Assuring Consumer Confidence in Ethical Trade

ISO’s Consumer Policy Committee established the “Ethical Trade Fact-finding Process” (ETFP) in May 2007, with the aim of understanding the nature and extent of inaccurate or false ‘ethical’ claims, as a step towards developing solutions to any problems identified in order to build consumer confidence.

OneWorldStandards worked with The Pacific Institute to review and analyse 180 articles, studies and reports relating to a broad range of ‘environmental’ and ‘social’ claims. The outcome was a report based on a comprehensive review of the facts, in so far as they were known, rather than on unsupported assertions, anecdotes and assumptions.

A major outcome of the report was the broad recognition of the complexity of the sector, the potential validity of a range of approaches, and the need to avoid simplistic assertions that some approaches were necessarily ‘better’ or ‘worse’ than others.

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    “Matthew has a deep and broad-based understanding of all aspects of third-party certification, including the technical requirements and the complexities and challenges of developing standards and certification systems for multi-stakeholder collaborations. His breadth of knowledge is difficult to find. We highly valued not only his knowledge and experience, but his commitment to our project, his openness to explore and analyze alternative approaches, and his creative problem solving.” – Maia Becker, Cornerstone Standards Council (CSC)