In this Issue:

Feedback on WFTO-Europe AGM

WFTO-E Annual Topic: Activities on Migration by EZA Fairer Handel GmbH

EP Conference: ‘Promoting sustainable value chains by linking SMEs to Fair Trade producers in the Global South’

WFTO-Europe at the EDDs: Linking Fair Trade to the Sustainable Development Goals

Biennial Conference in Delhi Updates

International Fair Trade Towns Conference 2017

Update on WFTO-Europe membership and GS status

News from the Region

News from the Board

Member in the Spotlight

Fair Trade Related News, Publications & Other tools

 

Agenda:

14th-17th September:
International Fair Trade Towns Conference 2017, Saarbrücken, Germany

2nd-3rd October:
Fair Trade Forum, Uppsala, Sweden

9th-13th November:
WFTO Biennial Conference, New Delhi, India

 

Let us know about your events!

 

European FairTrade Shuttle!

 

WFTO Europe @ home

 

Feedback on WFTO-Europe AGM

Board meeting June

Dear WFTO-Europe members,

On behalf of WFTO-Europe Board of Directors and staff, I would like to thank once more the people and members’ organisations who made our first ONLINE Annual General Meeting (AGM) a real success.

As stated in the letter sent to all of you by our President (Giorgio Dal Fiume), “we were glad to see that we do not only reach the needed quorum to validate our AGM, but – much more relevant – we got an attentive participation of the people beyond the display, who raised up several questions and comments. We were delighted to feel a very warm, friendly and trustful atmosphere during the meeting, which is for us the most relevant ingredient to feed the relationship between the WFTO-Europe Board and its members, as well as the most important goal to achieve”.

The minutes of the AGM, which was held on the 21st of June 2017 via GoToMeeting (an online platform) are accessible to all the members in the Internal “members section” of the WFTO-Europe website. (Should you have any problems to log in, please send an email to communication[at]wfto-europe.org)

I also would like to take this opportunity to remind you the Extraordinary AGM will take place in New Delhi on the 12 of November 2017, during the WFTO Biennial Conference. Five new Board members will be appointed at that time. Hence, I do encourage you to register as soon as possible to the Conference in Delhi as well as to send to administration[at]wfto-europe.org your candidature if you are interested in taking over the role of Board member within our organisation.

Please also note that WFTO-Europe Annual Report 2016-2017 is officially on and accessible to everyone.

I wish you a wonderful summer break.

Best regards,

Francesca Giubilo

Regional Coordinator

 

WFTO-E Annual Topic: Activities on Migration by EZA Fairer Handel GmbH

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In the last issue of our newsletter, we shared the results from our survey on how members relate Fair Trade to the Annual Topic of Migration. The results showed that some members already work on the topic. That is why we would like to dedicate this session on our Newsletter to present you their activities, which are great examples on how Fair Trade relates to Migration.

One strong case on this, is the activities of our member EZA Fairer Handel GmbH in Austria. They have been engaged in two main actions on migration: a “Drop Earring Not Bombs” project as well as a Cooperation and Producer Tour with representatives from Fair Trade Lebanon for the World Fair Trade Day (WFTDay).

The Drop Earring Not Bombs” project aims at employing Syrian refugees in Turkey to produce earrings. These are sold as handmade jewellery that tell unique stories and make a meaningful impact on the lives of refugees who do not have the ability to work in Turkey. EZA Fairer Handel GmbH has been supporting the initiative. They purchased an order of 2000 earrings to sell in the Austrian world shops. They also produced communication material to raise awareness about the project.

The Cooperation and Producer Tour with representatives from Fair Trade Lebanon for WFTDay had three aims. Firstly, to inform the general public about the situation concerning refugees in Lebanon. Secondly, to raise awareness about the engagement of FT Lebanon to prevent migration within their country by providing people in the rural area income. This was made possible by growing and processing traditional Lebanese products such as those imported by EZA Fairer Handel GmbH. Furthermore, by training Syrian women on how to process food as an income generating activity especially after their return to Syria. Thirdly, to promote the products made by the cooperative Fourzol (and other FT Lebanon products) as well as the work of the cooperative Fourzol.

The activities to reach these aims focused on inviting representatives to come to Austria for 8 days where EZA Fairer Handel GmbH organized several public events and interviews with the press. EZA Fairer Handel GmbH also promoted the products on FT Lebanon around WFTDay.

The inspirational work of EZA Fairer Handel GmbH shows Migration is another of the many issues that can be addressed with Fair Trade.

 

 

Europe in a nutshell

 

EP Conference: ‘Promoting sustainable value chains by linking SMEs to Fair Trade producers in the Global South’

10th May Event_Photos (4)

On the 10th of May 2017, WFTO-Europe and other actors from our network had the pleasure to attend an event at the European Parliament (EP) organized by the Fair Trade Advocacy Office. The event addressed the potential to link Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to Fair Trade producers in the South for the enhancement of sustainable value chains.

The event was hosted by MEP Bernd Lange, Chair of the EP Committee on International Trade, and MEP Dita Charanzová, Vice-Chair of the EP Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection.

The first part of the programme consisted of a Workshop “Linking Fair Trade producers to small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs): existing initiatives and challenges” presenting different case studies. For example, Ms. Jane Katahwire Mbabazi, Vice President of the Ankole Coffee Producers Cooperative Limited (ACPCU) came all the way from Uganda to present their work and societal impact as a Fair Trade coffee producer. Also WFTO-Europe’s member  Equo Garantito, represented by its General Manager Ms. Eleonora Dal Zotto together with Ms Silvia Fontana, Marketing Manager at GALA Cosmetici, had the chance to present how an Italian SME specialised in natural cosmetics can cooperate with a Fair Trade Organisation.

The second part was an exciting panel discussion and open debate on how the EU can improve its support to partnerships between Fair Trade producers and SMEs. One of the points made was that Fair Trade should not merely be a niche market but that it should be scaled up to be the general market.

The event ended with a Fair Trade cocktail at the European Parliament Salons. This part was opened with speeches from WFTO Chief Executive Natalia Leal and Fair Trade International Chief Executive Officer Dario Soto. Both speakers stressed that Fair Trade is not just a label, it is also a concept. The label is a tool to ensure this.

Download the conference report here.

 

WFTO-Europe at the EDDs: Linking Fair Trade to the Sustainable Development Goals

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In the beginning of June, WFTO-Europe participated in the European Development Days. Here, we shared a stand with Fair Trade Advocacy Office and Fair Trade International promoting Fair Trade as the way to Sustainable Development. Furthermore, we attended sessions together with some of the most important decision makers and advocates in the world: Presidents (from Norway, Ghana, Senegal, Bolivia and other countries), UN and EU representatives, NGO representatives, young leaders, entrepreneurs, CEOs and professors.

The agenda focused greatly on the involvement of the private sector and SMEs to achieve the Sustainable development Goals. Several sessions were on exactly this topic discussing how entrepreneurship in developing countries is one the ways to fight poverty and how sustainable business is the way to fight climate change.

Is was a true inspiration for the WFTO-Europe team to experience this market-based approach to development as it is in strong alignment with the Fair Trade Principles. The Fair Trade movement aims to fight poverty by creating opportunities to disadvantaged producers linking SDG 1 with Fair Trade Principle 1. Therefore, sessions focusing on creating economic development through agriculture were directly linked to our work in the Fair Trade Movement.

Other sessions focused on the power of female entrepreneurs in developing countries and the challenges they face with being women. These women do not only contribute to the achievement of SDG 1 and Fair Trade Principle 1, they also create gender equality and reduce discrimination achieving SDG 5 and Fair Trade Principle 6. At WFTO, we have recognized the huge potential of working women which let to our global campaign on International Women´s Day 2017 shedding lights on the unfair disadvantages women face in the workplace.

The agenda even included sessions specifically focusing on issues in the fashion industry and how to achieve the SDGs through ethical fashion. Sessions included representatives from Vivienne Westwood, Ethical Fashion Initiative, Danish Fashion Institute and Milano Fashion Institute. Here, we learned that ethical fashion is not only a trend, it is a new business model with an annual billion dollar potential that the industry must embrace, not only for profitable reasons but also to achieve sustainable development.

All in all, the European Development Days demonstrated that our “Trade Not Aid” approach is a strong way to create sustainable development emphasizing that the SDGs cannot be done without having everyone on board – we need the private sector as well as citizens.

This is a great confirmation of how important our network is and gives us the motivation to keep working for Sustainable Development through Fair Trade.

 

 

WFTO around the World

 

Biennial Conference in Delhi Updates

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Update 1: Mohammed Islam Design Awards: Call for entries 

Just a quick reminder that WFTO is accepting entries for the 9th Mohammed Islam Design awards. Deadline is 30 October 2017.  You may choose to submit up to one entry for each of the five categories:

  1. Best  new home ware product (including household textiles)
  2. Best new  fashion accessory (which may include jewellery)
  3. Best new  product made of recycled materials
  4. Best new consumer food or beverage packaging
  5. Best new Christmas decoration

Show your amazing products!

Kindly read the instructions first before submitting entries. Read here.
Please use the online form to submit entries, click here.

 

Update 2: Member’s registration fee does not apply to suspended members

Suspended members are not eligible to register for the WFTO Conference in Delhi using the discounted member’s registration rate. For queries on the Guarantee System requirements, contact membership@wfto.com; for queries about the WFTO fee payment, contact administration@wfto.com. For queries on the Delhi conference, please contact delhi2017@wfto.com.

 

Update 3: Hotel accommodation: no more single rooms available

More than 60% of the rooms available at the Crowne Plaza for the conference period (between 9 to 13 November 2017) have already been booked. In addition, the hotel venue has run out of single rooms allocated to the WFTO Conference. There is a waiting list, in case a single room becomes available, but there is no guarantee. If you want to be included in the list, please contact delhi2017@wfto.com.

 

Update 4: WFTO-Europe AGM will take place on the 12th of November in New Delhi.

 

Read more on the conference here.

 

International Fair Trade Towns Conference 2017

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The 11th International Fair Trade Towns Conference will be held on the 14-17th September in Saarbrucken, Germany. There are until now almost 2000 Fair Trade Towns in 31 countries on five continents, a meaningful numbers that continues to grow. This is something to celebrate in September!

With the main site in Germany, the conference will be held in four cities in three European countries: Luxembourg City in Luxemburg, Metz in France as well as Saarbrücken and Trier in Germany. This will be made in corporation with the three national Fair Trade Towns campaigns.

Fair Trade Across Generation

This year, the conference theme will be ‘Fair Trade Across Generations’ emphasizing on how the Fair Trade movement reaches all generations and initiates partnerships on a local, regional and international level. Furthermore, Fair Trade’s commitment to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals is critical for a worthy future for our next generations.

WFTO will be among the panelists to raise awareness of our Guarantee System and label.

Read more about the conference here and register here.

 

The WFTO Guarantee System

 

Update on WFTO-Europe membership and GS status

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Dear members,

We are proud to inform you that right now around 35 Organizations in our network successfully passed through the WFTO Guarantee System while the others are at different steps of the process. At the regional level, WFTO-Europe is processing 5 monitoring applications while we are managing 5 new membership requests.

As agreed in the WFTO-Europe AGM in 2015, WFTO-Europe has finalised and made available to European members the list of FT unverified suppliers so as to foster collaboration and synergy amongst the members. 

News from the Region

WFTO-Europe attended the Belgian Fair Trade Federation’s Business Day together with Fair Trade Advocacy Office and Fair Trade Belgium. Here, Francesca Giubilo presented about the Guarantee System and value of our network.

WFTO-Europe is pleased to welcome its new provisional members: Esgii, Fair-Netz (Netzwerk regionaler Fair-Handelszentren e.V.), Scottish Fair Trade Forum, Mekhada, Ojoba Collective, Dece Clothing, Dassie Decor  and Ulandsforeningen Svalerne.

We are also happy to have many new guaranteed members: Island Spirit, Sackeus, AlchemiA VOF, OXFAM Magasins du Monde, Fair Monkey AB, Amandla, Simbolica, dwp eG, Elecosy and Tilingo Nepra VOF.

 

News from the Board

The last board meeting was held on the 6th of July in Brussels. Please log in here if you want to access all the Board Meetings held by WFTO-Europe.  The next one is planned to take place on 26th of July, via Skype.

 

 

Member in the Spotlight: Les Jardins de Gaïa

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It was in 1994 that Arlette Rohmer set up Les Jardins de Gaïa, guided by her passion for tea, organic farming and biodynamics, and so began a personal adventure filled with wonderful encounters in the four corners of the world.

These encounters, the result of a genuine commitment, have resulted in lasting relationships with producers, who for the most part have become friends and have allowed the Alsace-based company to gradually build up an exceptional range of organic and fair-trade teas and herbal teas.

Les  Jardins de Gaïa is aimed both at tea novices and connoisseurs, with a diversity which is unique in the market, ranging from the classics to the rarest and most precious leaves!

Whether the teas are plain or flavoured, white, green, oolong, black, rooibos or herbal, what they have in common is that they are organic, for the most part fair-trade and increasingly biodynamic.

Jardins de Gaïa are now leaders in the French market for organic and fair-trade teas and herbal teas and are developing numerous projects abroad.

The company’s well-known speciality: original, sparkling and poetic “in-house recipes” created and produced in Alsace – are hand-made at the production site, or by local eSATS (assistance and service centres helping disabled people into work). Because the company works with raw materials which come, for the most part, from faraway countries, one of its primary objectives is to support the local economy and local jobs.

Another sign of its commitment, the “Militant Teas and Rooibos” range is one of its flagship lines and emblematic of the brand. Les Jardins de Gaïa gives a share of the profits from the sale of these products to its favourite charities for which these recipes were created. Whether it’s helping to set up young farmers, providing training courses for the protection of bees, helping to set up micro-enterprises or giving seeds to disadvantaged farmers -every tube or packet sold gives them a bit more support.

At the same time, a partnership committee works at the heart of the company. Every year it works to support various cultural and associative causes, for the benefit of children – or more generally for mankind and the planet, though donations or patronage.

Finally, the Tea House, on the Les Jardins de Gaïa premises, is dedicated to the ancestral art of preparing and drinking tea. At the crossroads between East and West, open to the world and to tea, it was designed to promote contemplation among visitors. There are exhibitions of photos, paintings, ceramics, etc., and traditional Chinese and Japanese tea ceremonies are regularly organised in the tea pavilion.

In this calm and restful place, the visitor has the opportunity to taste delicious blends, some of which are unique, and bring the magic home by exploring the range available in the shop. Truly an exotic and Zen journey in the heart of Alsace!

See their website here.

 

FAIR TRADE RELATED NEWS, PUBLICATIONS AND OTHER TOOLS

General news on Fair Trade:

About/From the Network:

 

 

 

Member in the Spotlight: Les Jardins de Gaïa

It was in 1994 that Arlette Rohmer set up Les Jardins de Gaïa, guided by her passion for tea, organic farming and biodynamics, and so began a personal adventure filled with wonderful encounters in the four corners of the world.

These encounters, the result of a genuine commitment, have resulted in lasting relationships with producers, who for the most part have become friends and have allowed the Alsace-based company to gradually build up an exceptional range of organic and fair-trade teas and herbal teas.

02062017-Thé-de-la-semaine---Thé-et-Humanisme-001

Les  Jardins de Gaïa is aimed both at tea novices and connoisseurs, with a diversity which is unique in the market, ranging from the classics to the rarest and most precious leaves!

Whether the teas are plain or flavoured, white, green, oolong, black, rooibos or herbal, what they have in common is that they are organic, for the most part fair-trade and increasingly biodynamic.

Jardins de Gaïa are now leaders in the French market for organic and fair-trade teas and herbal teas and are developing numerous projects abroad.

The company’s well-known speciality: original, sparkling and poetic “in-house recipes” created and produced in Alsace – are hand-made at the production site, or by local eSATS (assistance and service centres helping disabled people into work). Because the company works with raw materials which come, for the most part, from faraway countries, one of its primary objectives is to support the local economy and local jobs.

Another sign of its commitment, the “Militant Teas and Rooibos” range is one of its flagship lines and emblematic of the brand. Les Jardins de Gaïa gives a share of the profits from the sale of these products to its favourite charities for which these recipes were created. Whether it’s helping to set up young farmers, providing training courses for the protection of bees, helping to set up micro-enterprises or giving seeds to disadvantaged farmers -every tube or packet sold gives them a bit more support.

At the same time, a partnership committee works at the heart of the company. Every year it works to support various cultural and associative causes, for the benefit of children – or more generally for mankind and the planet, though donations or patronage.

Finally, the Tea House, on the Les Jardins de Gaïa premises, is dedicated to the ancestral art of preparing and drinking tea. At the crossroads between East and West, open to the world and to tea, it was designed to promote contemplation among visitors. There are exhibitions of photos, paintings, ceramics, etc., and traditional Chinese and Japanese tea ceremonies are regularly organised in the tea pavilion.

In this calm and restful place, the visitor has the opportunity to taste delicious blends, some of which are unique, and bring the magic home by exploring the range available in the shop. Truly an exotic and Zen journey in the heart of Alsace!

See their website here.

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Last week, WFTO-Europe participated in the European Development Days together with some of the most important decision makers and advocates in the world: Presidents (from Norway, Ghana, Senegal, Bolivia and other countries), UN and EU representatives, NGO representatives, young leaders, entrepreneurs, CEOs and professors.

The agenda focused greatly on the involvement of the private sector and SMEs to achieve the Sustainable development Goals. Several sessions were on exactly this topic discussing how entrepreneurship in developing countries is one the ways to fight poverty and how sustainable business is the way to fight climate change.

Is was a true inspiration for the WFTO-Europe team to experience this market-based approach to development as it is in strong alignment with the Fair Trade Principles. The Fair Trade movement aims to fight poverty by creating opportunities to disadvantaged producers linking SDG 1 with Fair Trade Principle 1. Therefore, sessions focusing on creating economic development through agriculture were directly linked to our work in the Fair Trade Movement.

Other sessions focused on the power of female entrepreneurs in developing countries and the challenges they face with being women. These women do not only contribute to the achievement of SDG 1 and Fair Trade Principle 1, they also create gender equality and reduce discrimination achieving SDG 5 and Fair Trade Principle 6. At WFTO, we have recognized the huge potential of working women which let to our global campaign on International Women´s Day 2017 shedding lights on the unfair disadvantages women face in the workplace.

The agenda even included sessions specifically focusing on issues in the fashion industry and how to achieve the SDGs through ethical fashion. Sessions included representatives from Vivienne Westwood, Ethical Fashion Initiative, Danish Fashion Institute and Milano Fashion Institute. Here, we learned that ethical fashion is not only a trend, it is a new business model with an annual billion dollar potential that the industry must embrace, not only for profitable reasons but also to achieve sustainable development.

All in all, the European Development Days demonstrated that our “Trade Not Aid” approach is a strong way to create sustainable development emphasizing that the SDGs cannot be done without having everyone on board – we need the private sector as well as citizens.

Everyone plays a crucial role in the achievement of Sustainable Development. Become an Agent for Change and become a part of the achievement already today.

Childrens Day FT Principle 5 photo credit

Today marks the World Day against child labour. It is estimated that 215 million children worldwide are in work. This prevents the child from getting an education and from having time to play as an important part of a child’s mental development denying them their right to be a child. In half the cases of child labour, children even face physical and/or mental violence, lack of nutrition and care etc. This violates the children’s rights from the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The Fair Trade movement works towards eliminating child labour with Fair Trade Principle 5 which states “No Child Labour, No Forced Labour”. By doing this, the movement supports the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) such as SDG 4 “Quality Education” or 12 “Responsible Consumption and Production”. All members that are guaranteed by WFTO-Europe, adhere to the Fair Trade Principles ensuring that each principle is kept throughout their supply chain. When you buy products with the WFTO label, you are guaranteed that the product has not been produced and traded with child labour.

Child labour is especially an immense problem in the chocolate and textile industry where human rights and children’s rights violations in the productions are a well-known reality.

In the chocolate industry, this issue comes from child slavery in many West African cocoa fields. Here, children are victims of human trafficking and are forced to work long hours for no payment in the cocoa fields losing their childhood.

In the textile industry, the issue of child labour comes from consumer demands in Europe. With Fast Fashion, companies constantly seek to minimize prices resulting in the use of child workers who are willing to work for a low payment or who are being tricked into work.

A report by UNICEF and the Guardian explains that:

Child labour is a particular issue for fashion because much of the supply chain requires low-skilled labour and some tasks are even better suited to children than adults. In cotton picking, employers prefer to hire children for their small fingers, which do not damage the crop”.

 

When we buy cheap clothes in Europe, we do so at the sacrifice of children in the developing world. Therefore, we have the power to change these abuses.

Look out for our Fair Trade label next time you buy chocolate or textile products. For example, you can buy chocolate from GEPA or Bouga Cacao and clothing from People Tree, Elvang, Sari Fair Fashion or Re-Wrap.

You can help make an end to these devastating abuses. You can help protect children’s rights and achieve the SDGs. Everyone can be an Agent for Change with small efforts.

Be an Agent for Change by sharing this on Facebook or Twitter. Learn more about how to be an Agent for Change and make a real change to society here.

 

Photo credit (edited by WFTO-Europe): Adam Lai

Reflections by Eva Marie Wüst Vestergaard, Assistant Communications Officer at WFTO-Europe

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Badou is a village in Western Togo close to Ghana, a region that produces cocoa and coffee. A company Gebana is investing here to raise awareness about organic and Fair Trade productions. Last summer, I came to Badou in an old mini bus full of locals. We drove up and down the twisty mountain roads. The roads went through rainforests passing small villages of clay houses. We arrived in the center of Badou and from there we had to take motor bikes on sandy bumpy paths, also through the rainforest. Every time we passed a small village, local children playing outside would sing “Yovo Yovo Bonsoir” and wave at us. We stopped by a mountain where we met a local man in tall rubber boots. The owner of a cocoa plant who was going to show us his small industry. We went by foot into the forest, passed rice fields and began to see cocoa- and banana trees. The owner proudly explained us when cocoa fruits were ripe and he plugged one that was too old. We had to cross small streams and rivers with slippery stones. As I was nervous, the owner carried me when crossing. On the way up, we met some local children and parents happily hiking. The farmer plugged mini bananas that cannot be compared to the ones I have had in Europe. On top, more families were playing by a waterfall. Many of them seemed to be visitors to the area. We went down again, where we saw a school and small tree houses in which the cocoa was stored.

I was with a friend, a local who was born and raised in Badou and had made his way to the capital of Togo, Lomé, to go to college. If it wasn’t for him, I would not have had the pleasure to have this unique experience. What was so special about this place was the feeling of community. Everyone took care of each other, everyone took care of me as their guest.

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I will probably never be able to visit the other kind of cocoa plants that West Africa hosts. The reality here is very different and so heart breaking that I could never be aloud access to witness it with my own eyes. But many of us have watched the documentary “the Dark Side of Chocolate” which reveals how cocoa slavery in Ivory Coast is a reality and not just a rumor as excused by companies and government officials.

In these cocoa plants, you will find human rights violations starting with child labor. Not only are children employed and prevented from going to school, losing their childhood. They work with unsafe tasks such as climbing trees, doing heavy lifting, working with dangerous tools and pesticides often injuring them. The work is hard and lasts all day. They are beaten and whipped. The food is cheap and doesn’t provide the right nutrition. They don’t receive any payment.

The documentary shows how children end in these situations through human trafficking. Children will be tricked into coming to work in the plants with fake promises, or the children’s families are tricked into selling their child. In some cases, children are even kidnapped. Those who try to escape are being beaten.

This is slavery.

Fair Trade chocolate is slave free chocolate. Fair Trade chocolate adheres to the Fair Trade Principles: No child labor, no forced labor, good working conditions, fair payment etc. You make a massive difference when you buy chocolate from organizations that are guaranteed by WFTO such as GEPA and Bouga Cacao.

Yet, I have too often heard people state that Fair Trade chocolate problematically is more expensive. Even though this is not always correct, I have to ask: You will might save a euro but does it provide more value?

There is slave chocolate and there is slave free chocolate. Which value do you prefer?

U-landsU-landsforeningen Svalerne Logoforeningen Svalerne in Aarhus was founded in 1973. The national association – The Swallows in Denmark – was founded in 1963. In the first twenty years of our existence the national association send volunteers to Bangladesh and India for helping poor people. Today we support grass root organizations in those countries.

Parallel to this U-landsforeningen Svalerne in Aarhus has been involved with Fair Trade producers in developing countries. One of our founders was volunteer in Bangladesh where she started a handicraft project for women (later handed over to CORR-the Jute Works) – that’s how we got involved in Fair Trade. The Fair Trade Gruppen activity started as one of several workgroups under U-landsforeningen Svalerne in Aarhus. We started in the 70s with importing goods from CORR-The Jute Works in Bangladesh. The foundation is to practice “Fair Trade”. The main part of the import is still from Bangladesh but also from Chile and other countries.

The overshadowing objective is to help in fighting suffering and injustice in the world. We do import and sell mainly handicrafts from developing countries. The import is from producer groups that are active in fighting poverty, suppression and underdevelopment. The trade is on terms that secure the producers a fair pay for their labor. It is the goal to promote the alternative trade with goods from developing countries. Any surplus from this trade is used to promote this form of trading.

Click here to go to their website!

 

Human Chain (1)

 

Today is the World Fair Trade Day where Agents for Change from all over the world will honor Fair Trade, our way to achieve sustainable development. For this day, fair traders, consumers, policy makers and advocates form human chains to symbolize solidarity and commitment to people and the planet.

“This day we celebrate the world we wish to be! A world where people all over the world no matter who they are and what they do have the same rights and the same opportunities. We celebrate a world where fairness and global justice are the leading principles of political acts, a world where Fair Trade is the normal rule. But, in this day, we also go further than dreaming and show how all together we can make this fair world come true. We are the agent for change. With our actions, our daily choices we can shape the future of our society. Therefore, join our movement, our human chain and help us promote Fair Trade as a key driver of a fair and sustainable world” says the WFTO-Europe Coordinator, Francesca Giubilo.

This year, the WFTO network puts attention of how we are Agents for Change. We believe that everyone can be an Agent for Change and help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. We have the power to create change, not just as policy makers and advocates, but also as consumers with the small choices we make in our everyday life. When you support Fair Trade you help eliminate poverty, discrimination and other human rights violations.

Last night, WFTO-Europe celebrated this day together with other actors from the Fair Trade Movement at Café BOOM in Brussels. Here, we had the chance to form a human chain to show that we are all linked giving every one of us the power to be Agents for Change. We also took up the Fairtrade Challenge by sharing Fair Trade chocolate with all attendees.

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During the event, participants were asked how they are Agents for Change. Participants came with a wide range of examples on how you can be an Agent for Change even with small efforts. People stated that they buy Fair Trade products and presents, attend Fair Trade events and support Fair Trade campaigns. For example, an attendee answered that she is a “Fair Trade chocaholic” and another attendee claimed to have been drinking half of the global Fair Trade coffee production. But even in small doses, purchasing Fair Trade coffee has a massive impact. Learn why here.

Follow the World Fair Trade Day and Agents for Change campaign on our Twitter. Learn how you can be an Agent for Change and make a real difference in this world here.

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By Eva Marie Wüst Vestergaard

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Over a month ago, Peru was hit by heavy floods due to climate changes. Heavy rains resulting in over flooding that damaged houses and bridges resulting in the death of over 60 people killed and making thousands of people homeless.

Our member FairMail works in Peru where they provide photography classes to disadvantaged teenagers, old enough to adhere to the laws of child labour. FairMail uses the teenager’s pictures in their production of cards and give the photographer 50% of the profit made from the picture. In this way, teenagers can finance their own education and contribute to the household finances.

Due to the floods, the office had to close for two weeks whilst the roads were closed resulting in cancelled classes. But this did not stop FairMail’s dream of “a world in which ALL adolescents have equal opportunities to educate and develop themselves.”

Two teenager’s homes were sadly severely damaged with a lack of money for reconstruction in the family. So instead of carrying out photography classes, the FailMail team organized support meetings and help with reconstruction of the damaged houses. They also dedicated a day to help distribute water, food and clothes to different areas.

We had to cancel FairMail’s photography lessons in the days after the flooding as the office wasn’t accessible. But even when the roads re-opened it felt self-centered to have the teenagers work on their photographic ideas when there was so much human suffering so close by. FairMail founder Janneke came up with the idea to grasp the opportunity to open the teenagers’ world to the opportunity to volunteering for the flood relief efforts that were taking place. For example by helping out at the logistics center were the emergency aid was being distributed. Afterwards all the team members shared in the group how they had been affected. When Angelica and Julissa told about the damage to their homes the other FairMail teenagers immediately suggested to go and help them out with the start of the reconstruction efforts. As director of FairMail it makes me very proud that these teenagers reacted this way to help out their affected team members. This way showing that they truly internalized one of FairMail’s main values: goodpanionship.” Peter den Hond from FairMail said.

This case shows how committed WFTO-Europe members are to work better world, and how everyone can be a part of creating change.

Do you want to help create change too? Learn how you can become an Agent for Change.

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By Eva Marie Wüst Vestergaard

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World Fair Trade Day (WFTDay) is approaching and we are excited for this at WFTO-Europe! This year, we will celebrate this with other actors from our network and from the Fair Trade Movement. Here, we will form a human chain to symbolize how we together can make the world fairer.

We are all linked

We believe that everyone can be an Agent for Change and that can all create change together. The WFTO-Europe network strives to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) through the 10 Fair Trade Principles. We work to eradicate poverty by providing opportunities to disadvantaged producers, and we work to fight global warming by ensuring productions that respect the environment. But we cannot do it without you. Without customers that buy Fair Trade products, Fair Trade cannot exist. Therefore, every purchasing decision you make has an impact.

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Be an Agent for Change

Every little effort counts. When you buy Fair Trade chocolate you ensure not to support child labor which too often is the reality in cocoa plants. When you buy Fair Trade coffee you ensure not to support unfair wages and dehumanizing working conditions which too often characterizes how it is to work in coffee plants. When you buy Fair Trade clothes, you ensure consideration of the planet and gender equality which are often sacrificed in the textile industry.

It is not easy to make the world better but with a little effort everyone can contribute to this change. If you are interested in photography, you might find FairMail interesting. If you are interested in beauty, check out Fair Trade beauty products for example from Karethic. If you are interested in arts, surely some of our members that import handcrafts like Siyabonga will be interesting for you.

You can certainly find relations to Fair Trade in your daily life. Check our different members to find products that are interesting to you, or see which members are close to you in your own country. You can also see if you live in a Fair Trade town and how to support this.

If you have difficulties relating, ask yourself and learn about the story behind your clothes next time you get dressed. Ask and learn where your food comes from next time you eat a meal. Or even ask where the kitchen towels come from when doing the dishes. Consider how it has been produced and which impact it has compared to alternative products and brands.

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Together we can create a fairer world

Even the smallest things that we normally take for granted mean something. Join us as an Agent for Change and celebrate World Fair Trade Day with us! Stay updated on our Facebook and Twitter to see how you can be an Agent for Change and be a part of creating a real difference in the world.

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By Eva Marie Wüst Vestergaard

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Yesterday, the 27th of April, the European Parliament adopted the report “EU flagship initiative on the garment sector”. In the lights of the Rana Plaza Anniversary, the report encourages the EU to engage in actions of solving the alarming level of human rights abuses in the garment sector with a focus on three dimensions: Decent work and social standards, transparency and traceability, and a legally binding framework.

This is a positive step towards a fairer garment sector supply chain and a fairer world to people and the planet. Only with a transparent and traceable supply chain, can we ensure that our clothes are produced with integrity.

To promote this, an event was held on the 26th at the European Parliament, “Remembering Rana Plaza – how can we create fair and sustainable supply chains in the garment sector?”. WFTO-Europe was present with colleagues from the Fair Trade family and other actors such as Sarah Ditty, Head of policy at Fashion Revolution and Amirul Haque Amin, President of National Garment Workers Federation in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The event turned out highly successful considering that the majority of the votes were for adopting the report.

In alignment with the report, the Clean Clothes Campaign and 79 organizations, including WFTO-Europe, called on the European Commission to make it legally binding for companies to make their production details public. Read the letter “High time for the European Commission to impose transparency in the garment supply chain” here.

The events took place during Fashion Revolution Week where consumers ask “Who Made My Clothes?” across the world to stress the critical need for transparency in the garment supply chain. Read more about WFTO-Europe’s connection to the revolution here.

The Fashion Revolution is growing and making an enormous impact every day, but it relies on the help from all kinds of actors: organizations, companies, consumers and politicians.

Get involved and join the revolution! See how here.