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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.

 

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Photo Credit: Helene Wickström

By Eva Marie Wüst Vestergaard

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Development and Cooporation recently published an article “Sustainability requires fair wages” on how researchers find that fair payments are necessary for sustainable economic development. The article addresses the issue that wages do not match the living costs as a preventive of economic development in developing countries.

The solution is clear: ensuring living wages. But as simple as it is to define this solution, implementing it seems to be highly complex. Adding these extra costs in the production stage will ultimately affect the retail prices. With a consumer demand for cheap products, companies are pressured to minimize production costs to maximize profits at the expense of humanitarian and green development.

In this way, there is a discrepancy between the business sector and the development sector. The two sectors are separated areas with conflicting interests. But it doesn’t have to be as such.

The Fair Trade movement has worked on this problem with this solution for years. It is what the movement calls “trade, not aid”. As it indicates, Fair Trade focuses on achieving sustainable development through trade and hence through the business sector. It aligns the two areas and creates an effective approach to save people and the planet. This gives companies a way of differentiating themselves and creating a competitive advantage. This is a win-win situation where everyone is a winner and nobody has to suffer at the expense of others’ incomes and expenses.

As a part of the “trade, note aid” approach, Fair Trade ensures “Payments of Fair Price” as Fair Trade Principle number 4. This is just one out of 10 Fair Trade Principles that the movement works with to achieve sustainable development.

Being a member of the Fair Trade movement, such as labelling products with the WFTO logo, provides a competitive advantage to companies. When companies become members of WFTO, they go through our guarantee system which 100 % guarantees that they are Fair Trade organisations.

This works because there are world-changing consumers out there who strongly ask for ethical products. They choose Fair Trade certified/guaranteed products even in those cases where this means a slightly higher price (but also a higher quality). In this way, Fair Trade companies and Fair Trade consumers give a little extra of themselves to the rest of the world for a huge impact.

We are all linked. Any decision you make can be affecting others around the world. So help us in our fight for a fair world for everyone by joining or supporting our movement. Every little effort makes a difference.

By Eva Marie Wüst Vestergaard

Tolly Dolly Posh

Blogger Tolly Dolly Posh in jumpsuit from People Tree.

 

 

The topic of ethics in the fashion industry is still a hot topic in the news, and with good reason. A couple of weeks ago, an article explained the challenges of tracking the supply chain in the industry. In the beginning of March, the Telegraph published an article on the pressure in the industry to ensure more ethical productions. Linked to this, big fashion chains decided to boycott Dhaka Apparel Summit in Bangladesh.

Indeed, ethical issues in the fashion industry are to be found more than in other industries. The fashion industry is the second most polluting industry after the oil industry. It can take over 2500 liters of water to produce one single t-shirt. With a demand for fast fashion, getting the latest trends for a cheap price, the volume of garments produced is booming with 80 billion garments produced each year around the world as a crucial cause of global warming.

Yet, issues do not merely affect the planet but also the people. Due to the demand of low prices, costs have to be kept as low as possible resulting in low working conditions in the fashion production stage. In fact, they are so low that they violate human rights including children’s and women’s rights. In Bangladesh, workers can work up to 16 hours per day, 6 days a week, and in unsafe working environments.

Fortunately, the future of fashion is brighter. Actors within the industry have recently claimed that “slow is the new fast”, that the future of fashion is sustainability. This is where Fair Trade and WFTO comes in.

Fair Trade fashion ensures that the production fulfills the 10 Fair Trade Principles. “Fair payment”, “No child labor, No forced labor”, and “Respect for the environment” are some of the principles Fair Trade producers must live up to. They are the Fair Trade Movement’s solution to issues such as human rights violations and global warming.

WFTO-Europe works with a Guarantee System which ensures that all members live up to the WFTO Standard and fulfil the 10 Fair Trade Principles. In this way, consumers are 100 % guaranteed that products with the  WFTO brands are produced and traded by Fair Trade Organisation, fully in compliance with the FT principles.

An example of such a brand is People Tree from the UK who produces slow fashion. They have demonstrated that the industry can deliver ethically produced products with a long life-cycle that are stylish and affordable. People Tree’s products are even worn by bloggers, latest by Tolly Dolly Posh, who make slow become the new fast.

Together, these many actors are pushing the Fair Trade movement forward and creating sustainable development. Join the frontrunners in the fashion industry and be a part of this latest trend by choosing Fair Trade fashion.

WFTO-Europe works with a Guarantee System which ensures that all members live up to the WFTO Standard and fulfil the 10 Fair Trade Principles. In this way, consumers are 100 % guaranteed that products with the WFTO brands are produced and traded by Fair Trade Organisation, fully in compliance with the FT principles.

An example of such a brand is People Tree from the UK who produces slow fashion. They have demonstrated that the industry can deliver ethically produced products with a long life-cycle that are stylish and affordable. People Tree’s products are even worn by bloggers, latest by Tolly Dolly Posh, who make slow become the new fast.

Together, these many actors are pushing the Fair Trade movement forward and creating sustainable development. Join the frontrunners in the fashion industry and be a part of this latest trend by choosing Fair Trade fashion.

By Maria Tereza Batista

Zero Discrimination Day FT Principle 6

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.

In Europe, in spite of the increase in the participation of women in the labor market, they are still underpaid in comparison to men. The gender pay gap varies greatly among EU-members but a women’s hourly gross income is on average 16.3% below than men’s[M1] . Furthermore, more than 25 per cent of women in the EU report that care and other family and personal responsibilities, versus only three per cent of men. Therefore, women continue to earn lower salaries and pensions, be underrepresented in decision-making roles and they are the ones who perform the majority of unpaid household work.

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.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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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[1]. 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 michael@wfto.com or give us a call +31.345536487.

 

Download Press Release here.

 

 

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[1] UN Women: Facts and Figures http://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/economic-empowerment/facts-and-figures and UN Women: Progress of the World’s Women (2015-2016) http://progress.unwomen.org/en/2015/chapter2/

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.
View samples in our catalogue.
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.
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Baskets by Mifuko Finland
ABOUT WFTO
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
Further references:
For high resolution images, interviews and other queries, please contact WFTO
Michael Sarcauga, Communications Coordinator
E: Michael[@]wfto.com T: +31345536487

Dear all,

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“:

Ethique et tac - Jean Bourguignon

 

Now the other comics!

Comic no. 1 “Jacob, l’héro” by Hugo Deflandre:

Hugo Deflandre

 

 

Comic no. 2 “La vie d’un héros” by Marina Sheinova:

la_vie_d_un_heros

 

 

Comic no. 3 “Invisible Hand” by Naomi Leboy:

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!

 

The WFTO-Team

 

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.

For more info check also the Internal Bulletin #67 of June of FTAO (login required).

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Sophie Tack – member of WFTO-Europe board
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Workshop on EU Aid for Trade Strategy

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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.

Read their reactions and see also the press release from the European Parliament on unfair trading practices!

 

For the second year,  the Staff of WFTO-Europe fully promoted the Fashion Revolution Movement through social media.

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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.