Knowledge for better food systems

Ethical trading standards not fit for purpose

This report from the US nonprofit Institute for Multi-Stakeholder Initiative Integrity looks at 40 multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs) - voluntary standards set by civil society organisations and industry, such as Fairtrade International, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil and the Marine Stewardship Council - and concludes that MSIs are not effective at holding corporations accountable for abuses or protecting human rights.

This failing is for two main reasons. First, MSIs are not centred around the people they purport to protect and often use top-down approaches. Second, MSIs do not address power imbalances or restrict corporate power.

Read the full report, Not Fit-for-Purpose The Grand Experiment of Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives in Corporate Accountability, Human Rights and Global Governance, here. See also the Foodsource resource What about the relationship between food, culture, ethics and social norms?

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North America

North America is the northern subcontinent of the Americas covering about 16.5% of the Earth's land area. This large continent has a range of climates spanning Greenland’s permanent ice sheet and the dry deserts of Arizona. Both Canada and the USA are major food producers and some of the largest food exporters in the world. Industrial farms are the norm in North America, with high yields relative to other regions and only 2% of the population involved in agriculture.

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