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
WORLD FAIR TRADE ORGANIZATION LAUNCHES THE FIRST INTERNATIONAL GUARANTEE LABEL FOR FAIR TRADE
The World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) guarantees organisations that meet the ever-growing consumers’ demand for ethical, more sustainable products. An organisation needs to respect the international Fair Trade Standard in order to be recognised as a Guaranteed Fair Trade Organisation.
Frankfurt, 13 February 2016 – The WFTO Label – the first international label that guarantees Fair Trade Organisations operating in any part of the supply chain, from producers to retailers – has been unveiled. With this unique Fair Trade label, consumers will be able to identify products in the international marketplace that meet high economic, social and environmental sustainability criteria. Fair Trade Organisations are fully committed to sustainable production and trade.
The label is backed by a robust and credible Guarantee System. By guaranteeing the organisation as a ‘Fair Trade Organisation’, the WFTO label meets the ever-growing consumers’ demand for a more trustworthy scheme in the international market, which guarantees that handicraft products are produced and traded according to ethical and Fair Trade standards.
Creating opportunities for economically disadvantaged producers, transparency and accountability, payment of a fair price, no child labour or forced labour, long-term trading relations, gender equity and women’s economic empowerment, freedom of association, good working conditions, capacity-building, and respect for the environment are the principles of Fair Trade that organizations should adhere to in order to comply with the Guarantee System and use the WFTO label on their products. The label can be put on packaging or tags of handicraft and food products as an assurance that the products are produced and/or traded by guaranteed Fair Trade Organisations whose practices are checked against these 10 Fair Trade principles globally acknowledged.
“There are no international public regulations for the certification of Fair Trade products. Private entities can deliberately set up their own criteria and certify single products without considering the practices of the company that sells these products”Rudi Dalvai, President of WFTO explains. “That is why it is of utmost importance to have a label that allows consumers to clearly identify the organisations who are 100% committed to Fair Trade.”
Based on more than 50 years of experience on Fair Trade, the new WFTO label represents an important step towards the recognition that an alternative economic model, more humane and sustainable at different levels, is actually possible. By buying products carrying the new WFTO label, traders and consumers can make a concrete contribution to create a more just world, to help fight poverty, social injustice and discrimination, to support economically disadvantaged small producers, and to promote the rights of people and respect for the environment.
Today, more than 50 Fair Trade Organisations are already guaranteed and can use the WFTO label. More than 230 in over 70 different countries are underway.
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 guarantee system and the 60 years of Fair Trade history can be found on our website: http://www.wfto.com
The Ambiente fair is the largest trade fair in Germany. In this year 2016, it will take place on the 12th-16th of February in Frankfurt am Main.
For the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) it is especially exciting this time. Why? Because WFTO will have its WFTO Product Label Global Launching at the Ambiente Trade Show!
From Frankfurt to the rest of the globe, WFTO and its members in more than 70 countries – WFTO-Europe comprising 15 of them – will present the Fair Trade Label for organisations to the public. This milestone in the Fair Trade movement will be communicated through the press, social media, websites, and other activities.
A credible Fair Trade label must have a good system backing the claim of the label
The WFTO has developed its own Guarantee System (GS), which was approved by WFTO members during the 2013 WFTO Annual General Meeting in Rio de Janeiro. It ensures that all WFTO members adhere to the organization’s Principles as expressed in the WFTO Standard.
The system is based on a three-level monitoring system, comprised of a Self-Assessment, Peer Visit and Monitoring Audit. Additionally, WFTO has developed the WFTO Fair Trade Accountability Watch, which is an online social accountability system that allows all members as well as concerned stakeholders or the public to raise alerts about a WFTO member’s compliance with the WFTO Standard.
The major aspects in the development of the GS were credibility, sustainability and robustness of the system.
The Guarantee System is not a product certification system, but an assurance mechanism that Fair Trade is implemented in the supply chain and practices of the organization as a whole.
Only those trading member Organizations who have successfully gone through this system, and therewith reached Guaranteed Fair Trade Organization member status, are entitled to use the WFTO Product Label.
The WFTO Product Label – a new Symbol of Fair Trade assurance!
The WFTO Product Label is an organizational label that guarantees the organization’s Fair Trade practices. It is licensed by WFTO to its members by signing a labelling contract.
It is a unique Fair Trade label that represents organisational best practices in applying the 10 Principles of Fair Trade, which are verified and regularly monitored through the WFTO Guarantee System.
The WFTO Product Label can be used by Guaranteed members on any type of product – including handicrafts, food and others – on wholesale and retail packaging and for promotional purposes.
Be sure not to miss this important moment in WFTO’s history and for the whole Fair Trade Movement, we would be happy if you come to celebrate it with us!
Want to learn more about who and what is behind our clothes?
Come to our event organised on the 14th of October 2015 in Brussels during the Belgian Fair Trade Week!
Students and all those interested in the topic will have the opportunity to discuss the main problems and solutions with actors involved in the fight for a fairer textile supply chain.
WFTO-Europe’s main partners for this project are:
Oxfam-Magasins du Monde – non-profit organization promoting Fair Trade;
Fashion Revolution – a global coalition of designers, academics, writers, business leaders and parliamentarians calling for systemic reform of the fashion supply chain;
Clean Clothes Campaign – dedicated to improving working conditions and supporting the empowerment of workers in the global garment and sportswear industries through lobbying and awareness-raising.
Together with the partners, a local authority (a representative of the City of Ghent), as well as Kong Athit, a representative of the Cambodian Trade Union and Roopa Metha, an artisan from Sasha, a WFTO member organisation, we are going to discuss the main problems existing in the textile supply chains and the actions which can be undertaken for a more sustainable situation.
The debate will be moderated by Peter Möhringer, Project Coordinator at the Fair Trade Advocacy Office.
The programme of the event:
6.00-6.30pm:Welcome and registration
6.30-7.00pm:Introductory session with the screening of the True Cost film trailer and discussions with Roopa Metha from Sasha and the Kong Athit, Cambodian Trade Union representative
7.00-8.00pm: Panel debate with the participation of representatives of the partner organizations as well as the representative of the City of Ghent to share the best practices on how local authorities can promote ethical products.
8.00-8.30pm: Q&A session and Wrap up session
The event will be in English and free of charge. Fair Trade juice will be provided.
If you want to take part in the event, please register here
The event will be part of the Belgian Fair Trade Week, an initiative of the Belgian Development Agency. For more information about other events organised during this week, please visit www.semaineducommerceequitable.be