Fairtrade decertifies ‘ghost’ Peruvian cocoa cooperative

By Oliver Nieburg

- Last updated on GMT

FLOCERT decertifies Peruvian cocoa co-op COPASA. ©GettyImages/AlxeyPnferov
FLOCERT decertifies Peruvian cocoa co-op COPASA. ©GettyImages/AlxeyPnferov

Related tags Fair trade

Fairtrade auditing body FLOCERT has decertified Peruvian cocoa cooperative COPASA, which was accused of being a ghost organization of major trader Ecom.

FLOCERT suspended the 1,000 member cooperative last year following an audit on August 3, 2017.

FLOCERT today confirmed the group has been decertified.

Major core criteria violated

Eva Wiegand, senior marketing & communications officer at FLOCERT, told ConfectioneryNews: “Decertification is a sanction taken by FLOCERT when major core criteria of Fairtrade have been violated. In case of disagreement with a certification decision taken by FLOCERT, FLOCERT’s Standard Operating Procedure on Appeals​ applies.

“A decertified organization is not allowed to trade Fairtrade products any longer with immediate effect.”

FLOCERT said it was unable to comment on reasons for decertification.

‘Ghost' co-op allegations

Four cocoa farming groups – including La Asociación Peruana de Productores de Cacao (APPCACAO) – last year issued a joint letter​​​ alleging COPASA was a ghost organization of Cafetalera Amazónica SAC (CAMSA), a subsidiary of Ecom.

Under Fairtrade rules, only cooperatives democratically overseen by farmer members via free and fair elections with equal voting rights for members can be certified Fairtrade.

Ecom previously said it financially supported COPASA to achieve certification in June 2016, but strongly denied any inappropriate ties.

An Ecom spokesperson said today: “The farmer's cooperative COPASA is not a subsidiary of CAMSA and we are not their representatives or agents and therefore we cannot speak on their or the farmers' behalf,”

COPASA to request re-entry

Jhony Gayoso, manager of COPASA, told us his cooperative remains firm in spite of FLOCERT’s verdict.

“We regret the decision, but we are committed to move forward and we are in a stage of implementation of corrective measures and request a new re-entry audit to the fair trade market,” ​he said [Spanish translation].

He said the COPASA was founded based on the common welfare of its members and their families and said the group was committed to sustainable development.

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