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!

 

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Fair Trade in Belgium

Today our train brings us to Belgium, one of the first countries where the Fair Trade movement has developed: as soon as 1976 the two pioneer associations, Oxfam-Wereldwinkels and Oxfam-Magasins du Monde, started sensitizing about “Commerce Alternatif”, which has later become “Fair Trade”.

Belgium today is a frontrunner when it comes to Fair Trade: by 2020 it wants to become “pays du commerce equitable”, “the country of Fair Trade”, a challenging objective, but a great perspective for the future of Fair Trade.  The idea is that by 2020, 95% of Belgians will have heard of Fair Trade; every Belgian will buy 15 euros worth of Fair Trade products every year; all major Belgian supermarket chains will sell Fair Trade products ; 51% of Belgian municipalities will be Fair Trade Municipalities; more than half of Belgian provinces will be Fair Trade Provinces; 80% of Federal, Regional and Community Parliaments and Ministries will use at least 2 fair trade products; Fair Trade will be mentioned 600 times in the press.

In 2005, Ghent became Belgium’s first Fair Trade Town and recently committed to buying only Fair Trade products (or other sustainable alternatives) by 2024. Not to forget that the city won the first EU Fair and Ethical Trade City Award in 2018.

In December 2018, Belgian minister De Croo signed, together with the industry and civil society, an ambitious partnership which aims to source all Belgian cocoa from certified sources by 2025. Additionally, by 2030, all cocoa for Belgian chocolate should be sourced without deforestation or prices below a living income.

From the 2nd to the 13th of October, Belgium celebrated Fair Trade during the Semaine du Commerce Equitable”, gathering stakeholders active in the field from all around the country. At the same time, the Fair Trade Marathon took place in Brussels, gathering fair trade experts from all around Europe (and the world) to discuss hot topics and underline the importance of advocacy for Fair Trade. To top it off, the week ended by celebrating World Shop Day, a moment for world shops to open their doors to citizens interested in fair trade and trade justice.

Not to forget that Belgium is home of World Fair Trade Organization-Europe! At the moment we have three Guaranteed members and one Provisional member in the country. Additionally, the Fair Trade Advocacy Office, the lead advocacy partner of the fair trade movement in Europe, is based in Brussels.

Our Guaranteed Members from Belgium

 Oxfam-Magasins du Monde

Oxfam MdM is a citizens’ movement with about 4500 local volunteers active in Wallonie and Bruxelles. Oxfam MdM is widespread in the country, having about 80 world shops, where fair trade products but also second-hand clothes are sold.

The core aim of the movement is that of building socio-economic justice, denouncing and making citizens aware of the unfair production, distribution and consumption system, by creating catchy campaigns and events, involving the community as much as possible. Have a look at their website for more information: https://www.oxfammagasinsdumonde.be/

Belgian Fair Trade Federation

 BFTF is a more recent organization, created in October 2010, is a network bringing together about twenty Fair Trade companies and associations active in Wallonia, Brussels and Flanders. BFTF was founded to promote Fair Trade in Belgium: from one side their internal mission is that of giving the opportunity to its members to gather and empowering their activities. Their external mission is ensuring the representation of FT at the level of the Belgian political powers, in order to facilitate members’ access to state aid moreover, they try to integrate their work with international networks, to disseminate information and raise awareness. Here is their website:http://www.bftf.be/en/

Elecosy

Elecosy is a young company founded in 2013, dedicated to the development of Fair Trade, handmade, eco-friendly, recycled paper products. Their innovative idea of transforming elephant poo into eco-friendly, beautiful paper products, led them to win many prestigious awards in the past. The range of products they make ranges from stationery, to recycled cotton paper decorative products, handwoven cotton products, incense and lifestyle products.

The company is dedicated to people and the planet: all of their products are sourced from companies in Southern Asia dedicated to their principles and with their growing business they hope to be able to provide fairer employment to their suppliers, at the same time Elecosy is also helping and safeguarding elephants’ conservation and welfare. Check out their amazing products: http://www.elecosy.com/

Our Provisional Member from Belgium

Oxfam-Wereldwinkels

Oxfam-Wereldwinkels is also part of the Oxfam family and together with Oxfam-Mdm one of the leading pioneers of Fair Trade organizations in Belgium.

While Oxfam-Magasins du Monde covers the Brussels area and Wallonia, Oxfam-Wereldwinkels is mainly based in the Dutch speaking part of Belgium, Flandres. It comprises more than 200 World shops. They are also striving to defend universal rights for a dignified life through a fairer world trade by public campaigning, actions with youths and schools, and by starting a dialogue with politicians and companies. More information can be found on their website: https://www.oxfamwereldwinkels.be/

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.

A Fair and Sustainable Business Model is Possible! This is the positive and encouraging message we wanted to deliver at our event, organized in the framework of the Belgian Fair Trade Week funded by Enabel, in collaboration with the Fair Trade Advocacy Office, Fair Trade Belgium, Oxfam MdM and Belgian Fair Trade Federation. We invited business actors, government officials, scholars, students and passionate individuals to discuss the challenges faced by sustainable, ethical and social enterprises in their daily business and the possible solutions that could help them overcoming these obstacles. The objective of the event was to show that an alternative business model is perfectly viable if one invests enough passion, values and determination in the project.

The evening started with some interesting presentations on recent research commissioned by WFTO-Europe on Fair Payment and recommendations for implementing it to achieve Local Living Wages for producers, workers and artisans on the one side, and, on the other side, by WFTO Global on Alternative Business Models, presented by Erinch Sahan, WFTO’s Chief Executive. Afterwards, the event evolved into a Round Table discussion with three interesting panellists: Mr. Frank Cockerill, from Elecosy a producer of sustainable paper products made of elephant poo, Mrs. Isabelle Steenebrugge, from La Pachamama a Fair Trade enterprise dealing in handcrafted toys and Mr. Maxime Bacq from Group One, a consultancy for sustainable, green, social, fair trade and similar start-ups. Finally, after some rounds of questions the audience took active part, engaging in working groups, to debate possible solutions to the obstacles raised by the panellists. The final objective was to produce a policy brief to submit as a result and follow-up of the event. In conclusion, one of the most meaningful remarks from the round table discussion was the statement that these kind of alternative business models succeed because they have a heart, they have values and people believing in those values that differentiate them from the crowd.

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.