A look back at 2018
In planning ahead for 2019 we, here at WFTO-Europe, have been looking back and reflecting on our activities and achievements in 2018. As the clock has struck 2019, we would like to share some of those reflections with you.
- For celebrating International Women’s Day in March 2018, we shared stories from our members that relates specifically how Fair Trade empowers women and promotes gender equality. If you did not catch it, you can read the stories in our small booklet available here. Do feel free to re-read the stories, too, if you were already on board back in March.
- For World Fair Trade Day in May 2018, we asked our members to record a small presentation of themselves, their work, and what Fair Trade means to them. You can watch or re-watch the video that came out of all these recordings here.
Together with this video, we also promoted the theme: Live Fair, one Fair Trade product at a time. This was both in celebration of the growing number of people willing to pay for ethical and sustainable products like Fair Trade – as well as to push for that number to keep growing. You can (re)visit what we have published for this theme here.
- In June 2018 we held our Biennial Conference, whose first day was dedicated to a public event on Universalizing the Fair Trade principles for an EU sustainable – and fair – production and consumption agenda. This was co-organised with the Fair Trade Advocacy Office and was attended by members but also Civil Society Organisations outside of our membership, like BEUC-The European Consumer Organisation, Habitat Integrated Pakistan, CONCORD, Friends of the Earth Europe, among others. The following 2 days featured two workshops covering our, at WFTO-Europe, and WFTO’s key research topics for both 2018 and 2019: Living wage, gender equity and domestic Fair Trade.
- In October 2018, we met with the other members of the Fair Trade Advocacy Network for the Fair Trade Marathon, to discuss and collaborate on defining the way forward. Among key topics raised were the new International Fair Trade Charter, the coming elections for the European Parliament in May 2019, and a study commissioned by our member Commerce Équitable France, which indicates how Fair Trade in combination with organic certification helps coffee farmers improve their average income and limit the surprisingly high externality costs from pollution, etc. of conventional coffee farming. You can find the study in both French, and soon in English, too, here.
- Finally, we collaborated with several Trade Fair Live Fair partners and others from the Fair Trade movement on a Policy Statement for COP24 in December in Katowice, Poland.
Planning ahead for 2019
A key part of the Trade Fair Live Fair project for all project partners will be the elections for the European Parliament to be held in the end of May this year. For this we will be supporting our members on engaging with the candidates for MEP from their countries.
For us at WFTO-Europe specifically, this year will also be full of exciting key moments:
- First will be the International Women’s Day on 8th March, where we will take part in the promotion of gender equality and the rights of women. In particular we will promote the recent research on the contributions of Fair Trade and Fair Trade enterprises commissioned by WFTO.
- Then, later in March, we are planning to publish a review of our European network and particular members and how they are contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goal’s through Fair Trade and their mission-led business models.
- For the World Fair Trade Day on 11th May we will take part in the global celebration together with WFTO, and the other regions, Africa, Asia, Latin America and Pacific Rim.
- In end-May we expect to publish the research we have commissioned on Living Wages and Fair Payment with insights and recommendations for mainstream companies and policy-makers for adopting or supporting Fair Trade and in particular WFTO’s Fair Payment Policy.
- Finally, we are inviting our members for a two-days event in June with workshops and advocacy training. Exceptionally, attendance will be free from registration fees this time thanks to funding from the Trade Fair, Live Fair project. The event will conclude with our Annual General Assembly.
- In September we will take part in the International Fair Trade Summit on the 16th-19th in Lima, Peru. We hope to meet and collaborate with many of our members on this occasion. If you are interested in joining us there, you can find more information here.
- After this, it will again be time for the October tradition of the Fair Trade Marathon organized by the FTAO in Brussels.
Looking forward to working with you in 2019!
Today we celebrate International Women’s Day and we are more than happy to share with you our booklet “Women & Fair Trade”.
It is a short publication featuring 6 of our members: SeeMe, Mifuko, Dece Clothing, esgii, Dassie Artisan and Traidcraft Exchange. In the booklet, you will find who they are, what they do and what impact do they have on their female artisans.
Click on the cover and discover more:
Please, if you like it, share it with your friends, thank you.
#PressForProgress #GenderEqualityNow #InternationalWomensDay2018 #FairTrade
Dear Fair Trade friends and supporters,
the end of the year is slowly approaching and the holiday season is upon us.
We would like to thank you for supporting us throughout the whole year of 2017 and wish you all the warmth and happiness that this beautiful season always brings.
We are looking forward to cooperating with you even more in 2018.
WFTO prescribes 10 Principles that Fair Trade Organizations must follow in their day-to-day work and carries out monitoring to ensure these principles are upheld:
Principle One: Creating Opportunities for Economically Disadvantaged Producers
Poverty reduction through trade forms a key part of the organization’s aims. The organization supports marginalized small producers, whether these are independent family businesses, or grouped in associations or co-operatives. It seeks to enable them to move from income insecurity and poverty to economic self-sufficiency and ownership. The organization has a plan of action to carry this out.
Principle Two: Transparency and Accountability
The organization is transparent in its management and commercial relations. It is accountable to all its stakeholders and respects the sensitivity and confidentiality of commercial information supplied. The organization finds appropriate, participatory ways to involve employees, members and producers in its decision-making processes. It ensures that relevant information is provided to all its trading partners. The communication channels are good and open at all levels of the supply chain.
Principle Three: Fair Trading Practices
The organization trades with concern for the social, economic and environmental well-being of marginalized small producers and does not maximize profit at their expense. It is responsible and professional in meeting its commitments in a timely manner. Suppliers respect contracts and deliver products on time and to the desired quality and specifications.
Fair Trade buyers, recognizing the financial disadvantages producers and suppliers face, ensure orders are paid on receipt of documents and according to the attached guidelines. For Handicraft FT products, an interest free pre-payment of at least 50 % is made on request. For Food FT products, pre-payment of at least 50% at a reasonable interest is made if requested. Interest rates that the suppliers pay must not be higher than the buyers’ cost of borrowing from third parties. Charging interest is not required.
Where southern Fair Trade suppliers receive a pre payment from buyers, they ensure that this payment is passed on to the producers or farmers who make or grow their Fair Trade products.
Buyers consult with suppliers before canceling or rejecting orders. Where orders are cancelled through no fault of producers or suppliers, adequate compensation is guaranteed for work already done. Suppliers and producers consult with buyers if there is a problem with delivery, and ensure compensation is provided when delivered quantities and qualities do not match those invoiced.
The organization maintains long term relationships based on solidarity, trust and mutual respect that contribute to the promotion and growth of Fair Trade. It maintains effective communication with its trading partners. Parties involved in a trading relationship seek to increase the volume of the trade between them and the value and diversity of their product offer as a means of growing Fair Trade for the producers in order to increase their incomes. The organization works cooperatively with the other Fair Trade Organizations in country and avoids unfair competition. It avoids duplicating the designs of patterns of other organizations without permission.
Fair Trade recognizes, promotes and protects the cultural identity and traditional skills of small producers as reflected in their craft designs, food products and other related services.
Principle Four: Payment of a Fair Price
A fair price is one that has been mutually agreed by all through dialogue and participation, which provides fair pay to the producers and can also be sustained by the market. Where Fair Trade pricing structures exist, these are used as a minimum. Fair pay means provision of socially acceptable remuneration (in the local context) considered by producers themselves to be fair and which takes into account the principle of equal pay for equal work by women and men. Fair Trade marketing and importing organizations support capacity building as required to producers, to enable them to set a fair price.
Principle Five: Ensuring no Child Labor and Forced Labor
The organization adheres to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and national / local law on the employment of children. The organization ensures that there is no forced labor in its workforce and / or members or homeworkers.
Organizations who buy Fair Trade products from producer groups either directly or through intermediaries ensure that no forced labor is used in production and the producer complies with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and national / local law on the employment of children. Any involvement of children in the production of Fair Trade products (including learning a traditional art or craft) is always disclosed and monitored and does not adversely affect the children’s well-being, security, educational requirements and need for play.
Principle Six: Commitment to Non Discrimination, Gender Equity and Women’s Economic Empowerment and Freedom of Association
The organization does not discriminate in hiring, remuneration, access to training, promotion, termination or retirement based on race, caste, national origin, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation, union membership, political affiliation, HIV/Aids status or age.
The organization has a clear policy and plan to promote gender equality that ensures that women as well as men have the ability to gain access to the resources that they need to be productive and also the ability to influence the wider policy, regulatory, and institutional environment that shapes their livelihoods and lives. Organizational constitutions and by-laws allow for and enable women to become active members of the organization in their own right (where it is a membership based organization), and to take up leadership positions in the governance structure regardless of women’s status in relation to ownership of assets such as land and property. Where women are employed within the organization, even where it is an informal employment situation, they receive equal pay for equal work. The organization recognizes women’s full employment rights and is committed to ensuring that women receive their full statutory employment benefits. The organization takes into account the special health and safety needs of pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers.
The organization respects the right of all employees to form and join trade unions of their choice and to bargain collectively. Where the right to join trade unions and bargain collectively are restricted by law and/or political environment, the organization will enable means of independent and free association and bargaining for employees. The organization ensures that representatives of employees are not subject to discrimination in the workplace.
Principle Seven: Ensuring Good Working Conditions
The organization provides a safe and healthy working environment for employees and / or members. It complies, at a minimum, with national and local laws and ILO conventions on health and safety.
Working hours and conditions for employees and / or members (and any homeworkers) comply with conditions established by national and local laws and ILO conventions.
Fair Trade Organizations are aware of the health and safety conditions in the producer groups they buy from. They seek, on an ongoing basis, to raise awareness of health and safety issues and improve health and safety practices in producer groups.
Principle Eight: Providing Capacity Building
The organization seeks to increase positive developmental impacts for small, marginalized producers through Fair Trade.
The organization develops the skills and capabilities of its own employees or members. Organizations working directly with small producers develop specific activities to help these producers improve their management skills, production capabilities and access to markets – local / regional / international / Fair Trade and mainstream as appropriate. Organizations which buy Fair Trade products through Fair Trade intermediaries in the South assist these organizations to develop their capacity to support the marginalized producer groups that they work with.
Principle Nine: Promoting Fair Trade
The organization raises awareness of the aim of Fair Trade and of the need for greater justice in world trade through Fair Trade. It advocates for the objectives and activities of Fair Trade according to the scope of the organization. The organization provides its customers with information about itself, the products it markets, and the producer organizations or members that make or harvest the products. Honest advertising and marketing techniques are always used.
Principle Ten: Respect for the Environment
Organizations which produce Fair Trade products maximize the use of raw materials from sustainably managed sources in their ranges, buying locally when possible. They use production technologies that seek to reduce energy consumption and where possible use renewable energy technologies that minimize greenhouse gas emissions. They seek to minimize the impact of their waste stream on the environment. Fair Trade agricultural commodity producers minimize their environmental impacts, by using organic or low pesticide use production methods wherever possible.
Buyers and importers of Fair Trade products give priority to buying products made from raw materials that originate from sustainably managed sources, and have the least overall impact on the environment.
All organizations use recycled or easily biodegradable materials for packing to the extent possible, and goods are dispatched by sea wherever possible.
We are excited to begin offering subscription to our public newsletter! We aim to publish this newsletter biannual, that is twice a year, in order to avoid overwhelming our subscribers with emails. The content is planned to include: an overview of our recent activities and of those in our network, updates on our members and their initiatives, the latest information on the Fair Trade movement in Europe and around the world, and more. The first issue will go out at the beginning of the new year, so keep an eye out in January!