Imani’s strategic intent is to work with marginalised producers and workers in poor countries in order to help them move from a position of vulnerability to security and economic self-sufficiency. Imani engages at all stages and levels of the process – from informing policy development in Europe to working with Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International (FLO) registered producers in East and Southern Africa and Asia.

Imani Chairman, Richard Hess, was instrumental in the early years of establishing Fairtrade in the UK, and Murdoch Gatward, Director of Imani UK, has been involved for much of the rapid growth phase of the movement during the last 20 years. The UK office of Imani has been working with ethical and fair trade companies and initiatives, such as the Fairtrade Foundation and Fairtrade Africa, since 2002.

Imani bridges the gap between supplier and buyer within the value chain and has experience in getting products to markets on time for buyers. With our base, background and offices in Africa, Imani brings a unique perspective to ethical and fair trade and is fundamentally committed to promoting equitable regional and international trade.

Imani’s services in the Fair Trade arena include:

  • In-depth knowledge of Fair Trade and Product Supply Chains
  • Assisting organisations new to Fairtrade to comply with standards and become registered with FLO
  • Assisting with new product development and sourcing suitable suppliers to fulfil this need
  • Maintaining long term relationships on behalf of companies with suppliers
  • Ensuring strong supply chains often in the face of extremely difficult trading conditions
  • Preparing policy documents and proposals to support the development of Fair Trade as a global initiative
  • Developing product and supplier strategies that reflect their values and objectives
  • Lobbying FLO on the producers behalf regarding issues of standards and compliance
  • Quality management through product development, improvement and innovation
  • Capacity building through training in Fair Trade and through organisational development and improving performance
  • Assisting small-scale farmers in accessing markets
  • Improving quality and farmer revenues through identifying and establishing ‘win-win’ projects
  • Engineering sustainability into the supply chain
  • Measuring the impact of Fair Trade projects and organisations

Project Highlights:

Comic Relief – Final Evaluation of Special Initiative Grant from Comic Relief: Fairtrade for Development in Africa (2014) Fair-trade for Development in Africa (FTDA) was the largest grant awarded by Comic Relief under its Trade Programme and was the largest grant received by Fairtrade – £5 million over 5 years. The aim of the FTDA was to contribute to the reduction of poverty in Africa by scaling up the Fairtrade Labelling system as a way of improving the livelihoods of farmers and farm workers and promoting sustainable development in their communities. The Final Evaluation assessed to what extent the funding had contributed to this aim. The services Imani delivered included providing evidence of the extent to which its funding is achieving its goal, purpose and anticipated outcomes based on the original project proposal and programme level log frame; provided recommendations moving forward, for covering any gaps and supplementing Fairtrade’s reporting to Comic Relief.

LONA – Social Impact Evaluation and Tracking for Citrus Farmers (2014)
This was the second bi-annual report that details the social, economic and environmental impact of Lona Citrus operations. It paints a bird’s eye view of the effects that Lona’s business operations are having on the farming communities in which it works. Particular focus has been given to Lona’s engagement with and support to emerging farmers. This is because Lona is one of the first in the country to engage with emerging farmers in the way that it does. The mixed methodologies employed by consultants for the social impact report includes the collection and analysis of data on farming operations, design and development of data collection system, field visit to pack-house and emerging farmers in Kwazulu Natal and the Limpopo Province, interviews with key stakeholders, including emerging farmers and detailed analysis and preparation of report.

Partner Africa – Final Evaluation of Development of Global Gap Equivalence & Internationally Recognised Leading Ethical Standards for Ethiopian Horticulture (2013)
The Ethiopian Horticulture Producer Exporters Association (EHPEA) has developed a code of practice aligned to international standards, namely Global Gap and the Ethical Trading Initiative, with the aim of increasing the socio-economic welfare of farm workers and environmental and agricultural practices. Imani was contracted to conduct the Final Evaluation of this initiative, looking to assess to what extent the programme has met its objectives and aims and to develop recommendations for future programming.

Fairtrade Tilapia Feasibility Study (2012)
Imani conducted a feasibility study for Fairtrade Africa which looked at the viability of drafting standards for tilapia aquaculture. The indepth study covered tilapia production processes, international market for tilapia and the social, economic and environmental impact of tilapia aquaculture on farming communities at the Lake Harvest tilapia farm in Zimbabwe. The recommendation made was that Fairtrade standards for tilapia should be drafted as they will have a positive impact on farming communities and on the Fairtrade movement as a whole by broadening the product range available to consumers.

European Commission under Tradecom – Technical Assistance to the Commercial Aquaculture Producers of Africa (CAPA) to facilitate a Fair Trade Label for Aquaculture fish products and exports in Africa (2010)
This project was funded by the European Commission, under Tradecom. The objective was to build capacity and prepare the ground for the development of fair trade certification standards for the cultivation and export of aquaculture fish products in Africa, focusing on Zimbabwe, Malawi, Uganda, Kenya and Ghana. Through this project the institutional capacity of CAPA and members to comply with fair trade standards was enhanced; a study on fair trade certification for aquaculture fish cultivation and exports was conducted; awareness of the benefits of fair trade to the competitiveness of aquaculture was raised; and a manual of procedures for the Certification of Aquaculture fish products was developed.

Scottish Government – Scotland Malawi Trade Partnership (2008 – 2011)
Implemented on behalf of the Scottish Government, this project involved working to improve supply chains of eight products into Scotland and capacity building for trade policy development in Malawi. The project offered Malawian organisations assistance to access market opportunities in Scotland for fairly traded products through the development of a secure logistical network to ensure a quality supply of rice, tea and coffee to meet increasing market demand in Scotland. It involved a full supply chain mapping and analysis and a needs assessment to identify technical inputs required to ensure security of supply, including any potential FLO issues.