All are getting ready for the second World Fair Trade Week, to take place in Milan (Italy), from 23-31 May 2015.
Co-organised by WFTO and AGICES (the Italian General Assembly of Fair Trade Organisations), the 2015 WFTWeek will include several events in its programme. One of the main events is the WFTO 13th Biennial Conference, scheduled for 24-27 May. It will be followed by the Milano Fair City exhibition (an international fair for fair traders and other social economy actors), on 28-31 May. Alongside are being planned the 5th Fair Trade International Symposium, a Fair Trade fashion show, a Fair Trade cooking show, and many other national and local events.
Registration for the WFTO Biennial Conference is now open, until end April 2015. You find more details here. Registrations after 1 March will pay a late fee.
You can also already register for a stand at the international fair Milano Fair City here. Registration for accomodation during theMilano Fair City is also open here.
Brussels, 18 November 2014 – Have you ever wondered how come those local apples in season remain more expensive than bananas all year long? Why do poor farmers get poorer just as the international price of their products rise non-stop? Why is environmental damage increasing even as large companies prove they are implementing sustainability programmes? With city dwellers increasing and rural population dwindling, who will produce the food the hungry urbanites will demand?
The new study opens the door to the answers. “Who’s got the power? Tackling imbalances in agricultural supply chains”, released today in Brussels by the Fair Trade movement reveals how the growing integration –and concentration of power- in the supply chain of agricultural products is having a serious effect not only on producers far away from the supermarket shelves, but all along the supply chain, the environment and onto the choices available to consumers. Unfair trading practices (UTPs) appear, and they are not accidental but structural.
Olivier De Schutter, co-chair of the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems and former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, says in the foreword to the study that “the need to improve the governance of food systems, in order to avoid instances of excessive domination by a small number of major agrifood companies, is hardly ever referred to in international summits that seek to provide answers to the challenges of hunger and malnutrition. This report helps to fill that gap”.
The study identifies common patterns of concentration involving the main elements of the supply chain, the one exerting pressure on the other all the way down to the producers. The more these elements are integrated with one another, the stronger is the pressure exerted onto the next link in the supply chain:
Retailers (supermarket chains)
Branded products manufacturers
Traders of produce
Input producers (seeds, fertilizers, etc.)
In sheer size, the Consumers (7 billion) and the Producers/Farmers (2.5 billion) are by far the most numerous. However, most of the value share of the transaction (up to 86%) stays with numbers two to five. But trying to present the problem as one between consumers on one side, and farmers and workers on the other, is meaningless. The degradation of the trading and living conditions of farmers and workers, whether inside or outside Europe, creates important risks of unavailability and unaffordability of products for consumers in the midterm, reducing their welfare in the end.
Addressing concretely the global nature of the problem and its consequences, the study emits no less than 16 practical recommendations to policy-makers, businesses and workers all over the world. The European Union has a clear responsibility to prevent and punish UTPs, considering the superior purchase power of its 550 million inhabitants, as well as the numerous trade agreements it has with produce exporting countries. Transactions do not occur in a legal vacuum but national legislation needs to be adapted to counter the power concentration trend, and it is clear that no solution will be found in isolation, which is why the study includes action proposals to all seven links of the supply chain as well as to multilateral instances such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
In order to address and resolve the issues the study recommends actions to adopt a comprehensive strategy based on:
A vision of consumer welfare that goes beyond purchasing power and recalls its inherent link with farmers’ and workers’ welfare.
Measures to rebalance business power in agricultural chains in the short term, currently the law of the strongest has the upper hand.
Mechanisms to enhance transparency in agricultural chains so that stakeholders can better identify the risks of abuse of buyer power and unfair trading practices.
A renewed European competition policy framework capable of better regulating such abuses.
Enforcement mechanisms to stop Unfair Trading Practices (UTPs) within food supply chains serving the EU market, with authorities able to investigate claims and punish abuses.
Initiatives to promote and widely spread fair trading practices in the mid to long run.
Notes to Editors:
The presentation and debate of the findings of the report is scheduled for 18 November 2014 at 12.30 at the European Parliament, please consult details at: www.fairtrade-advocacy.org
Please find attached and via the following links the Abstract and the Full versions of the study by BASIC (Bureau d’Analyse Sociétale pour une Information Citoyenne) titled “Who’s got the power? Tackling imbalances in agricultural supply chains”, November 2014. Available at www.fairtrade-advocacy.org/power
To book interviews with the authors of the report or the experts from the commissioning organizations, please contact Peter Möhringer at email@example.com, mobile: +32 485 76 23 81).
For background information about the campaigns against UTPs organized by the Fair Trade movement members, please see compilation in PDF attached.
The report was commissioned by the Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO), Traidcraft, the Plate-forme pour le Commerce Equitable and Fairtrade Deutschland, with the support of the European Commission, the Belgian Development cooperation, the Agence Française de Développement and the region Île-de-France.
 Practices that grossly deviate from good commercial conduct, are contrary to good faith and fair dealing and are unilaterally imposed by one trading partner on another.
Mifuko Ltd. is a Finnish design company, which co-operates with several women self-help group and small artisan workshops in Kenya. Mifuko´s products include jewellery, sandals and bags. Company was founded by Minna Impiö and Mari Martikainen in 2009. Both are graduates of the University of Industrial Art and Design, Helsinki.
Mifuko works on Helsinki-Nairobi-axis. While the designs are done by Finnish artists they are inspired by the colors, textures and vibrancy of Africa. Every product is designed to utilize traditional craftsmanship and techniques, as well as locally available materials. MIfuko supports talented Kenyan artisans and provides them with regular income. Mifuko wont drive the production scale in cost of the trusted relationship with all the artisans. Beyond giving the designs a Scandinavian twist, we try not to interfere with the creativity and techniques of our chosen artisans. We have close working relationships with all our sub-contractors and actively assist them in developing their businesses. It’s a two street, as we pass on our own knowledge and learn from them about their traditional techniques.
To promote Kenyan artisans Mifuko has founded association called Mifuko Trust.
The need for Mifuko Trust surfaced in Kenya, where local artisans often ask us to assist in the acquisition of various tools, know-how and increasing children’s school fees payment. Mifuko Trust’s aim is to promote the employment of artisans and develop their entrepreneurial skills in Kenya.
MIfuko has been awarded with the Finnish Social Enterprise label, this means that Mifuko qualifies in the three requirements: promoting social welfare through its business, using most of the profits to benefit society, and operating transparently. In addition to concentrating on fair treatment of its suppliers, the company maximises its use of recycled materials.
Mifuko has an international retailer network of more than 30 shops on four continents.
The Fair Trade movement has always recognised the importance of the environmental impact of humans’ activities. This is stressed in one of the 10 Fair Trade Principles by which WFTO makes sure that its member organisations are following environmental standards in their day to day work.
According to Principle Ten:
“Organizations which produce Fair Trade products maximize the use of raw materials from sustainably managed sources in their ranges, buying locally when possible. They use production technologies that seek to reduce energy consumption and where possible use renewable energy technologies that minimize greenhouse gas emissions. They seek to minimize the impact of their waste stream on the environment. Fair Trade agricultural commodity producers minimize their environmental impacts, by using organic or low pesticide use production methods wherever possible.
Buyers and importers of Fair Trade products give priority to buying products made from raw materials that originate from sustainably managed sources, and have the least overall impact on the environment.
All organizations use recycled or easily biodegradable materials for packing to the extent possible, and goods are dispatched by sea wherever possible”.
Environmental issues and the consequences of climate change are, undoubtedly, one of the biggest challenges of our era.
Peoples Climate March in NYC – Photo credit: Robert van Waarden
The last 19th of August was Earth Overshoot Day, the day when humanity exhausted all the natural resources available for the year, in other words, humanity’s annual demand on the natural world has exceeded what the Earth can renew in a year since the 1970s (WWF).
In the last weeks, climate change has been in the spotlight. People’s Climate March and the UN Climate Summit 2014 caught citizens’ and politicians’ attention on the issue and raised the urgency for a call to action. It was the first time the world has seen such a large mobilisation for this important issue. Climate change is a global problem and regional measures are therefore not enough, what is needed are global solutions and fast actions before irreversible consequence can lead to catastrophic outcomes.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, developing countries are and will remain the most affected by the consequences that Climate Change has on our planet, experiencing, among others, severe droughts in drier areas, and stronger cyclones and unpredictable rains in tropical regions (The Guardian).
The last 10th of September during the seminar “Climate change & the post 2015 development framework: Developing country perspectives” organised by ODI and CDKN different actors participated in the debate. According to Andrew Scott, ODI’s Research Fellow in Climate and Environment, climate change is not only an environmental issue. Climate change and development are intrinsically linked. The actions that we take to address climate change are intimately connected with development processes, and the actions we take to achieve development objectives have impact on the actions we take to reach climate change goals. So far, most of the debate about climate change in the SDGs framework has taken place in Europe and North America. We need an opportunity for the debate to take place in developing countries and to get the perspective of developing countries into the debate.
Peoples Climate March in Brussels – Photo credit: Martin Michiels
Politics is not responding in the way we want and unfortunately people who maintain the power have impact on people who don’t have any. Politicians instead are still obsessed with economic growth, which seems not to be the right solution to the problem. This is why individuals taking responsibility is the first step towards a more sustainable world. Each citizen of the world can really make a difference, not only changing his/her daily habits into more environmentally friendly ones, but also campaigning, participating, and raising the voice to make themselves heard. Don’t wait tomorrow, start being active NOW!
“Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world, is either a madman or an economist.” (Kenneth Boulding, Economics professor)
The Good Country Index announced at the TED Salon in Berlin, measures how much each of 125 countries contributes to the planet. With Ireland leading the table it turns out that all top ten countries are nations where a Fair Trade Town campaign is running. Is this a coincidence?
On 7 September however, Oudenaarde, Belgium declared as the 154th Fair Trade Town in Flanders making half of all Flemish municipalities a Fair Trade Town and Flanders the global leader for fair trade in terms of the proportion of the population covered. Out of a total of 308 municipalities 154 are now Fair Trade Towns with an additional 74 towns working towards gaining status. In Flanders over 4¼ million inhabitants now live in a Fair Trade Town. Does this make Flanders the Fairest of them all?
Photo credit: The Good Country Index
The Flemish campaign added a 6th goal to the original five founding goals which was aimed at promoting local and sustainable consumption. Congratulations Flanders on this tremendous achievement and well done to all involved!
Artisans du Monde is a network of 150 Fairtrade shops in France which sell food and handicraft products.
This year, Artisans du Monde celebrates its 40 years’ anniversary. The organization defends a militant vision of Fairtrade through the sale of Fairtrade products but also by educating young people to Fairtrade values and by leading advocacy actions to change the international trade rules.
The organization turnover was equal to €6,86 million (2013) and it employed 62 full-time equivalent employees. It works with various Fairtrade partners in the South: directly with 107 partners.
The main legitimacy of the organization comes from its very strong movement of volunteers, more than 6,000, all organized in a democratic way: they manage themselves the associative shops and participate to various actions and campaigns on fairtrade and economic justice issues.
Our position is to sell our products only in specialized and local shops and to not sell them in supermarkets.
? Educate young generation to Fairtrade
We organize awareness-raising actions in schools to involve and get engaged young generation in order to become better informed citizens about the working conditions and origin of the goods, the social and environmental impact of their consumption choice. We also intend to focus on the dysfunction of international trade, and to promote fairtrade principles as a way to build a fairer world.
? Our advocacy campaigns
We intend to mobilize citizens on different ethical issues and to join our mobilizations to make pressure on political decision makers. We defend positions regarding human rights, social, cultural and environmental issues. For example, as part of the larger ‘Vote4FT’ campaign, our main demands to the politicians was to support fairtrade of course, but also to put in place trade policies protective of human and workers’ rights.
? FAIRPRIDE : A carnival to promote Fairtrade
Since 2010, Artisans du Monde organize each year in Paris, in collaboration with many Fairtrade organizations, a carnival with a street
walking around with African and Latinos music bands as well as a food and handicraft market with organic, local and Fairtrade products. This event gathers a lot of people and promote Fairtrade values.
? Discover our online shop to buy 100% Fairtrade products
Since September 2010, any consumer can also buy Artisans du Monde products on our web platform which offer a range of 1000 references (food products and handicraft: jewelry, music instruments, toys, decoration and cosmetics).
The Federation Artisans du Monde is a full member of WFTO-Europe since 2007.
We have a self-assessment system for our members since 1999. Since 2013, we try to implement the new Fairtrade retailer standards so that our world shops network could be guaranteed under the WFTO system.
We also implement and monitor the WFTO guarantee system for the 100 Fairtrade suppliers we work with under our brand “Artisans du Monde” (handicraft, food and cosmetic products). To do so, we rely on multiple systems: certifying schemes recognized by WFTO and our own Internal Monitoring System we implement through the EFTA monitoring system.
At the time of writing there are 1,535 Fair Trade Towns in 25 countries stretching across all six major continents. They are approaching 600 Fairtrade Towns in the UK, where the movement first started and over 250 in Germany. The Belgian region of Flanders is expected to celebrate 50% of all towns becoming Fair Trade Towns later this year and Switzerland has just launched their own campaign. Fair Trade Towns vary in size from the Scottish island of Fair Isle with a population of just 65 to London with a population of seven million, but the strong emerging campaign in Seoul, Korea will ensure that London’s proud status as the world’s largest Fair Trade City will not remain forever. It’s hard to believe that all this first took root in the small English market town of Garstang when the residents boldly declared Garstang as the world’s first Fair Trade Town at a Public Meeting in April 2000.
Not only are Fair Trade Towns branching around the world however, but they are also adapting to different cultures, different needs and in doing so becoming more inclusive. The five founding goals developed in the UK were originally aimed at promoting the FAIRTRADE Mark hence the movement in the UK is still named Fairtrade Towns. Although the five goals still remain the central core for all national Fair Trade Town campaigns worldwide they have now been adapted to be inclusive of the wider Fair Trade movement, known as ‘The Big Tent’ approach first introduced at the 6th International Fair Trade Towns conference in Poznan, Poland in 2012.
The International Fair Trade Towns Steering Committee, formed as a result of the Poznan conference developed the International Fair Trade Towns guidelines that state: “National campaigns are free to add to the five goals as they feel is appropriate in their own country, but are strongly recommended not to remove any of the founding goals”. A 6th goal was added in Belgium to support local producers and in Japan they went further by adding criteria aimed at promoting the local economy as well a Fair Trade, emphatically demonstrating that the two can work side by side. In April the WFTO Board nominated Tadeusz Makulski as their representative on the International Steering Committee.
Fair Trade Towns is a grassroots movement that was initially led by campaigners in so called ‘consumer’ countries to promote the sale of Fair Trade products and raise awareness of fair trade. The initiative has also been taken up in ‘producer’ countries such as Ghana, Costa Rica and Brazil however, (although the Steering Committee accept that in reality all countries are both ‘consumer’ and ‘producer’ countries) in order to promote producers and their communities. The Steering Committee encourages Fair Trade Towns to be utilised in this way in order to create the broadest possible base of stakeholders, all of which should feel responsible for the campaign at the national level.
The greatest strength of Fair Trade Towns is that they can and should involve everyone regardless of the work you do, the school your children go to, the church, mosque, synagogue or temple you worship in or what you do in your leisure time. Fair Trade Towns are about YOU so what are YOU waiting for.
For further information contact Bruce Crowther the International Fair Trade Towns Ambassador at brucecrowther300 (at) gmail.com
The French Fair Trade Platform will organize the next 11th & 12th of September in Paris its annual « Fair Trade Summer Universities ». The event is opened to French Fair Trade organizations, their partners, and public authorities. For this edition, the focus will lie on the concept of “social and ecological transition”, by training on the topic and discussing whether the Fair Trade movement feels part of this citizen’s movement, promoting social and ecological transition, and is planning to actively take part in it. In addition, two workshops will be organized: The first workshop will deal with communication issues and how our Fair Trade organizations can change consumers’ behavior by awareness-raising and promoting fair trade purchases. To achieve this, the workshop will help to identify the different category of consumers and their specific incentives and obstacles for switching to fair trade products. The second workshop will contribute to share partnership practices and experiences among the fair trade organizations: How to build a partnership with producer organizations from the South, how to promote the “empowerment” of Southern Partners and how to promote capacity building. Please read more about the event here.
Tuttounaltrocampo : one week international work camp in which young volunteers can experience a full immersion in the Italian fair trade world.
This year «Tuttounaltrocampo» will take place from September 28th to October 6th, along with the National Fair trade Fair «Tuttaunaltracosa» in Ferrara.
The aim of the International Youth Meeting/Camp is to provide young people with the opportunity to be trained on fair trade-related issues both from theoretical and practical point of view.
The youngsters arrive a few days before the running of the «Tuttaunaltracosa» Fair to participate in a short training course on fair trade-related topics. Then, during the fair, they have the chance to live it from inside by undertaking some practical tasks that contribute to its realization.
Please find attached the information sheet and the application form in English!
Ferrara 3rd-5th oct. Tuttaunaltracosa, national fair trade fair (XXth edition):
Tuttaunaltracosa, from 1994 the national fair trade fair, this year will return to Ferrara, Piazza Ariostea, from Friday 3 to Sunday, October 5, together with the International Festival.
The exhibitors will be a hundred, and next to them the fair comes alive conferences, debates, exhibitions and performances.For an entire weekend, Ariostea Square will become the focus of the sustainable and inclusive economy.This year, special edition, with international guests.
During the Belgian Fair Trade Week (1st to the 11th of October 2014), WFTO-Europe will organise a debate where students and young people from Brussels together with Fair Trade national actors will be invited to discuss the main challenges of Fair Trade and the way ahead. WFTO-Europe will organise this event in collaboration with Oxfam-en-Action, a group of young people engaged in Fair Trade, which benefits from a wide student network in Belgium. Other youth organisations and students from several universities will be invited to participate as well.
WFTO-Europe chose the students and young people as the target group due to their double roles in the society: as consumers and future Fair Trade ambassadors.
The main objectives of this debate are to deepen the knowledge on Fair Trade and to encourage people to be active and be Fair Trade promoters.
In order to do so, the debate will be divided in three different sessions. The first 30 minutes will be dedicated to a general presentation of the debate and the different national Fair Trade actors that will take part to it. Each of them will briefly introduce himself and his activity in his own country. They will also quickly introduce the working group they will lead during the second session, addressing questions raised by the students.
During this session, each FT actor will invite the students to deepen some specific topics in the respective discussion groups (at least 5). These topics will be previously identified through a consultation process amongst students and will be focused on the main challenges/criticisms of Fair Trade (how to promote FT in the current economic crisis in Europe, how to make trade rules and practices fairer, what is the impact of Fair Trade on producers,..). The FT actors will guide the students on the reflection and eventual elaboration of new ideas on how to face the issue. The discussions will be framed so as to identify solutions and, if possible, what Belgium-based young people could do. After twenty minutes, students will be asked to move to another group for a second round of discussion on a different topic.
The debate will end with a wrap up session where one person from each group (a student or the FT actor) will be invited to share insights or other results from the conversations had in the working group with the rest of the people.
Few weeks after the debate, WFTO-Europe will launch a survey to receive the feedback of the participants and to evaluate the impact of the event.