The work of WFTO-Europe has three main objectives, with one of them being “Voice”. This means advocating for Fair Trade, especially on a European level. Together with the Fair Trade Advocacy Office and other CSOs, NGOs and trade unions WFTO-Europe advocates to highlight the importance of alternative business models and Fair Trade. This page is a collection of WFTO-Europe’s position papers and feedbacks on proposals by the European Commission.
Under every link the original position can be found and below the key points of WFTO-E’s position are outlined briefly.
WFTO-Europe collaborated with the FTAO for a joint event in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 13th June 2023, where MEPs Claude Gruffat (Greens/EFA) and Marlene Mortler (EPP) hosted a group of WFTO-Europe members. The aim was to discuss the value and usefulness of Fair Trade in local contexts within Europe.
During the meeting, our members shared perspectives from their realities as Fair Trade Enterprises based in the EU and voiced specific questions and requests for support from the EU institutions.
The link in the title leads to our press release following the event and summarises the responses from the MEPs Gruffat and Mortler. A policy brief created for the purpose of the event and shared with participants and the MEPs can be found here.
The civil society vision for a comprehensive EU Textile Strategy contains recommendations including:
- Ensure companies are legally obligated to take responsibility for not only their own activities but their whole supply chain by applying an EU due diligence law across all sectors, including specific requirements for the TGLF sector. Signing a multi-stakeholder partnership should not exempt business from responsibility.
- Stricter environmental rules that cover how textile products sold in the EU are designed and produced, legal and financial responsibility on producers for when their products become waste, as well as meaningful measures to promote transparency.
- Ensuring brands and retailers are legally obliged to honour contracts and end the culture of unfair purchasing practices that gives them impunity to cancel orders without honouring payments – leaving workers without pay and a wasteful pile up of unsellable products.
- Make governance reforms and better law enforcement in producing countries part of the solution to sustainability issues faced in the TGLF value chains.
- Through trade policy, use EU market power to leverage sustainable production practices in the TGLF industry.
We consider the implementation of a European climate law an important part of the European Green Deal. But we also stress that the Commission must set and enforce a target of 65% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030. If Europe shall be the first climate neutral continent by 2050 an ambitious 2030 target is needed to ensure a fair and just transition.
The key points WFTO-E highlights are three crucial steps of implementation during the process towards a climate-neutral European Union.
- Focus on and support of SMEs (both EU-based SMEs, as well as SMEs like smallholder farmers and producer organisations in the Global South)
- International impact and EU policy cohesion
- Support of holistic business approaches and enhance fair trading practices
WFTO-Europe welcomes the Commission’s public consultation on the 2030 Climate Target Plan, and we stress that the following must become requirements in the new regulation for setting and enforcing the 2030 climate target:
- Ensure and enforce at least a 65% reduction of GHG emissions by 2030 compared to 1990 levels of the EU as a whole.
- Support for alternative business models that prioritise people and planet over profits in order to foster the resilience of our economic system and resilience for the most vulnerable workers, producers, farmers and artisans (henceforth “producers”) within and outside the EU.
- Support measures for conversion to organic production, preferably to agro-ecology, in particular for SMEs within and outside the EU in proportion to their needs for support to be able to cover the costs of sustainable production and still make (at least) a Living Income.
We are asking the EU to implement the following changes:
- A change in the children’s upbringing to get rid of the gendered and biased stereotypes, by editing textbooks, financing interventions in schools and promote the exchange of good practices.
- A focus on girls’ education: aim for 100% schooling for little girls, fight child marriage, child labour and any form of violence against girls, and better the family conditions by paying parents a fair price for their work so that they can afford sending their kids to school.
- Giving women equal opportunities: ensuring no discrimination at the workplace and freedom association so that women can claim their rights. Also, we are asking for transparency measures, as well as a 50% representation on the workplace (instead of 40% as suggested). Giving them equal opportunities is also preventing women’s economic vulnerability.
- Ensure a safe working environment, this means, an environment fitting women’s needs, with childcare facilities in organisations with more than 50 workers, equal paternity and maternity leave, campaigns against sexual harassment
- To put people and planet first and exercise HRDD.
Minimising the risk of deforestation and forest degradation associated with products placed on the EU market
The mains asks of WFTO-Europe are:
- The EC shall introduce mandatory Human Rights Due Diligence legislation for companies placing products on the EU market
- The EC must also consider providing technical support and finance accessible to producers in third countries.
- The EC must enhance the Fair and Sustainable Development chapters of EU trade agreements as recommended in the Conclusions of the Council (point 28) and enforce them
- Recognise the importance of mission-led businesses as a viable alternative to support primary producers, farmers and workers of FRACs in sustainable production practices that eliminate deforestation and contribute to reforestation
The feedback on the proposal for a regulation by the European Commission draws attention to the major root cause of deforestation, namely poverty. It is therefore crucial to understand the importance of a fair payment and business models which put people and planet before profits as a viable way to tackle the challenge of deforestation. WFTO-Europe urges the Commission to implement new, comprehensive legal measures, where companies (not just the smallholder farmers and workers of FRAC’s at the end of the supply chain) are held accountable for violations occurring in their supply chain.
The Fair Trade movement calls for the demands of producer organisations to be heard in the negotiations on the global climate crisis on the occasion of COP25. The position paper highlights the importance of putting smallholder farmers at the heart of the global climate crisis negotiations.
It also urges Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to recognise Fair Trade policies and practices as a crucial component of climate mitigation and adaptation strategies.
- Develop national policies for allocating adequate and appropriate financial and technical
support to smallholder farmers to enable them to implement and invest in interventions for
adapting to the climate crisis to sustain their livelihoods.
- Align awarding criteria and procedures of financial mechanisms such as the Green Climate
Fund to small producers and their organizations
- Promote mechanisms by which businesses internalise the costs of their unfair and nonclimate friendly activities.
- Develop trade and agricultural policies that increase transparency, incentivise climate action along food value chains and among their stakeholders e.g. by requiring businesses to exercise Human Rights Due Diligence in their trading relations with smallholder farmers without passing the costs of these measures on to the smallholder farmers.
- Invest in agronomical research in areas most impacted by climate change and promote smallholder-centred resilient agricultural practices (e.g. preservation of biodiversity and agroforestry models that respect traditional knowledge and promote food sovereignty).
- Promote sustainable consumption through public procurement policies, trade agreements, educational programmes, and other measures that promote SDG 12 as an efficient tool for agroecological transition and other measures towards mitigating risks from the climate crisis. This must include support for handicraft and similar carbonneutral production methods that provide alternative, sustainable income generation. In sectors like coffee and cocoa, among others, this will help to address the major issue of deforestation.
The International Fair Trade Movement calls on the Parties of the UNFCCC at COP24 to:
- Introduce transparency mechanisms, incentive systems and binding regulations for private actors to establish climate resilient and fair supply chains and to comply with their duty of care
- Provide small-scale farmers and vulnerable communities financial support, farmer-focused trainings and technical expertise to address the unavoidable impacts of climate change, recover from climate shocks and restore their livelihoods, and to implement effective climate mitigation and adaptation strategies;
- Promote mechanisms that address the internalization of the costs of non-fair and non-climate friendly economic activities and facilitate tax incentives for CO2- free agrarian products, e.g. through the introduction of a CO2 tax
- Ensure that the private sector in the Global South pays just and appropriate taxes and states invest in the development of resilient models to climate change that benefit smallholder farmers and vulnerable communities
- Invest in agronomical research in areas most impacted by climate change and promote smallholder-centered resilient agricultural practices