available and that organic products are used instead.   
The new version 5-2018 of the HIH criteria became effective as of July 16, 2018. Starting January 2019, the updated criteria will form the basis for the inspections of the HIH partners. The inspections take place every two years and they are performed by independent inspectors - on both sides: abroad at the HIH partners and at Rapunzel headquarters in the Allgäu region.  

reading the HIH criteria (PDF)

more about the HAND IN HAND fair-trade program


Fair trade and organic farming are central for Rapunzel

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