SPP - The Small Producers’ Fair Trade Label

Taking a Stand with SPP — a 100% Farmer-Driven Initiative

Café Mam was founded on the idea that good relationships make good business. From the beginning, we have put great importance on developing relationships and working closely with the farmers who grow our coffee, and the cooperatives they are a part of. A big part of this work has been learning to listen to and honor their needs and requests.

It is through this process that Café Mam was asked to join Símbolo de Pequeños Productores (SPP). SPP is a global fair trade certifier that sets itself apart from all the other labels. It is the first and only certifier composed of small producers who lead in the governance of the label and whose standards are determined by the farmers themselves. Each member has a voice and is part of a democratic coalition of producers from all over the world, leading the effort in authentic fair trade.

Through SPP, what is “fair” for producers in the Global South is decided on farms and in communities of producing regions — not in boardrooms of North America and Europe.

From the perspective of every small producer organization Café Mam works with, SPP is seen as their opportunity to provide the leadership and direction to connect small producers with consumers and as a big step towards decolonizing the industries, supply chains, and power structures of international trade. SPP holds all participating small producers to a high standard of quality and ecological production while having some of the highest standards for purchasing amongst the various fair trade labels.

Standards include minimum prices based on the real cost of production (which avoids exploitation throughout the whole supply chain), an agroecological pledge to produce high-quality organic products and to only work with companies committed to shared values of justice and sustainability. SPP also provides an incentive premium for community development, food security, and projects that encourage economic diversity for farmers. SPP is a third-party verified certification, meaning an independent organization reviews the process.

SPP criteria for small producers is that 85% of member farmers have parcels that do not exceed 37 acres of agricultural production, with no more than 15% of members allowed to have no more than 74 acres for agricultural production. This ensures its governance is made up of truly small producers and prevents interference by large multinational corporations.

We are excited to continue to support and align, in solidarity, with the hardworking farmers of the Global South toward our shared goal of a more just and fair world for all. In the words of the farmers, "The SPP is more than a label. It is a way to improve prospects for life and well-being through collective, co-responsible work among small producers, consumers, and other stakeholders in the market and society."

To learn more about SPP, visit their website at spp.coop.