In this Issue:

Biennial conference and AGM 2016
The Fair Trade movement in Germany
European Development Days 2016
The Fair Trade movement in Palestine
Update on WFTO-Europe membership and GS status
Member in the spotlight

And more!


Let us know about your events!


European FairTrade Shuttle!


WFTO Europe @ home

Biennial Conference & AGM  2016 

From the 2nd to the 4th of June, WFTO-Europe held its Biennial Conference and Annual General Meeting  in Wuppertal (Germany), famous for its big green areas and the “Wuppertal Schwebebahn”, a suspension railway that surrounds the whole city.

The conference took place in the beautiful hotel “ Auf Dem Heiligen Berg”  and WFTO-Europe had the pleasure to welcome 44 participants from 33 different members’ organisations.

The special guest of this edition was Basma Barham, president of WFTO- Africa & Middle East and CEO at the Holy Land Handicraft Cooperative Society (HLHS), an organisation that supports the handicraft sector in Palestine. Her presence was essential to better understand not only the work of the African branch of WFTO, but also how Fair Trade is developing in territories affected by tragic conflicts like Palestine.

The event marked as always an important moment for the network because it allowed members and staff to discuss and share their ideas regarding the future of the Fair Trade movement as well as the challenges and expectations towards WFTO and WFTO- Europe. After a brief welcome speech from Giorgio Dal Fiume, head of the board at WFTO-Europe, the participants were invited to debate on the key topics related to the European and Global strategic plan through workshops.

During each session, members were divided in three small groups. In the first phase, attendants had the opportunity to exchange views on:

– Advocacy, Campaigning and Fair Trade Towns Campaign (FTTC) with the support of Peter Möhringer from the Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO)

– The revision of the charter of Fair Trade principles

– Fair Prices Fair Wages (FPFW)

In the second phase, they addressed the main challenges regarding:

-The Guarantee System

–North-North Fair Trade

-Updates on Fair trade Retailers Standard

Crucial and significant was also the day at the headquarter  of GEPA, one of the biggest German Fair Trade organisations, where all had the opportunity to discover more about the large variety of products they sell  and expand their knowledge of the Fair Trade movement in Germany.

WFTO-Europe would like to thank all the participants for the commitment shown to improve the future of WFTO network. For those who could not be there, we hope to see you at the next meeting!

Here you can find some pictures taken during the conference.

Europe in a nutshell

The Fair Trade movement in Germany

Abstract: During the second day of the Biennial Conference and AGM held in Wuppertal we had the opportunity to learn more about the Fair Trade movement in Germany thanks to a brief presentation led by our member GEPA, one of the oldest Fair Trade organizations in the country. On this occasion, other German partners like Fair- Band, DWP, Globlo Fair Trade, El Puente, Weltladen presented themselves and their work with producers from the Global South.

In Germany, the fair trade movement started around 1970 when catholic and protestant churches and youth organisations protested with “Hunger Marches“ against the economic exploitation of the third world in the capitalist world system. The first Fair Trade product in Germany was produced by SOS Wereldhandel.


In 1973, the church-based development agencies and youth organisations set up a central import organisation, GEPA which started to distributing products such as coffee, tea, chocolate, cocoa, dry fruit and honey to German consumers via action groups of volunteers who set up their stalls in church halls and farmers’ markets across the country. In 1980s GEPA began to explore more mainstream distribution channels such as catalogues, health food shops and supermarkets and other organisations were founded like DWP and El Puente. Right now GEPA has 160 trading partners and their main saling channels are Worldshops, action groups, retail/organic shops, out of home services, on-line shops. Moreover, even if the majority of their products are food, they are trying to focusing more on handicrafts and useful goods like textile, ceramics, etc.The hallmark of the organization is the Fair + symbol that was created to go further than Fair Trade criteria. Indeed, it was invented to foster long-term relationships with producers, increase political action and Fair Trade shares up to 100% in mixed products while taking care of climate protection through tree planting projects (e.g. forestation project in the Philippines).


The Federal Association for Fair Trade Import and Distribution includes 33 small importers from more than 40 countries around the world  and help them to sell a variety of products. They fight for products diversity. FairBand goal is to offer a transparent and multi-layered platform to the Fair Trade movement to promote and strengthen Fair Trade. Special emphasis is given to authenticity and direct personal co-operation with the partner organisations from the South.


DWP’s origin is the worldshop of Ravensburg who was trading with Fair Trade products since 1983. The organisation was founded in 1988 to help the small scale farmers and small producers’ groups in the countries of the South. In 2005, they decided to change into a cooperative including all parts of the Fair Trade Chain as members. Now they include 510 cooperatives and distribute their imported and processed products in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and other European countries. As their priority are small scale farmers, they decided not have any kind of relationships with big plantations. Moreover they are also taking up social responsibility in Germany by working closely with handicapped people in the daily business and helping them to get the best possible integration.

Globo Fair Trade:

Since 1973 GLOBO works with trading partners in Latin America but they are expanding the market also in Asia and Africa. During this time they continuously introduced new products into Fair Trade, which ensure, on the one hand, stable sales for the workshops in the countries of origin and on the other hand fair prices for quality work for their customers. Their aim is to establish long-term relationships with producers of handicrafts products. The organisation is also member of the German Forum Fairer Handel and Fairtrade Germany.  Regarding their mission, they intend to expand the Fair Trade with high quality products in Germany and Europe and thus promote the conscious consumer.

El Puente

El Puente is among the pioneers of the Fair Trade movement and is today the second largest fair trade organisation in Germany. El Puente means “the bridge” in Spanish to symbolise the link they want to represent between developed and less or least developed countries by offering and promoting possibilities to participate and compete in global trading structures. Founded in 1972, El Puente works with small businesses and cooperatives in Africa, Asia and Latin America and as a wholesale-trader they sell their goods to Fair Trade shops in Germany and Europe. Through the import and distribution of Fair Trade products, they support more than 140 project partners in 40 different countries. Their range of products consists of around 5,000 handicraft and food articles. Moreover, they provide educational programs to inform both in developed and less/least developed countries on the structures of injustice dominating our world economy.


The Weltladen-Dachverband e.V. is the umbrella organization of German worldshops. It was founded in 1975 by worldshops (Weltläden) and action groups to represent their interests at a national and international level. Today it is a registered association with more than 440 members. The work of the Weltladen-Dachverband is based on the convention of worldshops with its basic standards for fair trade. All these organization are connected by common challenges like the consequences of climate change, provide fairer living wages, the Hostile climate against foreigners and migrants and the tendency of the World economics to go more towards free trade rather than Fair Trade. Furthermore, Only 3% of German consumers buy Fair Trade products and there is a need to do more.


European Development Days 2016

On 15 -16 of June, WFTO-Europe had the pleasure to attend the ‪European Development Days (EDD16), where several key policy-makers (for example the Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations and Federica Mogherini,  High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission) debated on how to eradicate poverty and make the world a more inclusive as well as peaceful place through the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (‪SDGs).

This special 10-year anniversary edition was focused, indeed, on the ‘2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’ and was organised around ‘5Ps’: People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership.

On this occasion, WFTO-Europe and WFTO in partnership with Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO) and Fairtrade International led a workshop on the revision of the EU Aid for Trade Strategy which is expected at the end of 2016. In particular, experts but also civil society representatives had the opportunity to discuss how the Aid for Trade strategy can contribute to implement the Sustainable Development Goals and what investments are needed to make supply chains more sustainable.

The main points that emerged from the debate are:

  • Aid to developing countries should first include capacity-building ;
  • Corruption is still a major issue to be tackled and there is a need of more accountability in corporations;
  • Reduce intermediaries to become more competitive;
  • More and better collaboration between the private and public sectors could solve the problem of corruption and intermediaries;
  • Improvement of infrastructure (roads, communications, transport);
  • Promote trade at the local-regional level;
  • Need of Aid to prepare the framework: transform the activities into efficient business models thanks to financial help;
  • More action and commitment from European Institutions ;
  • Make Fair Trade model the standard, not the exception ;
  • More coordination between small producers within organisations.

For more info check also the Internal Bulletin #67 of June of FTAO (login required).


WFTO around the World

The Fair Trade movement in Palestine

The Biennial Conference and AGM was an opportunity to know better our special guest of this edition. Basma Barham, president of WFTO- Africa & Middle East and CEO at the Holy Land Handicraft Cooperative Society (HLHS) , an organisation that supports the handicraft sector in Palestine. Her presence was essential to better understand, not only the work of the African branch of WFTO, but also how Fair Trade is developing in territories affected by tragic conflicts like Palestine.

Palestine is a complicated territory characterised by an unstable political situation that is affecting also its economic stability based on Handicrafts. Indeed, Work and Tourism are declining day after day and the Fair Trade movement is trying to create job opportunities as well as ensuring decent living conditions for these people. In particular, Fair Trade is building a bridge with other organisations around the world, succeeding in long term business relationship while at the same time supporting local activities. One of the aims is also stop emigration caused by political pressures and restrictions on the free movement that leads young people, both Muslim and Christian, to emigrate. The political instability changed also dramatically the role of women as the departure of men in search of jobs and the large number of men imprisoned left many women as the sole breadwinners. Palestinian women not only engaged economically, they were also politicized by the struggle for independence and peace and the Fair Trade movement helps them to enforce their role in the society.

Holy Land Handicraft Cooperative Society (HLHS) was born in 1981 and work with 36 local producers supporting more than 900 families. The organisation try to alleviate local poverty and unemployment by selling local handicraft products like Olivewood, mother of pearl, embroidery and ceramic. They work also with people with disabilities and involve children by teaching them traditional craft. Indeed, an adequate education is necessary to improve their future.

The main challenges that the Fair Trade movement there is facing right now are the decline of demand from Europe of handicraft products and the competition with other regions that sell cheaper products but without the same quality. The solution for Basma is “open the doors and opportunities for this producers who are doing their best to develop the necessary capabilities to deliver products at the right time, place and quantities

She also explained that the WFTO logo increased their sales, their knowledge about fair trade missions while consumers say that: “I choose a product which is guaranteed by WFTO because it proves the commitment to the 10 Fair Trade principles so I have a high-quality product and I help to reduce poverty and injustice”.


The WFTO Guarantee System

Update on WFTO-Europe membership and GS status


Dear members,

We are proud to  inform you that right now 35 Organizations successfully passed through the WFTO Guarantee System in the past and therewith reached GUARANTEED/REGISTERED member status.

At the regional level, WFTO-Europe is processing 9 monitoring applications while we are managing 12 new membership requests.

Moreover, a new version of the Guarantee System Handbook is available.The May 2016 version of the GS handbook contains inputs and feedback from members that went through the process, and from expert who are involved in the implementation of the GS. Visit the internal site of WFTO to get a copy.

News from the Region

WFTO-Europe is pleased to welcome its new members: Forum Fairer HandelWisnu FairtradeSimbólica Fair TradeBouga CacaO, VDP import and FairForward , its new guaranteed member Eco Collection while we are sorry to say goodbye to Lankalamai,hoping to see them back in our network in the future.
We are also  pleased to Welcome our new interns,  Mikkel Kofod Nørgård as the Project Management and Fundraising Assistant and Stefano Carulli as the Communication and Membership & Monitoring Assistant.
See also our new annual report 2015-2016, is online!

News from the Board

The minutes of the last Board meeting held on the 19th of May via Skype are now available on the website.
Login here in order to Access the Board minutes.


Member in the spotlight: 

Eco Collection

ECO Collection is proud to announce its membership of the World Fair Trade Organization. ECO Collection is an importer and distributor of sustainable lifestyle products. The organisation was founded in 2010 and since June this year certified as a Guaranteed Fair Trade Organization. They import their products from Thailand, India, Indonesia and Nepal and are working with the same suppliers for a few years now. It was already certified by Max Havelaar and GOTS in 2011 for her textiles to produce 100% organic and Fair Trade towels and duvet covers. In 2012, the organisation was involved in a CBI project Capacity Building Program on CSR supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. It is dedicated to comply to the Principles of Fair Trade and continuous improvement for its supply chains.

ECO Collection imports various home made products like utensils, textiles, furniture, lamps, gifts and living and vintage. The organization’s mission is to create a bigger Fair Trade market for the common customers serving a wide variety of products with a beautiful design. For the design of the products, they work with both European as well as local partners.

For any further inquiries or information, click here to go to Eco Collection’s website and connect with them on Facebook and Instagram!


Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.