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
Starting today, 25th of September 2015 the world leaders are meeting in New York, USA to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) during the UN Sustainable Development Summit 2015.
These 17 Sustainable Development Goals are the replacement for the Millennium Development Goals that were in place from 2000 until now. For the next 15 years, until 2030, the new SDGs are supposed to continue the developments of its predecessorsand shape our world to the better.
The Fair Trade Advocacy Office elaborated a preliminary analysis on the new Sustainable Development Goals and Fair Trade, pointing out its importance for the successful implementation of these new and inevitable targets.
Beginning of next month, the Fair Trade Forum 2015 will take place in Uppsala, Sweden.
Read the following article from Bertil Högberg of The House of Fair Trade for detailed information about the event.
Fair Trade Forum in Sweden
2-3rd October is when we have the tenth Fair Trade Forum in Sweden. This time it takes place in the city of Uppsala. The Forum is an activity within the Swedish Fair Trade Network in collaboration with a Fair Trade City. Uppsala, that became a Fair Trade City earlier this year, takes this opportunity to educate its citizens and its large student population about Fair Trade and at the same time welcoming consumers and people from the Fair Trade movement across the country.
The program involves 50 seminars, workshops and panel discussions and over 30 exhibitors and other activities. This year there will be a strong international presence. Two WFTO producer organizations from Latin America will participate: Antonia Rodrigues from ASARBOLSEM in Bolivia and Marcela Cofré and Oscar Muñoz from Calypso in Chile. The new WFTO member Les Jardins de Gaïa from France will present their work with Fair Trade and tea production. Sergi Corbalan from the FTAO in Brussels will also conduct seminars and participate in a discussion with members of the European parliament connected to the Vote4FairTrade Campaign. Representatives from Fairtrade Foundation and Fairtrade International will speak about gender issues in Fairtrade. The Swedish minister for consumer issues will be the key note speaker at the inauguration. Among the exhibitors are distributors of both WFTO and Fairtrade-labelled products as well as retailers, trade unions and other organisations involved in fair and ethical trade issues.
 A network of Fair Trade actors in Sweden including 6 members of WFTO-E: the Swedish Organization of Fair Trade Retailers, The House of Fair Trade, IM Fair Trade, La Maison Afrique , Sackeus and Fair Monkey.
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.
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.