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!

 

Subscribe here.

Enriching lives with ethical finance

Nyame Akwan Farms with logo

UK-based, Shared Interest lends money to Fair Trade organisations worldwide. What makes us different is we do not usually require security. This enables us to reach farmers and handcrafters in remote communities, struggling to find finance elsewhere.

We are a Registered Society with 11,000 UK investors providing over £38m. We strive to be a responsible lender, recognised with a Queen’s Award twice, and in 2015 awarded the title of ‘most ethical finance institution working in the fair trade sector.’

Shared Interest currently makes payments to over 400 producer groups across 59 countries. Our main aim is to help smallholder farmers and handcraft groups, and we lend in two ways: directly to fair trade producers and to fair trade wholesale or retail businesses.  We lend to support Fairtrade products such as coffee; fresh fruit, nuts, and cocoa, as well as handcrafts such as weaved baskets and furniture.

We want to do more than provide finance on fair terms. The Fair Trade organisations we finance say that, thanks to our supporters, they have helped transform their communities.  For this reason, we like to keep up to date with issues faced by our customers.  We find that our annual Producer Committee meetings facilitated by in-country staff in Peru, Ivory Coast, and Kenya, give producers the opportunity to discuss common issues and market trends. While it is not in our remit to provide a solution to these problems, sharing experiences can assist organisations in resolving their own issues.

For instance, citrus farming is a growing source of income in Ghana but climate change continues to be a big challenge, with fruit ripening early or crops being lost in their entirety due to the changing rainfall patterns.  Nyame Akwan is a Fairtrade orange producer that is surviving commercially, despite these various setbacks.

Farmers approached Shared Interest for finance in 2015 when fruit flies were causing production losses of up to 40%.  The loan allowed the group to purchase fertilisers for farmers and ultimately increase production volumes. Farm maintenance equipment helped reduce fruit loss to only 10%.

Education also helped improve yields. Previously, harvesting involved manually plucking the fruit with sticks, which led to spoilage. After training, the farmers began to hang wire nets under the trees to catch the oranges.

Thanks to Shared Interest investors, Nyame Akwan is helping over 100 farmers to earn a living.  Chairman Mustapha Akubakar said: “Once our membership reaches 200, we would like to become a co-operative.”

See their website here.

Fair trade towns reaches milestone

2,000 Fair Trade Towns Span the Globe

October 2, 2017

Fair Trade Towns, an international, grassroots campaign to build solidarity between consumers and producers, raise awareness of Fair Trade, and drive institutional commitment to Fair Trade products, has reached a major milestone as there are now over 2,000 Fair Trade Towns in 29 countries on 6 continents. Starting in 2000 in Garstang, U.K., the grassroots campaign swept across Europe in the early 2000’s and then grew to many other countries including Costa Rica, the U.S., Ghana, Canada, Japan, Australia, Brazil and many, many others. The most recent Fair Trade Towns were declared in Finland, Germany and Canada.

“The Fair Trade Towns movement is vital, and is making a huge difference. It is a grassroots social movement and together with the producer forms the beating heart of changing the world trading system.” – Harriet Lamb, Executive Director, Fairtrade Foundation 2006

Led by various organizations at the regional and national level, the Fair Trade Towns movement recently held its 11th annual international conference in Saarbrucken, Germany where a new tally was taken and the milestone recognized. The U.K. and Germany are the countries with the most Fair Trade Towns – 631 and 500 respectively. In the last few years the movement has seen growth in new countries and regions with efforts in Ecuador, Honduras, Lebanon, Cameroon, and Switzerland. The growth of the movement continues to escalate. It took 11 years to reach the first 1,000 Fair Trade Towns and just 6 more to reach the next 1,000. With towns that have met the goals necessary to earn the title, Fair Trade Town in 29 countries, and active efforts in 7 more, the Fair Trade Towns movement has also expanded to include Fair Trade University, Fair Trade School and Fair Trade Places of Worship efforts. These collectively make up one of the largest international grassroots campaigns in the world.

“It was a pleasure to participate in the Saarbrücken conference and meet so many different people from all over the world committed to a better world, a more just, and equitable world. People that work every day to defend Fair Trade and a decent life. The Fair Trade Towns campaign now has more than two thousand towns, thanks to the perseverance of consumers, activists, traders, producers, and volunteers, working for a common goal. We all walk together for dignity, leaving behind our differences”. – Rosa Guamán, small-scale fruits and herbs producer, President of the Small Producers Symbol (SPP) and member of the Local Fair Trade Town Committee in Riobamba, Ecuador. 

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact your country coordinator or International Fair Trade Towns Steering Committee. The contact list is available on www.fairtradetowns.org .

To download this press release please click here.

Discover and discuss fair business practices with experts from the field!

Business for a Fair World
Click for a full size

As part of the Belgian Fair Trade Week, the World Fair Trade Organization-Europe, together with its partners Belgian Development Agency, Oxfam-Magasins du Monde, Fair Trade Advocacy Office, Belvas, Equo Garantito and Groupe One, have the pleasure to invite you to “Business for a Fair World” World Café.

World Café is a specific discussion format, where people discuss topics in several groups. The main idea is that individuals switch groups periodically which allows them to discuss several topics during a single event. Each of the group is hosted by an expert from the field, in our case a representative of our partners mentioned above, to whom participants can pose questions.

Our “Business for a Fair World” World Café will be held on 11th October 2017 from 17:00 till 19:30 at ULB in Brussels, room H2213.

Besides the World Café itself, which will be the main part of our event, you can also look forward to a general presentation  providing basic introduction about Fair Trade and its current role in Belgium, in particular as it seeks the title of Fair Trade nation. The event will close with the opportunity for some informal networking where Fair Trade juice will be served. For more information on program content, please take a look on the detailed agenda below.

The event is free of charge.

Please, register here and mark your interest here.

 

Discover and discuss fair business practices with experts from the field!

Business for a Fair World
Click for a full size

As part of the Belgian Fair Trade Week, the World Fair Trade Organization-Europe, together with its partners Belgian Development Agency, Oxfam-Magasins du Monde, Fair Trade Advocacy Office, Belvas, Equo Garantito and Groupe One, have the pleasure to invite you to “Business for a Fair World” World Café.

World Café is a specific discussion format, where people discuss topics in several groups. The main idea is that individuals switch groups periodically which allows them to discuss several topics during a single event. Each of the group is hosted by an expert from the field, in our case a representative of our partners mentioned above, to whom participants can pose questions.

Our “Business for a Fair World” World Café will be held on 11th October 2017 from 17:00 till 19:30 at ULB in Brussels, room H2213.

Besides the World Café itself, which will be the main part of our event, you can also look forward to a general presentation  providing basic introduction about Fair Trade and its current role in Belgium, in particular as it seeks the title of Fair Trade nation. The event will close with the opportunity for some informal networking where Fair Trade juice will be served. For more information on program content, please take a look on the detailed agenda below.

The event is free of charge.

Please, register here and mark your interest here.

 

 

Internships 

Are you interested in Fair Trade and want a fruitful professional experience? Join us as a trainee or a volunteer! WFTO-Europe will help you improve your knowledge making sure you get the most out of it. Check our open positions:

Communication and Membership & Monitoring

Project Management and Fundraising

 

Application deadline: 19th of October 2017, 12pm (CEST)

 

Volunteer

Even a few hours per week (on a regular basis) can make a difference for Fair Trade!

If you are interested in volunteering (working on specific areas such as fundraising, projects or communication), send your CV and a 1-page Cover Letter in English to administration@wfto-europe.org.

Volunteers are welcome at any time !

If you think you have other useful skills for WFTO-Europe, please do not hesitate to contact us via email at administration[at]wfto-europe.org.

 

Previous interns’ testimonials

Maria Batista

Intern in Brussels, January 2017 – July 2017

DSC_0897“I had the pleasure of working for WFTO-Europe as an intern and I had a truly incredible experience in the past 6 months. Working for a small organization granted me the opportunity to contribute to the organization’s performance in many different areas where I could develop my professional skills to a further extent by exploring different fields or work within the organization.  

I acquired knowledge about the Fair Trade movement and I attended several EU events where I could gain insight on different topics related to International Development. What I liked the most about this internship was the fact that I had a coach who guided me through the different tasks but who would still ensure I carried out my job autonomously.


I would recommend this internship to anyone who is looking for a challenging job and willing to learn more about business ethics and worldwide issues!”

 

Stefano Carulli

Intern in Brussels, July 2016 – January 2017

DSC_0897“My experience as an intern at WFTO-Europe was truly rewarding.

Being part of a small team and working together on a day-to-day basis allowed me to explore a variety of different tasks: from managing a network of almost 90 European Fair Trade organizations to developing several communication strategies so as to raise awareness about the Fair Trade Principles.

However, what I liked the most was the approach of this office to its interns: I never felt disregarded by my team and my opinion was valued and always appreciated. The feedback received from my coordinator was extremely constructive and the synergy between the three of us gave me the chance to complete my tasks in autonomy and with enthusiasm.

If what you are looking for is a rewarding but the same time demanding experience in an international environment where you can develop both professionally as well as a person, then I would highly recommend an internship here at WFTO-Europe.

I am definitely going to miss working here!”

 

Read the testimonials of our previous interns here.

International Fair Trade Towns Conference in
Saarbrücken from the 14th/15th to 17th of September 2017

Stakeholders from around the globe in Saarbrücken
In keeping with the motto “Fair Trade across generations”, stakeholders from numerous countries will come together this September to discuss the latest developments in fair trade as well as their experiences and ideas concerning the Fair Trade Towns Campaign. The conference will be held in the cross-border region QuattroPole and will therefore also be taking place in Luxembourg and in France. As well as workshops for networking purposes on a European level and for enhancing project partnerships in the global South, there will be organised work groups on offer, concerned with the sustainable development goals of the United Nations and with various aspects of fair trade. Further topics will include innovations in social media, city marketing and positive collaboration between Fair Trade towns, schools as universities. All information about the conference and details about signing up can be found on the conference website www.quattrofair.org.

Fair Trade-Towns around the world
The Fair Trade Towns Campaign is a unique global movement in 30 countries. Approximately 2000 towns and cities around the world carry the Fair Trade Town title including London, Brussels, Rome, Saarbrücken, San Francisco and Copenhagen. Great Britain is considered the pioneer of the campaign as it is where the movement began in the year 2000 and it has since become a true model for success. In Germany, more than 480 communities carry the Fair Trade Town title. Fair Trade Towns promote fair trade on a community level and are the result of a successful network of individuals from civil society, politics and economy who take a stand for fair trade in their homes.

The Capital of Fair Trade

The host city of this year’s event, Saarbrücken, holds the title Capital of Fair Trade 2015. This award is given as part of the competition “Capital of Fair Trade” organised by the Service Agency Communities in One World. This year’s award winners will be selected prior to the International Fair Trade Towns Conference on the 14th of September 2017. As well as recognising the engagement demonstrated by the participating communities, this year’s competition will award 200,000 Euros split across five winning communities. In addition, there will be a further five prizes in the value of 10,000 Euros awarded to selected outstanding individual projects. More details can be found at http://www.faire-hauptstadt.de

The conference is organised by the Fairtrade Initiative Saarbrücken (FIS, http://www.faires-saarbruecken.de) and the QuattroFair partner organisations in Luxembourg, Metz and Trier. The conference will take place in cooperation with the International Fair Trade Towns Steering Committee, Fairtrade International and the World Fair Trade Organization.

Location:
14th September 2017: Daytime programme in the congress hall in Saarbrücken, Hafenstraße 12 66111 Saarbrücken as well as further locations in Saarbrücken.
Further information: http://www.faire-hauptstadt.de
Press contact: Michael Marwede, michael.marwede@engagement-global.de, Tel. +49 22820717-332
15th September 2017 – 17th September 2017: University of Saarland – Campus Stuhlsatzenhausweg 10, 66123 Saarbrücken. On the university campus and in Saarbrücken (D), Metz (F) and Luxembourg (L) and Trier (D).
Further information: http://www.quattrofair.org
ORGA-Team- PR and Public Relations of the Fairtrade Initiative Saarbrücken:
Diana Rode, d.rode@faires-saarland.de, Mobil: 0176 80218865
Heike Zimmermann, heikemariazimmermann@t-online.de, Mobil: +49 151 15695341

You can download the first press release at the following links: English, French, GermanSpanish

And the second at these: English, French, German, Spanish

 

Please get in contact with communication@wfto-europe.org if you have any events you would like to see included!

Last Wednesday, the 2nd of August, was calculated as the Earth Overshoot Day (previously known as Ecological Debt Day), which is a specific point of the year when human overall consumption exceeds the capacity of Earth natural resources generated for that particular year. It means that from that day on we, as humans, live on ecological debt for the rest of the year. Of course, this is a debt which  is (almost) impossible to pay.

This year the Earth Overshoot Day came one day earlier than last year, illustrating thus a trend which has existed for decades.

To calculate the exact date, the Global Footprint Network determines Earth´s biocapacity and divides this by the world ecological footprint we have made. The final date is then calculated by multiplying the quotient by number of the days of the year.

The key component for calculation of the Earth Overshoot Day is thus human consumption represented by the world ecological footprint. This is an ecological concept taking into account all human consumption of natural resources and converting it into the number of so called global hectares necessary for securing our needs. This can be calculated for individuals, cities, nations or the whole world. Based on this year’s calculations, current world population would need 1,7 planets to secure its needs for this year (at the current level of consumption).

You can calculate your individual ecological footprint here.

What can we do?

Simply put: we must practice responsible consumption and attempt to reduce our individual ecological footprint. Sometimes little things are enough – using public transport rather than a car, walking more often, turning off the lights, not producing unnecessery waste, or sourcing daily products locally and buying Fair Trade products.

Responsible consumption and production is one of the Sustainable Development Goals introduced by United Nations in 2015 and Respect for the Envrionment is also one of the Ten Principles of Fair Trade used by WFTO. In WFTO-Europe we support producers and organizations which maximize the use of raw materials from sustainably managed sources in their ranges and minimize their impact on the environment. All members of WFTO are comitted to the environement, and it is essential that we work to keep our ecological usage to a minimum.