Code of Conduct for Organic Trade
The code of conduct for organic trade is a learning tool for
integrating social justice issues into organic trading practices.
development process has been supported by IFOAM and the IFOAM Trade
Forum since IFOAM commissioned an options paper, presented in Basel
(2000). This was followed by workshops in Egypt (2000), Bolivia (2001)
and China (2001). The main outcomes of the workshops were as follows:
agreement that a worldwide code was preferable to regional initiatives
given that organic trade was global but that there needed to be
flexibility in the implementation of the code, the idea that the code
should focus on trade and not traders and the idea that one person's
right in the organic supply chain is another's responsibility. The
results of these workshops were discussed further during the Biofach in
Nuremberg (2002) and at the IFOAM World Congress in Canada (2002) where
clear terms of reference were established. It was agreed that the code
should be used as a learning process to encourage IFOAM trade members
to address social justice issues in their day-to-day practices. It
needed to be relatively simple, allowing each company to interpret and
analyze the code in its own way.
The result of this process is the Code of Conduct for Organic Trade.
The most important document is the Code itself. This is a list of eight
principles defining core values shared by the organic trading community
including transparency and accountability in negotiations, equitable
distribution of returns skills development and capacity building. To
complement the code a Guidance Document provides suggestions and
examples about how to implement the code in everyday trading
activities. The final document is the Self-Assessment Questionnaire
that will provide baseline information about an organization's current
status of activity with respect to the principles in the code. There is
a short two-page version of this questionnaire. You can download these
To sign up for the Code of Conduct for Organic Trade trial process,
please read the code, complete the questionnaire (the short version
will be also enough) and simply return it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please send this code to your supply chain partners as well. You will receive another self-assessment questionnaire, similar
to the first that will be used to help monitor achievements over this
Following the trial process the IFOAM World Board will decide in
consultation with its members and the IFOAM Organic Trade Forum whether
the Code will become an official IFOAM document as well as a proper
procedure for an approval process.
For more information, or if you have any questions or comments please
contact Thomas Cierpka
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