In recent years, there has been much discussion of development in developing countries (DCs) and least developing countries (LDCs), and that such development needs to be sustainable. Technology is important to the farming, labelling, packaging, and distribution of FT projects, from access to the land and the tools needed for harvesting coffee, tea, wine, and cut flowers to access to reliable seed technology and fertilizer to help grow crops, and access to adequate systems of storage whether freeze-dried, irradiated, or refrigerated to hold those crops once harvested. Central too are the technologies used to distribute produce to buyers and to finding and securing contracts with them in the first place, whether by fax, telephone, or the Internet. This chapter reviews field research carried out in South Africa, Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile during our study trips financed by the AHRC in 2008 and 2009 with a specific focus on the use of technology used in the production of FT goods. The research involved a series of interviews developed in the framework of our AHRC project with producers, some of whom were classed as FT producers, either with or without landholdings of their own, and others who classed themselves as not being involved in FT at all. The questionnaire is available in Appendix 10.4. The research reveals that very few of the FT producers interviewed are involved in the direct labelling and packaging of their own produce. And yet Fairtrade producers, many of whom operate small holdings or function as part of larger FT cooperatives, are required to conform to strictly audited labelling and certification requirements imposed by FLO-CERT based on standards developed by FLO e.V. (both part of FLO as discussed in previous chapters). Such labelling requirements are private and voluntary and to some extent influenced by the Private Voluntary Standards (PVS) of the larger networks of supermarket retailers in the West as external stakeholders in FLO e.V.’s standards process. PVS refers to the conditional requirements of the purchase of goods established by private buyers. These requirements are often voluntary in that the law does not mandate them. However, in practice, the supplier will often need to meet such requirements in order to sell particular products in specific markets to the major buyers. The concern therefore is whether DC and LDC Fairtrade producer famers, faced with more extensive PVS, perhaps sometimes in excess of national importing state standards for produce, face potential discrimination or high entry level

costs which could foreclose markets to them. For example, an OECD study based on interviews with leading food retailers, standards owners and selected manufacturers and surveys of farmer associations suggests that over 85 per cent of retailers surveyed report that their required standard is higher than that of the government and about half report that they were significantly higher (OECD, 2006). A possible solution to potential discrimination would be to bring PVS under the jurisprudence of the World Trade Organization (WTO), specifically the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) and the Application of Sanitary and PhytoSanitary Measures (SPS) agreements, allowing DCs and LDCs a means of leveraging a legal base upon which to lobby external stakeholders and the standardization organizations to take greater account of their interests (if not so already), although such an initiative for WTO involvement is likely to be resisted by the large private buyers (discussed further below). This chapter looks at the labelling requirements under the WTO’s covered agreements, specifically the SPS and TBT agreements, and looks at the case of PVS, and eco labelling as an example of another private voluntary social labelling standard that could help inform as to how FT labelling might be similarly viewed under the WTO. In concluding, the chapter argues that a possible solution would be to increase trust in FT farming, product certification, labelling, and packaging through the use of new technologies, such as fair tracing, a technology used to track the manufacture and distribution of FT products from farmer to final consumer. The chapter argues that new digital tagging technology currently being developed as part of fair tracing methods, which tracks a product from source to final destination in the buyer’s market, could be used to help strengthen trust in the FT brand by providing ethical consumers with a wider base of information on the farming, production processes, and the distribution of FT produce, and that the use of fair tracing might also allow for multiple PVS used by different retailers to be integrated onto one technological platform. I start by providing a brief introduction to FT labelling. I then examine the results of field research on the use of technology in interviews with FT producers. This is followed by a discussion of the WTO jurisprudence on PVS. The subsequent section looks at the example of eco labels as an example of the potential for WTO rules that could be applied to labelling in the FT sector. The final section introduces fair tracing and sets out a conclusion.