WFTO-Europe is very happy to present its first biannual external Newsletter, dedicated to all Fair Trade supporters across the world!
You’ll find it here.
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!
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.
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/
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 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/
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.
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.
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:
Application deadline: 19th of October 2017, 12pm (CEST)
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 email@example.com.
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.
Intern in Brussels, January 2017 – July 2017
“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!”
Intern in Brussels, July 2016 – January 2017
“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.