The Fair Trade Advocacy Office established a position paper in July titled “An innovative EU approach in support of Fair Trade practices in the new EU Trade & Investment Strategy”.
“The traditional tools of the EU trade agenda need to be complemented to make trade work for sustainable development. It is necessary to promote, in a bottom-up approach, Fair Trade best practices. On the framework of the upcoming EU Trade Strategy (expected for October 2015), the Fair Trade movement calls on the EC to use the new EU trade & investment strategy to unlock the power of producers/farmers, companies, local authorities and consumers by announcing coordinated initiatives to help them get engaged in Fair Trade. The European Commission, Member States, EU delegations and local authorities should be mobilised to promote Fair Trade best practices.”
Last month, the 9th International Fair Trade Towns Conference took place in Bristol. Read about the contents and outcomes in the article
By Tadeusz Makulski, WFTO representative for Fair Trade Town Campaign and WFTO Europe Board member.
240 delegates from 20 countries across the world gathered in Bristol on the 4th and 5th of July for the 9th International Fair Trade Towns Conference.
Delegates from Europe, the Lebanon, Ghana, USA, Colombia and Japan had a chance to listen to the representatives of small producers as well as Fair Trade activists and campaigners.
Bristol Fair Trade Towns Conference
The first day opened with a session entitled “The Fair Trade for Sustainability Story”. Speeches were delivered by Fatima Ismael, environmental expert from Fairtrade certified Co-operative Soppexcca in Nicaragua who spoke on how climate change is reducing coffee yields and threatening the livelihoods of millions of farmers in developing countries, and Harriet Lamb, CEO at Fairtrade International, who explained how Fairtrade International is working with farmers to adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change. Participants also heard the stories of Greg Valerio, the Fairtrade certified jewellery pioneer who presented the gold certification scheme, Louise Nichols of Marks &Spencer and a speech from Linda McAvan, Member of European Parliament on Fair Trade and Sustainable Developement Goals.
The “Networking tables” held on the first day turned out to be an interesting idea – as the. The participants had an opportunity to share their experiences and views on several selected topics linked with sustainable development, Fair Trade and the Fair Trade Towns campaign.
Throughout the two days of the conference, participants could take part in thematic workshops on: advocacy for Fair Trade, Fair Trade public procurement, campaigning in the digital age, Fair Trade schools and emerging Fair Trade markets.
In addition to the workshops, the second day of the conference provided an opportunity to show the international context of the Fair Trade Towns campaign to the participants. International Fair Trade Town Steering Committee members (Bruce Crowther, Adam Gardner, and Tadeusz Makulski) presented the Fair Trade Town campaign from the International perspective. At the time of the conference there were 1,703 towns in 26 countries with new initiatives developing in another 11 countries; Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, India, Switzerland, Hungary, Slovenia, Lithuania, Cameroon, Ecuador and Peru. The Campaign was founded and continues to develop towards a Fair Trade Towns grassroots movement.
During a plenary session, WFTO President Rudi Dalvai gave a brief presentation on the organization. He underlined the fact that WFTO sees the Fair Trade Towns campaign as an important part of the promotional and advocacy strategy for Fair Trade.
Another announcement at the Conference came from CLAC, the Fair Trade Producer Network in the Caribbean and Latin America, who jointly with WFTO- Latin America are launching a Fair Trade Towns and Villages campaign in Producer countries across South America.Read WFTO article about this.
The Conference ended with the Mayor of Bristol, George Ferguson, and the mayor of Menjez and Abra, two Fair Trade Towns in Lebanon, signing The Bristol Resolution. The resolution calls on local and regional authorities to to take concrete steps that will lead to the realization of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which is due to be released in September as a follow up to the Milleniun Development Goals.
The 3 mayors were followed enthusiastically by the conference participants who added their signatures to the resolution. The document was prepared by the Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO) and the International Fair Trade Towns Steering Committee members. Sergi Corbalan, FTAO executive director, invited participants to share the resolution with the mayors of other Fair Trade Towns and encouraged them to express their pledges for Fair Trade. Download the resolution and share this with your Local Authorities.
Oxfam Intermón is a non-for-profit organization dedicated to four main activities: campaigning, development, humanitarian aid and, of course, Fair Trade.
It is based in Spain, although it works in many countries around the world as part of Oxfam confederation, an international network of organizations that has the aim of changing lives and creating opportunities for the most disadvantaged people.
One person in three in the world lives in poverty. Oxfam is determined to change that world by mobilizing the power of people against poverty.
Around the globe, Oxfam works to find practical, innovative ways for people to lift themselves out of poverty and thrive. We save lives and help rebuild livelihoods when crisis strikes. And we campaign so that the voices of the poor influence the local and global decisions that affect them.
In all it does, Oxfam works with partner organizations and alongside vulnerable women and men to end the injustices that cause poverty.
Oxfam Intermón has been working in Fair Trade since 1994. Currently, it is working directly with 37 Fair Trade partners and indirectly with 68, with an annual purchasing budget of around €6 million.
The range of products includes food, handicraft and cosmetics. Oxfam Intermón has 38 shops in Spain, all of them managed by volunteers, one of the great values of the organization (in all, Oxfam Intermón has more than 1,500 volunteers).
Trading activity is complemented with awareness campaigns. The most recent one, Buscamos fashions victims (“Fashion Victims wanted”), denounced the bad working conditions in the textile supply chains and explained how good is Fair Trade as an alternative. In fact, Oxfam Intermón is selling Veraluna, a clothing collection 100% Fair Trade that is a good evidence of the impact of Fair Trade Principles and the benefits that they have for the people.
Oxfam Intermón is also conducting projects to support its trading partners. These projects aim to empower artisans and farmers, strengthen organizations, build new capacities and support the producers to reach new markets and make better products.
The 8th of March 2015 was celebrated asInternational Women’s Day. Fair Trade helps improve the lives of women globally by promoting sustainable livelihoods, development opportunities, and by ensuring those who do the work reap the reward of their efforts. Inspiring change in women’s lives is a driving force in WFTO work.
In order to celebrate this day, WFTO-Europe worked on a three different levels, sharing stories from successful women from some of our European members, participating in a twitter event on the 6th of March and attending an event focused on the promotion of women’s leadership.
Women for change
To illustrate how fair trade helps empower women around the world, WFTO collected several successful stories from the different Regions. We, as a European organization, would like to particularly share with you the point of view of a Fair Trader :
Sophie Tack from Oxfam-Magasins du Monde (Belgium):
15 years ago, Sophie started working in Fair Trade. She is currently the director of the Partners-Campaign department of Oxfam-Magasins du monde, a Belgian organization and part of the Oxfam family. “I believe that trade can be a tool for development. But it has to be fair. Fair Trade empowers people.”Sharing a connection with women producers in the southern hemisphere, she said that everyone can be an agent for change. “I work for Oxfam because I believe that change can happen if a global movement is behind it. Overcoming poverty requires active citizenship.“We need to be more outspoken, be a clearer advocate for change. We need to increase our impact and strengthen our ability to influence.” For more stories on how Fair Trade helps women, click here.
Twitter #FairForWomen event
In connection to the International Women’s Day, WFTO-Europe participated on Friday the 6th of March 2015 in #FairForWomen Twitter chat organized by the Scottish Fair Trade Forum and the Young Women´s Movement (YWCA), in partnership with Oxfam Scotland and the Fairtrade Foundation.
WFTO-Europe contributed to raise awareness to the issue of how Fair Trade helps women and explained why women are critical to sustainable development and much more. We answered to the following questions: How does Fair Trade empower women worldwide? Why are women critical to sustainable development? How can we make our shopping baskets #FairForWomen? What is your favourite story about women and Fair Trade? What #FairForWomen action will you take in 2015?
Promoting Women’s Leadership Project
Photo: CEC European Managers
It is common knowledge that women are still under-represented in senior and top managerial positions, but what is the actual state of play in Europe and what has been the speed of change over the last decade? To find some answers to these questions, WFTO-Europe participated in a Launch reception on European Project Report ´Promoting Women´s Leadership´, which took place on the 24th of February 2015.
By combining economic data analysis with a legal, comparative analysis, the project aimed to find actions to increase proportions of women in managerial positions as a means to face challenges of demographic change in the future. The project focused mainly on Germany, France, Italy, Poland, Sweden, the UK and Norway, non-EU member. MEP Anna Hedth as well as Commissioner Sigried Caspar attended the event. Both of them expressed their support to the project and stressed how important the question of gender equality is for Europe´s future.
You can read the report of the project here or visit the project´s website to learn more.
As you surely know, a massive, 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Nepal on April 25th. The death toll is estimated at more than 7,000 people. WFTO members and their producers were badly affected.
How can you help?
Fair Trade Group Nepal , WFTO FT network, has established a program to aid in the earthquake disaster relief and provides Fair Trade producers with medical aid, food, shelter, hygiene, and long-term assistance such as housing and employment. They make their maximum to use the support in a most-effective way to aid the victims. Your help can make a difference.
Financial assistance can be made into Fair Trade Group Nepal’s account.Account Title:
The last 24th of April was the second anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, where 1,133 workers lost their lives and many others were injured. Since this tragic event, the 24th of April has become an occasion to get everyone in the fashion value chain together and help to raise awareness of the true cost of fashion, show the world that change is possible, and celebrate all those involved in creating a more sustainable future. Find more about Fashion Revolution here.
WFTO-Europe fully supported the Fashion Revolution Day and its call for action to bring about a systematic change in the textile supply chain. Towards this aim, the entire staff participated in the campaign on the 24th of April, asking brands “who made my clothes” and raising awareness on the importance of a responsible spending.
On the 22nd of April, WFTO-Europe also participated in the conference “Remembering Rana Plaza: the road ahead” hosted by MEP Jean Lambert at the European Parliament. Here you can find the video recorded by the Greens Party for this occasion.
As mentioned by the FTAO in a recent article, “ 2015 is a crucial year for the development agenda, not only at European level thanks to the European Year for Development, but also because the international community will be jointly defining the future development framework. It is time to act on all these fronts and bring about the political solutions to prevent these tragedies from happening again.” To read the full article, please visit the FTAO’s website post here.
By Francesca Giubilo, Coordinator of the World Fair Trade Organization-Europe
During the last week of May, more than 260 participants from 50 countries across 5 continents gathered in Milan to take part in the biggest Fair Trade event of the year, the 2015 World Fair Trade Week! The first four days were dedicated to the Biennial Conference of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), where members of the Global Fair Trade network as well as those interested, like scholars, experts, businesses and students, attended to discuss pressing issues of the Fair Trade movement and to celebrate WFTO’s 25th anniversary.All the activities were run in a very positive and stimulating atmosphere, where representatives of the entire Fair Trade supply chain, from the production to sales, took part in the debates.
“I’m very happy to be here and meet people from all over the world to share dreams and ideas. I think this is the way to make this world more fair and ethic”. Lorena Vergara – Pueblos del Sur (Chile)
“I’m very excited because I’m looking forward to meeting old and new friends here, to see where Fair Trade is at the moment, how producers are doing, how FTOs are doing in terms of sales and where the future of the Fair Trade movement is”. Marlike Kocken – European Fair Trade Association (EFTA)
The Biennial Conference officially started on 24 May, with an inspiring speech from Palagummi Sainath, a renowned Indian journalist, reporter, and traveler, who highlighted a number of major crises around the world which affect people already living in vulnerable situations. According to him, hunger and thirst are the two greatest issues faced by humanity, as they are creating self-regenerating inequality. During the opening ceremony, a word of solidarity was addressed to the delegation from Nepal, who shared their experience and current difficulties that the Fair Trade organisations and overall Nepalese people are facing after the terrible earthquakes of April 2015.
Three days of intense workshop activities and plenary sessions followed the opening ceremony. In the afternoon of the opening day, three Guaranteed Members of the WFTO shared their experience with use of the WFTO product label as well as some marketing strategies. According to Trade Aid’s General Manager Geoff White (New Zealand), the label adds value to member’s product lines, while Selyn Exporters (Sri Lanka) highlighted the importance of using the WFTO label to penetrate the local market. Safia Minney of People Tree in Japan and UK found that using the label in a variety of ways, including on webpages, social media hashtags, Fair Trade related events (like World Fair Trade Day), and email communication, can be very beneficial in promoting the own brand.
Fair Trade pioneer Francisco Van Der Hoff, who shared his vision on the essence of Fair Trade and its main benefits for small producers, greatly animated the plenary of the second day of the conference. As highlighted in the programme, several topics were also at the heart of the workshops, starting from the Guaranteed System to the questions how to promote successful Fair Trade Campaigns, taking advantage of new and existing markets and advocate for Fair Trade. While Oxfam-Magasins du Monde and Traidcraft shared some best practices on how to launch successful Fair Trade campaigns, Sergi Corbalán from the Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO) had the opportunity to foster some constructive reflections with the participants on how to advocate for change and how to deal with governmental regulations on Fair Trade.
Gender and climate change, as well as the social and solidarity economy were also at the top of the discussions. More specifically, WFTO reiterated its commitment to work more on gender issue via the specific WFTO Working Group and agreed to explore more deeply the issue of the “domestic Fair Trade” to properly react to the current multiple dimensions of Fair Trade, which includes North-North, South-North and South-South trade.
A special session was then dedicated to the Fair Trade Towns campaign, a grassroots campaign started in 2000 in the United Kingdom and quickly spread across the world, and to Fair Trade Fashion. Both People Tree and CTM Altromercato gave some concrete examples on how fashion and Fair Trade can coexist, and the important role that communication plays to raise awareness. More about the workshops can be watched here.
The Biennial Conference was finally closed on 27 May after the Regional and the WFTO Global Annual General Meetings, which was reserved for WFTO members.
Four days of inspiring words, exchanging experiences and fruitful discussions about common strategies took place in a very friendly atmosphere, participated by great people – representative of the entire FT supply chain – who are fully committed to Fair Trade and strongly believe in its importance to promote sustainable development and justice.
Fair Trade Advocacy Office Press Release from 4th June 2015.
The Committee of the Regions plenary adopted an opinion on Fair Trade on 4 June. This EU advisory body representing local and regional authorities calls again on the European Commission to adopt a more ambitious approach to this topic.
In the own-initiative opinion “local and regional support for Fair Trade in Europe”, its author Barbara Duden, Vice-President of the Free and Hanseatic Parliament of the City of Hamburg, expresses the need for a fully-fledged EU Fair Trade Strategy that mainstreams this concept across various EU policy areas: trade, development and sustainable consumption and production. The Committee of the Regions had already called for such a Strategy in an opinion dating from 2010, with no concrete follow-up by the EU.
One of the landmark initiatives that should be put forward is the setup of a European Fair Trade Capital Award. It would not only reward the various modalities of Fair Trade support by cities in Europe, but also help to disseminate the good examples to encourage other cities to take action in this area. In addition, this EU-wide recognition would be an incentive for them to go further in their commitments, besides giving visibility to the topic among citizens.
Local and regional authorities play a relevant role in promoting Fair Trade: by setting the example with their own consumption and by raising awareness among citizens. They can furthermore encourage the supply of Fair Trade products by economic actors in their territory. To date there are more than 1.500 communities in Europe that have been awarded Fair Trade town status.
“The European Commission is the best placed to mainstream Fair Trade, and should use the upcoming new EU Trade Strategy to do so” stated Sergi Corbalán, Executive Director of the Fair Trade Advocacy Office.
“In my country many of the good practices from the regional and local level are encouraged by the award of the German capital of Fair Trade, this should also be replicated at EU level with a similar scheme” declared Barbara Duden during her speech at the plenary session.
The Committee of the Regions press release is available here.
European Development Days 2015 (EDD) took place on 3-4 June in Brussels.
This 9th edition served also as flagship event for the European Year for Development and offered more than 130 different workshops and sessions on 12 topics.
EDDs gathered more than 5000 attendants this year and speakers included the president of the European Commission Jean Claude Juncker, the president of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, Melinda Gates, European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica, the president of the sixty-ninth session of the United Nations General Assembly Sam Kutesa, Linda McAvan and much more.
Workshop on smallholders’ participation in global supply chains
During the first day of the event, Fair Trade Advocacy Office organized a workshop “Empowering smallholders’ participation in global supply chains.”, aimed at discussing the necessary policy interventions to ensure that a serious action is taken to address unsustainable supply chains, from the farmer to the consumer; and in particular how we can guarantee small producers a seat at the table.
WFTO-Europe coordinator Francesca Giubilo was amongst the speakers to present WFTO and its Guarantee System. Other panelists included Sergi Corbalan from Fair Trade Advocacy Office, Caroline Hickson from Fairtrade International, Shivani Reddy from Fairtrade Foundation who presented the latest report on the role of smallholder farmers in Public Private Partnership (PPPs).
Regis Meritan from the European Commission DG DEVCO also joined the speakers and pinpointed that there was a need to address the asymmetry of information we have on supply chains. The workshop, lively moderated by MEP Judith Sargentini was highly attended.
By Michael Sarcauga, Communications Coordinator of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO)
The World Fair Trade Day (WFTDay) celebration on Saturday 9 May was a total success! Thousands of Agents for Change showed up on social media, streets, schools, shops, churches, workshops, shopping centres, and wherever Fair Trade is! The World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) members led the celebrations worldwide.
On social media, the Agents for Change have reached millions of people. Our hashtags #AgentChange, #WFTD2015 and #FairTrade has proven that! Our heartfelt thanks to all who participated in our social media campaign. You helped us spread the message of Fair Trade and change!
“Let World Fair Trade Day be a reminder for all of us that we have the power to promote change, and each of us is an Agent for Change. We thank our members and all who joined in the celebration. Each day is our chance to make a difference. Let every day be a Fair Trade Day!”said Natália Leal, WFTOChief Executive
“Fair Trade is unstoppable. It’s a growing solution to fight poverty, social injustices and climate change. Many companies and organisation worldwide are embracing Fair Trade and sustainable practices because of the growing demand for a sustainable future for all of us. At WFTO alone, Fair Trade Organisations are growing with an overall sales turnover of over €430 million for 2014. And every month we are expanding as more and more organisations are joining the Fair Trade movement and the WFTO network.” said Rudi Dalvai, President of WFTO
Fair Trade is change. Fair Trade products and the people in the Fair Trade supply chain are making a difference every minute, every time a Fair Trade product is purchased. Backed by consumers who believe in their purchasing power, Fair Trade makes positive change every day.