DEFEND FAIR TRADE: ASK IMO FAIR FOR LIFE TO PROTECT WORKERS
Consumers rely on certification labels to ensure the products they buy are free of human and labor rights violations. Unfortunately, this isn’t always true. Take action and demand that IMO’s Fair for Life certification label adopt reforms to protect workers. CLICK HERE TO TAKE ACTION
This week the International Labor Rights Forum released a report detailing how the Swiss-based Institute for Marketecology’s (IMO) Fair for Life fair trade label neglected to intervene to uphold its commitment to fair trade standards.
The report, titled Aiding and Abetting, exposes how IMO branded Theo Chocolate, a Seattle-based chocolate company, as fair trade despite being informed by Theo workers that the company had hired an anti-union consultant and was violating U.S. and international labor standards during a union organizing campaign.
When Theo workers decided to join the Teamsters, management responded with hostility, intimidation and retaliation including threatening to close the company if workers formed a union, harassing union supporters, driving several workers to leave the company, and firing at least one union supporter. Theo workers were able to convince IMO to conduct an audit post-certification, but IMO upheld Theo’s fair trade certification and told the workers that the results of the audit were confidential. IMO soon after issued new labor standards, which actually recommend employers hire consultants to talk to workers about the pros and cons of organizing – effectively justifying Theo’s actions.
These workers put their trust in fair trade standards but when Theo crushed them, IMO certified it. Join us in calling on IMO and Theo to improve stakeholder involvement and transparency as the next steps in ensuring truly fair supply chains.