What was your most memorable audit?
AE: Definitely the one cocoa audit in Ghana. I visited a small village where a girl was born. According to the local tradition, parents name their children after significant events. The event that day was my visit. So the parents of this small girl, their 10th child, asked me if they could name the girl after me. I was very proud of that, although my surname is very long. So Mavis Pinto Escoval Opoku, the child of a Fairtrade Cocoa Family, should be about 9 years old today. I really hope she is doing well, since I lost contact with the parents.
What would you say is the most common misconception about the auditor job?
AE: That the whole travel is real fun. Sometimes yes, but most of the time it is just boring, waiting always for trains, planes, busses, taxis…
If you run into a tense situation during an audit, what do you do to keep a productive atmosphere?
AE: The best way is always to take a small break, for fresh air or coffee. If that isn’t possible, then just breathe, let the other person talk, breathe again and then give your counterpart the feeling that you understand. Afterwards, you still have a lot of time until the end of the audit to show that you could be right. But since an audit is already a tense situation for some people, I try, where possible, to bring people to smile. Sometimes also a question about the person you are dealing with, where appropriate, helps to reduce tension. We are dealing with humans and not with machines.
Curious about audits? Follow Alfredo through a typical Fairtrade trader audit:
Want to find out more about producer audits? Check our 3 Questions to Grace Karanja, FLOCERT Auditor
Alfredo has carried out more than 800 Fairtrade audits so far. He used to be an extra in several plays at the Bonn opera.