The meeting provided a rich debate with many constructive ideas. There was a consensus that to increase the social and environmental responsibility of the fresh produce supply chain all the actors in the chain have their own contributions to make.
In partnerships, fair dealing, ethical conduct and transparency are a moral obligation for all parties. Producers were called to organize themselves and take more initiatives to engage in standard setting. Certification bodies were requested to provide more general training and facilitate communication between producers and buyers/consumers. Traders and retailers were asked to be more transparent in their price setting mechanisms, to understand that their new requirements increase production costs and to engage in dialogue with other actors in the chain.
The participants agreed that social and environmental certification programmes provide learning opportunities and should aim at continuous development. In addition, costs as well as the value added from social and environmental improvements should be distributed in a fair way among the parties.
FAO was asked to continue work on social and environmental standards and socially and environmentally responsible trade and to continue providing information to stakeholders. This report is part of our information efforts and we are planning other "information products". We look forward to continued co-operation with the participants of the meeting. Participants also requested FAO to organize a follow up meeting after progress on the current recommendations has been made.
It was regretted that several stakeholders like unions, retailers and consumer organizations were not present and it was hoped that they would come to a next meeting. The ability for FAO to organize a follow up meeting will depend on human and financial resources.
It is hoped the meeting contributed to furthering the dialogue among stakeholders in the fresh produce supply chain on socially and environmentally responsible trade and the recommendations made will be useful to them.