Some of the biggest challenges the world faces require companies to work together, e.g. the provision of living wages. This cooperation sometimes requires discussion of prices, e.g. farm-gate pricing. Companies fear that such dialogue among competitors infringes competition law, which has caused antitrust to become a key roadblock to the eradication of poverty and the achievement of other sustainability goals. The Fair Trade movement has been concerned about this impact of competition law on sustainability for years and therefore welcomes the vibrant debate among practitioners and academics on how to reconcile sustainability cooperation and competition law. Companies need legal certainty, and guidelines providing a framework for antitrust compliant sustainability agreements would fill that gap. Policymakers must not only proclaim the importance of sustainability but also create an environment in which private initiatives with good intentions can contribute to the eradication of poverty and other sustainability goals.
By Dario Soto Abril1
“Most people in the industry recognise that we need collaboration to achieve meaningful progress on key sustainability goals. There has been tremendous effort by many players to work together to achieve the sort of progress we need […]. However, the lack of clarity around competition law continues to prevent any meaningful progress on the issue of low farm-gate prices, which is a major issue in our sector [!-->…