About WFTO Europe

We put people and planet first!

By Eva Marie Wüst Vestergaard

IMG_20170403_152041

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.

IMG_20170325_103655

By Eva Marie Wüst Vestergaard

FG and Ms. jane

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.

Agents for Change badge_ digital sharing_2

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.

Agents for Change badge_ digital sharing_1

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.

BannerWFTD

By Eva Marie Wüst Vestergaard

FullSizeRender

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.

logoThe Scottish Fair Trade Forum was established in 2007 by a group of Fair Trade campaigners, Scotland-based non-governmental organisations and civic society organisations and some Fair Trade businesses supported by the then Scottish Executive, to promote the cause of Fair Trade in Scotland and, in particular, help secure Fair Trade Nation Status for Scotland.

The Scottish Fair Trade Forum seeks to work to help make Scotland a nation that is a global leader in challenging global poverty and recognises the dignity and rights of producers through a commitment to fairness in international trading.

Scotland achieved Fair Trade Nation status in February 2013 and was successfully reassessed in March 2017. Scotland was the second nation after Wales to achieve this status. While we have much to celebrate, our work must continue to build on our achievements to embed the values of Fair Trade in all aspects of Scottish society.

As an independent body with membership open to any individual or organisation interested in meaningfully promoting Fair Trade in Scotland, we aim for a membership base that reflects the diversity of Scottish society – an essential part of being a Fair Trade Nation.

Click here to see their website or follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

 

logo_grey_textonly

 

It is time to bring another member in the spotlight. This time, it falls simultaneously to Fashion Revolution Week as the perfect occasion for us to showcase our member from Denmark, Elvang, who “creates textiles with integrity”:

 

A lot has changed since Lasse and Tina Elvang brought back Peruvian alpaca blankets from their backpacking trip to Peru in 2002. They fell in love with the beauty, softness and luxury of the alpaca textiles that  they found. But they were also overwhelmed by the poverty they experienced around them. They decided to find a unique way to unite a Scandinavian design approach with the pure elegance of the alpaca yarn that would benefit the region in Peru they had visited.

Driven by the knowledge gained from working with alpaca came the passion for creating other home textiles with carefully selected producers using the finest fibres available.

Elvang strive to create designs that stand the test of time always using the most durable yarn qualities that can withstand everyday use. The current collection includes textiles for your kitchen, table and bath while constantly creating a new look in alpaca cushions and throws as well as luxury scarves.

But perhaps what Elvang are most proud of is what have been done for the region of Peru. Elvang has created more than 200 fulltime jobs and educational programmes with their suppliers that have benefited the shepherds, home weavers, knitters and their families. All whilst sustaining an ecological balance and caring for the animals that create the very fibre they take pride in offering to you.

And that’s why Elvang Denmark says: “we create textiles with integrity”.

The aim is to be able to always look the customers in the eyes. Elvang´s clients are very quality conscious and they choose products where design – quality and material all come together. Positive feedback from clients, who have an Elvang product, which they bought 10 years ago and the product still  looks new, is very rewarding.

Today, Elvang operate worldwide, among others on the Scandinavian markets, Germany, France, Holland, The States, Japan and Australia and participate in various trade fairs around Europe. This season they met customers from all over the world at Ambiente in Germany and at Maison & Objet in France. To meet clients and to present new designs is always very exciting for Elvang.

Textiles is Elvang´s universe and they continually extend the product range with focus on products made of only the best possible quality.

Tina og Lasse gående (2)

Read more about Elvang on their website and follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

Learn more about why Elvang’s work is so important for society and its relation to Fashion Revolution here.

 

By Eva Marie Wüst Vestergaard

Group Photo Edited and cropped

Today, the 24th of April, is the Fashion Revolution Day which marks the anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster. A factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh collapsed and killed 1,138 people due to unsafe production facilities. The factory hosted clothing productions of popular fast fashion brands, and its collapse is a main reference to criticism of the fashion industry.

The fashion industry is one of the most criticized for executing unethical business practices being the second most polluting industry worldwide and with heavy human rights violations in the production stage such as those committed at the tragedy at Rana Plaza. Implementing a sustainable textile supply chain – transparent and traceable, ensuring protection of the people and the planet – remains a challenge due to multiple factors. Among others, our choices to go for fast fashion brands.

As stated in the Fashion Revolution report “Fashion Revolution Fanzine #001 Money Fashion Power”:

“Factories around the world are being pushed to deliver ever-larger quantities of clothing faster and cheaper. As a result, factories routinely make employees work extra hours, often without overtime pay or other benefits in return. The pressure on factories to deliver is so intense that workers are often subjected to intimidation, harassment, coercion, pain and injury and are even restricted from taking short breaks to the toilet. The people who make our clothes cannot be paid fairly through this process. This is the grim reality it takes to deliver our desire for ‘choice’ when we’re out shopping.”

Fashion Revolution is at the forefront of pushing the industry for a switch that eliminates these critical issues. After the disaster in 2013, a revolution was formed when this global movement was founded through a civil society organization based in the UK. The organization advocates on the topic with a yearly Fashion Revolution Week, starting on the Rana Plaza Tragedy anniversary day, as a part of their global “Who Made My Clothes” Campaign. This week highlights the topic of traceability and transparency in the textile supply chain with the involvement of consumers and actors from the industry. Via social media, organizations will ask companies “Who made my clothes?” whilst producers will answer “I made your clothes”.

The campaign sends out a clear message to adopt a responsible consumption and embrace more ethical business practices.

WFTO-Europe together with WFTO is supporting Fashion Revolution to promote the Fair Trade Principles that too often are violated in the textile supply chain and to bring Fair Trade Fashion forward.

This is our time to show to the fashion industry as well as to public institutions and international bodies that immediate actions must be taken to solve these appalling abuses.

Read the campaign’s official site and join the revolution here.

By Eva Marie Wüst Vestergaard

FT Principle 10 graphic

 

WFTO-Europe supports Earth Day 2017 on the 22nd of April. This year, the campaign focuses on “Environmental & Climate Literacy” focusing on education of climate change. This relates to our work on educating on responsible production and consumption.

WFTO-Europe’s network works around the 10 Fair Trade Principles of which number 10 stands “Respect for the Environment”. This means that all of our members that produce Fair Trade products live up to strict requirements to protect the environment in their production. Examples are maximizing the use of raw materials from sustainably managed sources and buying locally, reducing energy consumption, minimize greenhouse gasses emissions and waste as well as using organic or low pesticide use productions methods.

Our members that buy and import Fair Trade products must prioritize sustainably managed sources and achieve the least overall impact on the environment possible. All members must use recycled or biodegradable materials and sea dispatching to the extent possible.

Herewith, we can ensure that products with our labels are environmentally friendly. Consumers who choose WFTO guaranteed products hereby help protect the environment. In our network, we see it as our duty to promote our members’ products among consumers to enhance a sustainable consumption that protects people and the planet. In this way, we see ourselves as Agents for Change by showing consumers how they are Agents for Change when choosing Fair Trade products.

Through the Fair Trade Principles, we work to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Our Principle number 10 is directly linked to Goals number 12 and 13 on sustainable consumption and production as well as climate change. When supporting Fair Trade, you help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals!

Everyone can be an Agent for Change. Together, we can all create the change we need to protect people and the planet.

Find out much more about how to become an Agent for Change by following our Agent for Change Campaign which we launch in connection to the World Fair Trade Day on the 13th of May 2017. See the event and campaign page here.

 

In this Issue:

WFTO-Europe next Annual General Meeting – 21st of June online

Fair Trade and migration: Where is the link?

Fashion Revolution Week 2017: Commemorating the Victims of the Rana Plaza Tragedy

World Fair Trade Day 2017: Join our Agents for Change Campaign

Update on WFTO-Europe membership and GS status

News from the Region

News from the Board

Member in the Spotlight

And more!

 

Agenda:

 

27th April:

Re-inventing European NGO networks, Brussels, Belgium

10th May:

European Parliament Conference ‘Promoting sustainable value chains by linking SMEs to Fair Trade producers in the Global South’, Brussels, Belgium

12th May:
WFTO-Europe’s celebration of World Fair Trade Day, Brussels, Belgium

13th May:
World Fair Trade Day, Worldwide

8th – 9th June:
STEM Gender Equality Congress (SGEC), Berlin, Germany

9th – 11th June:
European Solidarity Economy Congress, Athens, Greece

7th – 8th June:

European Development Days, Brussels, Belgium

14th-16th September:

Fair Trade Towns International Conference

9th-13th November :

WFTO Biennial Conference, New Delhi, India

 

Let us know about your events!

 

European FairTrade Shuttle!

 

WFTO Europe @ home

 

WFTO-Europe next Annual General Meeting – 21st of June online

attention-147439_640

 

Dear European members,

As previously communicated to you by email, this is a crucial year for the future governance of WFTO-Europe, since we are going to recruit 4 new board members by the end of the year.

 

Moreover, our General Meeting will be double this year and split into due key moments:

  • 21st of June 2017 (online meeting from 3 to 5 pm; Brussels time). Due to our legal requirements to approve some financial documents (Accounts 2016/Budget 2018,…) in the first 6 months of the year, we are organising for the first time ever an online AGM in June dedicated mainly to the approval of these documents. We will do it via “gotomeeting” platform. You will only need to ensure to have a good connection at that time and to follow our “gotomeeting” instructions to attend the meeting. As you are aware your participation is fundamental to ensure the quorum and consequently the validity of the AGM. Therefore please pencil this date on your diary and free this time to meet us virtually.
  • 13th of November 2017 (Physical meeting, India). During the WFTO Global Conference in Delhi we will have a physical meeting to discuss the implementation of the action plan as well as to elect the 4 new Board of Directors

The main aim of having this double meeting is to enable us to comply with our legal requirements while keeping the meeting in Delhi as the main physical meeting. This last one will be focused on the presentation of the candidates and the final approval of the new Directors, in order to guarantee the secret ballot on the voting procedures as well as to give members more time to think about their eventual candidatures.

As you may be aware, this year 3 out of 7 Board members will end their mandate and 1 will be replaced following his decision to step down. 4 new Directors of the Board will be then elected. Here below a recap of our Board members.

 

Board of Directors Standing for election
Giorgio Dal Fiume (President) End of his 2nd and last mandate
Sophie Tack End of her 2nd and last mandate
Emilie Durochat Still in the Board of Directors
Bertil Högberg Resignation
Marijke Visser End of her 2nd and last mandate
Gabriella D’Amico Still in the Board of Directors
Tadeusz Makulski (Secretary and Treasurer ad interim) Still in the Board of Directors

 

Please find here the official invitation and rules to candidate yourself as Board members. Should you want to have more information about the role of the Directors, please do not hesitate to contact Francesca Giubilo at coordination@wfto-europe.org, or Giorgio Dal Fiume (giorgio.dalfiume@altromercato.it).

Looking forward to hearing from you,

WFTO-Europe staff

 

Fair Trade & Migration: Where is the link?

512px-Vanessa_cardui_migration_in_Europe-blank_map.svg

This year, WFTO-Europe introduced an Annual Topic for the first time ever. The topic of 2017 was chosen to be “Fair Trade & Migration”. In connection to this, WFTO-Europe conducted a study on WFTO-Europe members’ perception of the topic to assess whether a link exists between these two issues. 20 organizations from the network participated.

Overall, the study showed a common belief that Fair Trade and migration are connected. When asked if Fair Trade has something to deal with migration, 70% of the participants agreed, 30 % partially agreed, and no one disagreed. Participants explained this link with the better economic and social conditions and opportunities in the South provided by Fair Trade, particularly in the rural areas, which discourages migration to the North as well as to the cities in the South. All participants also agreed at certain levels that Fair Trade can prevent economic migration, and it was found that the majority would support WFTO activities on the issue.

Nonetheless, although most participants linked the topic to prevention of migration through the creation of economic opportunities, the study also revealed that other migration-related issues can be solved through Fair Trade, specifically in those cases where people must flee from war. The study shed lights on the work WFTO members currently have revolved around refugees. Some members already work with migrant people and have implemented activities targeting migrants. For example, members hire migrants, target migrant countries, make donations to refugee camps and support organizations or campaigns focusing on the area.

A concrete example is the ARGE Weltläden who launched a 3-year campaign in 2016, focusing on raising awareness on migration issues and the role of Fair Trade. Moreover, EZA Fairer Handel GmbH got into a partnership with a Fair Trade partner from Thailand, Green Net, who donated rice which EZA distributed to refugees in Austria through World Shops. EZA also supported the Drop Earrings Not Bombs project, which initiates a handmade earring production hiring Syrian refugees. EZA took part of the production of the Austrian line and sold their earrings in their World Shops.

These cases show that Fair Trade indeed is linked to the issue of migration. Although Fair Trade ultimate aim is not to solve migration, Fair trade practices, focused on helping those living in the South but also supporting the marginalized people in the North, have strong consequences on migration.

In these critical times, our network’s help is needed more than ever. This emphasizes on the relevance and need for involvement on our Annual Topic, which WFTO-Europe will continue to work on within this year.

 

Europe in a nutshell

 

Fashion Revolution Week 2017: Commemorating the Victims of the Rana Plaza Tragedy

Group Photo Edited and cropped

Yesterday, the 24th of April, is the Fashion Revolution Day which marks the anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster. A factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh collapsed and killed 1,138 people due to unsafe production facilities. The factory hosted clothing productions of popular fast fashion brands, and its collapse is a main reference to criticism of the fashion industry.

The fashion industry is one of the most criticized for executing unethical business practices being the second most polluting industry worldwide and with heavy human rights violations in the production stage such as those committed at the tragedy at Rana Plaza. Implementing a sustainable textile supply chain – transparent and traceable, ensuring protection of the people and the planet – remains a challenge due to multiple factors. Among others, our choices to go for fast fashion brands.

As stated in the Fashion Revolution report “Fashion Revolution Fanzine #001 Money Fashion Power”:

“Factories around the world are being pushed to deliver ever-larger quantities of clothing faster and cheaper. As a result, factories routinely make employees work extra hours, often without overtime pay or other benefits in return. The pressure on factories to deliver is so intense that workers are often subjected to intimidation, harassment, coercion, pain and injury and are even restricted from taking short breaks to the toilet. The people who make our clothes cannot be paid fairly through this process. This is the grim reality it takes to deliver our desire for ‘choice’ when we’re out shopping.”

Fashion Revolution is at the forefront of pushing the industry for a switch that eliminates these critical issues. After the disaster in 2013, a revolution was formed when this global movement was founded through a civil society organization based in the UK. The organization advocates on the topic with a yearly Fashion Revolution Week, starting on the Rana Plaza Tragedy anniversary day, as a part of their global “Who Made My Clothes” Campaign. This week highlights the topic of traceability and transparency in the textile supply chain with the involvement of consumers and actors from the industry. Via social media, organizations will ask companies “Who made my clothes?” whilst producers will answer “I made your clothes”.

The campaign sends out a clear message to adopt a responsible consumption and embrace more ethical business practices.

WFTO-Europe together with WFTO is supporting Fashion Revolution to promote the Fair Trade Principles that too often are violated in the textile supply chain and to bring Fair Trade Fashion forward. We encourage the entire network to do the same.

This is our time to show to the fashion industry as well as to public institutions and international bodies that immediate actions must be taken to solve these appalling abuses.

Read the campaign’s official site and join the revolution here.

 

WFTO around the World

 

WFTDay 2017: Join our “Agents for Change” CampaignBannerWFTD

World Fair Trade Day is getting close, and at WFTO-Europe, we are slowly getting ready to celebrate this special day. This year is the third year of WFTO’s Agent For Change Campaign, and once again we are asking people to support our campaign and to form a human chain to symbolize solidarity.

Up to the day and on the day itself, we will support WFTO’s social media campaign promoting World Fair Trade Day with the focus on how everyone can be an agent for change and help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. WFTO-Europe will use the occasion to show how Fair Trade is linked with the Sustainable Development goals, and how consumers can be agents for change by choosing Fair Trade products as well as how our members are agents for change.

Agents for Change badge_ digital sharing_2

WFTO-Europe will focus its activity around this by organizing an event where all Fair Trade actors in Belgium, member of WFTO and not will be invited to celebrate the World Fair Trade Day and to create a human chain. The event will take place in Brussels on the 12th of May, and during the event, we will create materials to share on our social media on the World Fair Trade Day.

To get more outreach, we strongly encourage participation from all of our members 1-2 weeks up to the special day. Please join our social media campaign by sharing our posts and sharing material with us. Make a post explaining why you are an agent for change or how consumers are agents for change when choosing your products. Please do share this with us so we can spread it on our social media. You can also take photos of your organization’s staff forming a human chain as well as photos with the Agents For Change sign. Please share them with us and on your own social media platforms. Remember to use the hashtags #FairTradeDay and #AgentForChange. Find materials and ideas for the message in the campaign brief from WFTO here.

Follow any updates on the event on our event page here.

 

9-13 November 2017: WFTO Global Biennial Conference – pencil it in your diary!

WFTO-Biennial-Conference-Banner-3

The 14th WFTO Biennial Conference will take place on the 9th-13th November 2017 in New Delhi, India. This WFTO Conference is a key moment to gather all Fair Trade actors alongside the supply chain and to shape the future of our big network.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Fair Trade, a Path to Sustainable Development”. This occasion will be used to address the topic of the 10 Fair Trade Principles in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals. Speakers include Fair Trade experts from the public and corporate sector who will provide valuable discussion points for the debate on how Fair Trade achieves sustainable development. One confirmed speaker is Nicolette Naumann, Vice-President of Messe Frankfurt/Ambiente.

This year, participants will also have the chance to join a track ‘Marketing and Quality Assurance’ at the 2017 Organic World Congress (OWC) which runs at the same time and place. Here, “Fair Trade meet organic” linking organic to Fair Trade as a way to an environmental friendly production for knowledge sharing, networking and synergy building.

This is a unique opportunity to engage with actors from the industry at a global level and expand knowledge and ideas on how to get Fair Trade at the forefront of trade and ensure sustainable development through trade. It is a chance to learn from the best and be apart of decision making within the Fair Trade movement.

NOTE!: Members that lack means to attend can apply for scholarships from WFTO. Download guidelines here and submit your application through the online form here. The deadline is the 30th of April.

Read more on the conference here.

 

The WFTO Guarantee System

 

Update on WFTO-Europe membership and GS status

wfto_label_dropshadow_small-188x300

Dear members,

We are proud to inform you that right now around 50 Organizations 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 4 monitoring applications while we are managing 4 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 is pleased to welcome its new members: Siyabonga and Landelijke Vereniging van Wereldwinkels (DAWS).

On the 21st of April, WFTO-Europe attended the Journée de partenaires organised by Oxfam in Brussels. This was a great and inspiring opportunity to hear the stories from 3 partners from the Mali, India and Paraguay and meet the people who constantly work on a voluntarily basis to make the change happen!

 

 

News from the Board

The last board meeting was held on the 4th of April via Skype. 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 28th of April, via Skype.

 

 

Member in the Spotlight: Elvang – Textiles with Integrity

 

logo_grey_textonlyA lot has changed since Lasse and Tina Elvang brought back Peruvian alpaca blankets from their backpacking trip to Peru in 2002. They fell in love with the beauty, softness and luxury of the alpaca textiles that  they found. But they were also overwhelmed by the poverty they experienced around them. They decided to find a unique way to unite a Scandinavian design approach with the pure elegance of the alpaca yarn that would benefit the region in Peru they had visited.

Driven by the knowledge gained from working with alpaca came the passion for creating other home textiles with carefully selected producers using the finest fibres available.

Elvang strive to create designs that stand the test of time always using the most durable yarn qualities that can withstand everyday use. The current collection includes textiles for your kitchen, table and bath while constantly creating a new look in alpaca cushions and throws as well as luxury scarves.

But perhaps what Elvang are most proud of is what have been done for the region of Peru. Elvang has created more than 200 fulltime jobs and educational programmes with their suppliers that have benefited the shepherds, home weavers, knitters and their families. All whilst sustaining an ecological balance and caring for the animals that create the very fibre they take pride in offering to you.

And that’s why Elvang Denmark says: “we create textiles with integrity”.

Tina og Lasse gående (2)

The aim is to be able to always look the customers in the eyes. Elvang´s clients are very quality conscious and they choose products where design – quality and material all come together. Positive feedback from clients, who have an Elvang product, which they bought 10 years ago and the product still  looks new, is very rewarding.

Today, Elvang operate worldwide, among others on the Scandinavian markets, Germany, France, Holland, The States, Japan and Australia and participate in various trade fairs around Europe. This season they met customers from all over the world at Ambiente in Germany and at Maison & Objet in France. To meet clients and to present new designs is always very exciting for Elvang.

Textiles is Elvang´s universe and they continually extend the product range with focus on products made of only the best possible quality.

 

FT-RELATED NEWS, PUBLICATIONS AND OTHER TOOLS

About/From the Network:

 

Special Request: Chimps looking for buyers

d081b424-ed33-4d73-ae94-5b42cd7b67a4

These chimps need a home. Due to climate change experienced by producers in Sri Lanka, the production did not meet the buyer’s deadline (a zoo company). Materials from elephant dung did not dry on time for production due to torrential rains.

For interested buyers, please contact Mady Seynhaeve of Elecosy,  a WFTO member based in Kanegem, Belgium. Email: mady@elecosy.com

 

 

 

 

By Eva Marie Wüst Vestergaard

IMG_2160

We live in an era of trade, Nithin Coca recently wrote in an article on why there is a need for Fair Trade. He finds that today’s consumer society focuses on “profit, not people”. The Western world’s consumer demand for cheap products is fulfilled at the expense of others.

To keep the prices low, a decrease of production costs are continuously forced on producers. Payments to workers in the production stage are so low it is rarely enough to survive. The result is that people must accept abnormally long work hours just to survive. It is only one out of many ruthless work conditions that people face, caused by this demand.  Child labour, forced labour, discrimination and unsafe working environments are part of a reality that workers in developing countries face every day.

As the rich parts of the world consumes more products for cheaper prices, the developing world produces more for cheaper prices. The result is a growing gap between the rich and the poor.

This is a devastating consequence of globalization and the “trade era”. As a reaction to this alarming reality, the Fair Trade Movement faces these consequences and gives consumers alternatives. Instead of trade relations where only one side wins, Fair Trade fulfills demands that do not cause human rights violations and that do not dehumanize people.

A great example of how this approach works has just been showcased in an article by Good News Finland. The article features Finnish Mifuko, a member of WFTO-Europe, which produces handmade baskets in Kenya. The production hires local women who receive a fair payment. For example, there is Lydia who with her job as a Mifuko weaver is able to support herself and educate her children. Or Raphael who due to his polio disease struggled until he studied to become a bag maker. He is able to provide for his family and holds dreams to start up his own business.

That is how Mifuko helps people out of poverty and creates economic development in communities. It is not only about profit, it is first and foremost about people.

As Coca wrote in his article:

Fair Trade needs to become more than a niche – it needs to grow into the norm, a true alternative to a trade systems that traps far too many in poverty. And all of us – the media, companies, and, yes, the 1 percent, all need to play our role”.

This is what WFTO-Europe works for. Our members can together with responsible companies and consumers that choose to be an agent for change by choosing Fair Trade products, make it happen. Through fair trading partnerships and ethical consumer demands, poverty can be eliminated and the Sustainable Development Goal number 1 can be achieved, creating a fair world for everyone.

Find out more about how you can become an Agent for Change here.

_MG_7653

Photo Credit: Helene Wickström

 

This week Good News Finland told the beautiful story of our Finnish member Mifuko.

Mifuko wants everyone to win. The women in Kenya have been able to bring in extra income on the side of unpredictable and weather-dependent farming. For some, Mifuko has turned into their most important job, and daughters of rural families have been able to return to their home villages from the big city slums because of the work provided by Mifuko”.

This is a strong example on how Fair Trade contributes to achieve Sustainable Development Goal number 1 “No Poverty” through Fair Trade Principle number 1 “Opportunities for disadvantaged producers”.

 

Read the article here. Support Mifuko’s work by purchasing their baskets here.

 

Mifuko_in_kenya5
Photo Credit: Helene Wickström