On the occasion of the International Women’s Day, the WFTO is celebrating women’s rights and promoting gender equality at workplaces. Gender equality is a high topic on the political agenda of the EU and important steps to end discrimination against women have been taken in the last 25 years. However, women are still subjected to unequal treatment, having to overcome barriers to gender equality in almost every aspect of their lives. In the workplace, the lack of access to leadership positions, occupational gender segregation and unequal payment are still one of the main constraints experienced by women around the world.
The economic empowerment of women is commonly understood as an important factor to economic growth and a prerequisite for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). An increase in female labour force participation, results in a faster economic development as reported by the Unwomen. In the primary sector, women represent almost half of the labour force but own less than 20% of the land. They are also deprived from control of resources used for agriculture, such as seeds, water, technology, innovation and financial services, which makes them severely disadvantaged with regards to their input.
The Fair trade movement seeks to end injustices by empowering communities and creating tools for women to regain their financial independence and control over their lives. The WFTO-Europe is committed to fight against gender inequalities at the workplace as it fully acknowledges the potential of women and their need for economic empowerment. Firms in Europe, in every sector, can contribute to a more equitable society by promoting policies and ensuring that workers are paid in due proportion, as well as their producers in the South.
Achieving gender equality requires a gender-based approach in designing public policies and a long-term commitment of companies in addressing the issue at workplaces must be integrated alongside with Fair Trade practices that provide capacity building opportunities for women, in the North and the South.
7 March 2017, Culemborg, The Netherlands – The fight for gender equality at workplaces is far from over. The recent reports by UN Women show that women in economic activities continue to suffer various forms of discrimination and unequal treatment. They also highlight that their labour force participation has stagnated. This reality has mobilised the Fair Trade movement to a renewed call to action to fight, harder this time, for the rights of women, especially those engaged in economic activities.
On the occasion of the International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8 March, we want to reiterate Fair Trade’s commitment to respect and fulfil women’s rights and advance their aspirations through gender equity, fair payment, non-discrimination, good working conditions and capacity building as declared in the 10 Principles of Fair Trade.
The WFTO network, including its regional office WFTO Europe, together with Oxfam Magasins du Monde embark on a global awareness raising campaign by showcasing success stories of Fair Trade contributing to gender equality at workplaces. When women succeed, communities are safer, more secure, and more prosperous. Over the last years, in the Fair Trade movement, we have seen women inspiring communities and Fair Trade organisations to stand up for women’s empowerment. As a network of almost 400 organisations across the world, today we ask Fair Trade actors to hold our poster and to share their experience via social media. Therefore, do watch, read and spread the message around to raise awareness about women’s economic challenges and support our constant commitment towards gender equality at workplace.
These stories are key examples of how Fair Trade practices contribute to a world where women have the same chances as men at the workplace and in their daily life. Hence, Fair Trade is shown as a keystone in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Goal 5 aims to “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”. That means, among others, the need to ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life.
WFTO and all its members are committed to advance this important agenda. We are taking steps to empower women, to fight for their rights and their equal access to economic resources, to address all forms of violence against women and to promote women as key agents for change and drivers of sustainable development.
Note to Editors: Every year, the World Fair Trade Organization and its members observe the International Women’s Day to raise awareness on gender equality, women empowerment and women’s role in achieving sustainable development. This year, for the first time, WFTO and OXFAM Magasins du Monde (Belgium) collaborate to raise awareness on the issue of gender equality at work and the role of Fair Trade in fostering decent work and equality at workplaces.
To learn more of the campaign, for high resolution images, interviews and other queries, please contact Michael Sarcauga through email email@example.com or give us a call +31.345536487.
Fair Trade Products at Ambiente 2017 (10-14 February)
Culemborg, 7 February 2017
The World Fair Trade Organization, through its members from four continents, will be introducing Fair Trade organisations and products to Ambiente 2017 trade show, in Frankfurt, Germany, from 10-14 February. Forty-nine (4) members will bring a wide range of product lines, from home to personal accessories. All of these high-quality, exquisite products are artisan made, and many are handcrafted using long-standing traditional techniques.
Of the 49 organisations, twenty-five (25) are guaranteed members whose products bear the WFTO Product Label. These members have passed the WFTO Guarantee System, a rigorous participatory process of verifying the organisation’s compliance with the international principles of Fair Trade. See more details of the Guarantee System on the WFTO website.
“We are happy to bring Fair Trade products to Europe. This is our chance to show our new collections to the European market and beyond. We invite you to come and see us, know our products and the people behind these products who work diligently under Fair Trade terms,” Marcela Cofre Salinas, general manager of Calypso Chile and Fair Trade advocate.
A WFTO booth is located at the foyer of Hall 10 to provide visitors and interested buyers information about the participating organisations and their products, and to learn more about Fair Trade. Come and see the Fair Trade products display! Look for our logo to find us.
We have prepared a Fair Trade locator that you can use to find WFTO members at Ambiente, download here.
Baskets by Mifuko Finland
The World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) is a global network of organisations representing the Fair Trade supply chain. Membership in WFTO provides Fair Trade organisations with credibility and identity by way of an international guarantee system, a place of learning where members connect with like-minded people from around the world, tools and training to increase market access, and a common voice that speaks out for Fair Trade and trade justice – and is heard.
WFTO is the home of fair traders: producers, marketers, exporters, importers, wholesalers and retailers that demonstrate 100% commitment to Fair Trade and apply the 10 WFTO Principles of Fair Trade to their supply chain. The works and achievements of its members make WFTO a global authority on Fair Trade and a guardian of Fair Trade values and principles.
WFTO’s route to equity in trade is through the integrated supply chain. Practices used across the supply chain are checked against the WFTO Fair Trade Standard, a set of compliance criteria based on the 10 Fair Trade Principles and on International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions.
The WFTO operates in over 70 countries across 5 regions (Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and North America and the Pacific Rim) with elected global and regional boards.
More information about the WFTO, its Guarantee System and Fair Trade history can be found on our website at: http://www.wfto.com
As you may know, here at WFTO-Europe we have organised a Fair Trade Comics Contest to raise awareness about Fair Trade Principles using a popular mean in Belgium: comics. Unfortunately, the turnout was quite low, so we have decided not to hold an exhibition of the comics.
We would also like to thank all participants for taking the time to take part in this contest: you did a great job!
Today we share with you the winning comic chosen by the jury, alongside the other comics that we have received.
The jury was formed by 5 people:
– Sophie Tack, WFTO-Europe Board member and Directrice Partenariat Campagne for Oxfam Magasins du Monde;
– Gabriella D’Amico, WFTO-Europe Board member and representing Asso Botteche del Mondo;
– Sergi Corbalan, Executive Director of the Fair Trade Advocacy Office;
– Linda Torfs, founder of Mekanik Strip;
– Yacine Canamas, an independent Comics Artist.
But let’s get back to our comics contest:the winner is Jean Bourguignon with his comic “Ethique et tac“:
Now the other comics!
Comic no. 1 “Jacob, l’héro” by Hugo Deflandre:
Comic no. 2 “La vie d’un héros” by Marina Sheinova:
Comic no. 3 “Invisible Hand” by Naomi Leboy:
Thank you again to everyone for participating and should we decide to organise a new comics contest next year, we truly hope to hear from you again!
Abstract: On 15 -16 of June, WFTO-Europe had the pleasure to attend the European Development Days (EDD16), where several key policy-makers (for example the Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations and Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission) debated on how to eradicate poverty and make the world a more inclusive as well as peaceful place through the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
This special 10-year anniversary edition was focused, indeed, on the ‘2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’ and was organised around ‘5Ps’: People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership.
On this occasion, WFTO-Europe and WFTO in partnership with Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO) and Fairtrade International led a workshop on the revision of the EU Aid for Trade Strategy which is expected at the end of 2016. In particular, experts but also civil society representatives had the opportunity to discuss how the Aid for Trade strategy can contribute to implement the Sustainable Development Goals and what investments are needed to make supply chains more sustainable.
The main points that emerged from the debate are:
Aid to developing countries should first include capacity-building ;
Corruption is still a major issue to be tackled and there is a need of more accountability in corporations;
Reduce intermediaries to become more competitive;
More and better collaboration between the private and public sectors could solve the problem of corruption and intermediaries;
Improvement of infrastructure (roads, communications, transport);
Promote trade at the local-regional level;
Need of Aid to prepare the framework: transform the activities into efficient business models thanks to financial help;
More action and commitment from European Institutions ;
Make Fair Trade model the standard, not the exception ;
More coordination between small producers within organisations.
On the 7th of June, with an overwhelming majority of 600 Members in favor, the European Parliament accepted the Edward Czesak MEP’s report that calls for EU action on Unfair Trading Practices (UTPs) in food supply chains, to ensure fair earnings for farmers and a wider choice for consumers in supermarkets and hypermarkets. This represents a great achievement for the Fair Trade movement as Make Fruit Fair, the SUPPLY CHA!NGE project the Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO) and the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), supporters of this initiative, stated.
For the second year, the Staff of WFTO-Europe fully promoted the Fashion Revolution Movement through social media.
Yesterday, the 24th of April, was indeed the third anniversary of the biggest garment-factory disaster in history, and at this day we commemorated the lives of all those who died in the Rana Plaza complex collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in April 2013.
This tragic event remember us that there is a need for greater transparency and accountability throughout the fashion supply chain not only in this country but all over the world.
To show our support, we joined the Fashion Revolution Day’s campaign, inviting people to post a picture of their label and ask brands ”who made my clothes? “
Find here more information about the Fashion Revolution movement.
Ecopolis is the annual meeting for those who are interested in a sustainable future and host different writers, thinkers and other mayor figures from everywhere, to discuss about solutions for a possible social-ecological society.
This year, the event took place on 17th of April in Kaaitheater in Brussels. It was focused on “chocolate”, one of the most requested and desired commodities worldwide, that in reality hides the weakness of its producers in global economic relations. Guests of the debate were Mamadou Bamba, director of “Ecookim” which is a union of eight cocoa cooperatives in Ivory Coast that work to improve the farming activities and living conditions of more than 2800 farmers,Isabelle Quirynen, who ran her own chocolate company, “Bitterzoet”,’ committed to Fair Trade principles and Olivier De Schutter, legal scholar specializing in economic and social rights and former UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food from 2008 to 2014.
Cooperatives of small-scale producers were first controlled by governments and only from the eighties they started to be led by common people that through this tool gained voice in the international political field.
One of the central problems that the experts brought to light is the need for more attention to the necessities of producers rather than to the one of consumers. Indeed, the international market is right now mainly focused on the desires of the latter, which means lower price for their products, instead of fairer conditions for those who harvest the commodity. This attitude leads only to a vicious circle where low prices generate low salaries and overproduction while the latter creates again low prices. Another important issue is that producer countries import their finished products like chocolate from Northern countries, losing in this way their opportunity to play a key role in the international trade.
The challenge that cooperatives have to face are still several and changes in the system are necessary. During the debate, possible solutions to improve their conditions were presented. Among them, the idea to concentrate the all process within the product value chain in the producer country and to develop the local demand so that farmers would be less dependent from the global North. Second, because the business is dominated by few buyers there is a need to diversify these economies so that producers can develop alternatives and gain more access in the international market. Finally, in order to give added value to these products, there is a need for more investments in every single phase of the activities involved in its creation.
For further information about the challenges that the world’s food systems need to face, read the final report of Olivier De Schutter to the Human Rights Council.
15 March 2016 (Paris) – The Fair Trade Advocacy Office has launched a position paper at the Cotton Forum taking place in Paris today, in cooperation with the Association of African Cotton Producers. In this new document, the Fair Trade movement calls on the European Union, G7 and West African governments to step up their policies in support of fairer and more sustainable textile supply chains, and to not forget about small cotton farmers.
As a follow-up to the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment manufacturing centre on 24 April 2013, much public attention has been recently placed on compensation to victims and the improvement of the building safety, working conditions and wages at the garment stage of textile supply chains. Unfortunately, little public attention has gone to the cotton farmers that “grow” our clothes.
In West and Central Africa, the 10 million cotton farmers face an unfair trading system and serious imbalances of power in cotton supply chains, a key obstacle to their livelihoods. Although state control in West Africa has reduced and farmers participate more in the governance of the cotton sector, the power of small farmers remains weak. Bottlenecks and gatekeepers between local actors and the market constitute a key obstacle to ensure a living income for farmers and living wage for their workers. At the same time, West Africa farmers are also negatively impacted by unfair trading distorting subsidies in various cotton-producing countries (e.g. USA, EU, China) that result in abnormally-low prices paid to West African cotton farmers.
“We call on the European Union, G7 and West African governments to increase the trade opportunities for the 10 million cotton farmers in West and Central Africa” stated Moussa Sabaly, President of the Association of African Cotton Producers (AProCA). “Without small-scale farmers, there will be no more cotton in textile supply chains”, he concluded.
Cotton exemplifies the inter linkages between the various recently-adopted United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. These goals are directly relevant to Fair Trade, a best practice multi-stakeholder partnership that, from the outset, has addressed the various dimensions of sustainable development.
The adoption by the European Union, G7 and West African governments of public policies and initiatives towards fairer and more sustainable cotton supply chains in the coming years will serve as indicator of how much political will there is to achieve the new UN Sustainable Development Goals.
“The Fair Trade movement looks forward to working with the private sector and governments to make textile supply chains fairer and more sustainable, in particular for small-scale cotton farmers”, stated Sergi Corbalán, Executive Director of the Fair Trade Advocacy Office.
The French Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) Max Havelaar France and the Association of African Cotton Producers (AProCa) are organising today the Cotton Forum 2016 in Paris in order to foster new opportunities for economic and institutional partnerships between Fair Trade cotton farmers, textile companies, financial organisations as well as West African and European institutions. Representatives from African and European governments as well as the European Commission will participate in a workshop, together with FTAO, to discuss the role that public institutions can have in support of Fair Trade cotton.
“Cotton farmers are the first and forgotten step of a long and complex production chain that ends in our wardrobes. Economic and institutional stakeholders must enable those who grow our clothes to make a living with their work. Fairtrade is the answer to this challenge”, stated Dominique Royet, CEO of Max Havelaar France.
The Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO) speaks out for Fair Trade and Trade Justice with the aim to improve the livelihoods of marginalised producers and workers in the South. The FTAO is a joint initiative of Fairtrade International, the World Fair Trade Organization-Global and the World Fair Trade Organization-Europe.
Max Havelaar France is a non-profit NGO. The mission of Max Havelaar France is to manage and promote the Fairtrade/Max Havelaar label towards French companies and to raise public awareness about fair trade in France, in order to support Fairtrade producers and to help improve living conditions for them and their communities.
The Association of African Cotton Producers was founded in 2004 to tackle the crisis in the cotton sector which affects approximately 20 million people in West and Central Africa. The mission of AProCA is to defend the interests of African producers in a framework of dialogue on a continental scale.
Contact: Youssouf Djimé SIDIBE
AProCA-Bamako, Coordonnateur Projet Coton Equitable & Bio-Equitable, Afrique de l’ouest et du Centre