Behind the label: can we trust certification to give us fairer products?

In 1988, the first Fairtrade label, Max Havelaar, was applied to packs of Mexican coffee sold in Dutch supermarkets. At the time, using a product label to say something about standards in a supply chain was revolutionary, but today it is routine. The Ecolabel Index currently lists 463 certifications in 199 countries. On the face of it, certifications on everything from fish to timber can be seen as progress, promising higher standards and transparency in…

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