The guidelines were compiled by a working group involving Asda, Sainsbury, Somerfield, The Co-op and M&S, and manufacturers including Premier Foods.
They are designed to encourage a shift in emphasis among buyers from one solely focused on audits to one that is based on the specific needs of those working on smallholdings producing fresh produce, tea and coffee.
ETI director Dan Rees said: “Smallholders are among the world’s poorest, and suffer the worst in terms of conditions of work. The aim of the guidelines is to improve their situation through the implementation of internationally agreed standards on smallholdings. They are significant because of the numbers of workers involved.”
The guidelines were developed through working with smallholders in Kenya.