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Update to the Labor Risk Exposure metric
Update to the Labor Risk Exposure metric

An update to the impact of Fair Trade certifications on the Labor Risk Exposure metric.

Jemima Snow avatar
Written by Jemima Snow
Updated over a week ago

Release Date: Tuesday, June 28th.

What has been updated?

Additional research and insight called for a review of the Labor Risk Exposure metric and specifically how Fair Trade certifications are accounted for. The impact score for Labor Risk Exposure was improved to better reflect the positive impact that Fair Trade certifications have on labor risk. The updated Labor Risk Exposure score is a more accurate representation of your products’ impact.

What is Labor Risk Exposure?

Certain ingredients from developing countries have a high risk of poor labor practices for workers. In order to determine the labor risk of a given ingredient, HowGood considers the working conditions and the number of workers involved or affected.

How do Fair Trade certifications affect the Labor Risk Exposure impact score for a product?

The 3 most common certifications are Fair Trade USA, Fair Trade International, and Fair for Life. These standards indicate that the working conditions on the farms where an ingredient is grown are better than average. Consequently, it will relatively improve an ingredient's impact score for Labor Risk Exposure. However, Fair Trade certifications do not guarantee that a product will receive a high score for Labor Risk Exposure. The ultimate score depends on the overall level of risk for the given ingredient.

Why have we updated how Fair Trade certifications affect the Labor Risk Exposure metric?

While Fair Trade certifications indicate that working conditions on the farms are relatively better than average, they cannot influence the number of workers affected. Prior to the update, the HowGood metric was applying the positive impact of Fair Trade certifications across both of these factors. Scoring has now been updated in order to reflect the reality of labor risk, as a product of both working conditions and the number of workers affected.

How have impact scores been affected?

The update to scoring has actually resulted in a positive change for most ingredients, which means your products’ impact scores for Labor Risk Exposure may have increased.

However, some ingredients may have received a slight downward adjustment. This means that the impact of the Fair Trade certification had previously been overestimated. These ingredients still exhibit relatively positive impact scores due to the Fair Trade certification, but the total positive impact is slightly lower.

Cacao and rooibos are 2 examples of ingredients that have experienced an upward score adjustment, while banana and sugar have seen slightly downward adjustments.

What is HowGood’s approach to research and metric updates?

HowGood is dedicated to not only employing the most widely-accepted methodologies in the industry but also ensuring that the latest scientific research is incorporated. HowGood draws on a variety of accredited data sources, keeps track of any updates to scientific research, and periodically reevaluates how sustainability metrics and impact are measured. Metrics and impact assessments are updated accordingly, on an ongoing basis, making HowGood’s platform the leading-edge tool for product sustainability. In turn, HowGood is able to provide impact assessments that are always accurate, comprehensive, and the most up-to-date.

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