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.
WFTO-Europe welcomes a new Guaranteed member, FairMail (The Netherlands), which has recently successfully completed the WFTO Guarantee System process. Since the implementation of the WFTO Guarantee System in 2013, the number of members transitioning to Guaranteed Fair Trade Organisation status is gradually increasing and by the end of 2015 all WFTO-Europe’s members are expected to become Guaranteed members.
The GS is the first international Fair Trade system that verifies organisations on their compliance with the principles of Fair Trade, and ensures that improvements are consistently carried out over the years through a scheduled monitoring scheme. Read more about the Guarantee System here.
About Fair Mail
FairMail Cards is a Dutch Fair Trade Organization based in Amsterdam, and probably the first organisation selling Fair Trade cards. It was founded in Peru by Janneke Smeulder, a Dutch sociologist and entrepreneur. When Janneke visited Trujillo, the capital of La Libertad region and the most populous city in the North of Peru, she saw many children in the slums struggling to survive. She decided that they deserved an alternative way of living.
The concept that Janneke developed is simple but effective – train teenagers take pictures and use the images to produce Fair Trade greeting cards. The money earned is used to pay for their education. Today, FairMail is working with teenagers in Peru, India and Morocco. They offer free photography classes to the teenagers. The teenagers get 50% of the profit of the card where the photo is used, and on top of that they also receive medical fund, and advice for their future plans.
“We are very happy that FairMail is now a WFTO guaranteed member and thus allowed to print the label on our fair trade greeting cards with pictures taken by underprivileged teenagers from Peru, India and Morocco,” said Peter den Hond, FairMail’s General Manager.
“With the logo appearing on more than half a million cards sold worldwide each year, we hope to also help increase the visibility and acceptance of this new label. This way not only helping FairMail, but the whole Fair Trade community.”
In less than ten years more than 2 million cards have been sold in 14 countries. 50 young photographers have taken part in the project and earned more than 100.000 euro that they invested in their education.
FairMail is a recipient of the Dutch Card Award for “most innovative card concept” in 2008, and the ASN Ethical Bank’s “World Prize against Child Labor” in 2011.
By Michael Sarcauga, Communications Officer of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) and Francesca Giubilo, Coordinator of WFTO-Europe
The 13th Biennial Conference of WFTO in Milanis packed with interesting workshop topics and exciting speakers, all the more reason to come to Milan in May to celebrate the World Fair Trade Week. From the 24 to 27 May, the WFTO conference will be bustling with discussions and debates on topics like market trends and opportunities for handmade products, climate change and the path forward for small producers, fair prices and fair wages, advocacy and campaigning, solidarity economy, Fair Trade success stories, fair trading the fashion industry, sustainability in the food supply chain and certification, Fair Trade labelling and strategies to use the label, WFTO Guarantee System, internal monitoring system, and lots more about Fair Trade verification.
WFTO invited expert speakers and professional practitioners from various fields in Fair Trade verification, marketing, advocacy and campaigning, as well as producers, marketers and ex/import traders who will share their experiences and success stories. Read the draft programme here and regularly check this space for the latest version.
On behalf of the WFTO Network, the presidents of WFTO Global and WFTO Europe invite the public to witness the biggest international Fair Trade celebration of the year:
“Many organisations from the Fair Trade supply chain will be attending the WFTO Biennial Conference and other events of the World Fair Trade Week. In addition, experts, activists, students and other visitors are also expected to attend the International Fair Trade Symposium, an international Fair Trade Milano City Exhibition, a Fair Trade fashion show, fair cooking events, to name only a few of the activities planned to take place during the week.” – Rudi Dalvai, WFTO President
“Europe and Italy are very proud to host the biggest event ever organised on Fair Trade. Fair Trade Organisations and world shops, academics and practitioners, cooks and volunteers, traditional and Fair Trade fashion brands – all together to show that a sustainable and fair economy is not a dream but something real across the world. What consumers ask – clean products verified against social and environmental criteria – is now available and trade justice is fully coherent with quality products. Do not miss this opportunity, come!” – Giorgio Dal Fiume, WFTO Europe President.
The conference is one of the major international activities to take place in Milan during the World Fair Trade Week event, from 23 to 31 of May where Milan will also host the Fair Trade International Symposium, international trade fair for Fair Trade and ethical products, roundtable discussion on Fair Trade and ethical finance, Fair Trade Fashion show, fair cooking night, and other activities organised by our Italian Fair Trade partners!
During the week, Milan will be declared the Global Capital of Fair Trade. Speaking to the press, Milan Mayor Giuliano Pisapia is excited to be the host of this year’s biggest international Fair Trade event. He said Fair Trade tackles issues like food sustainability, equitable compensation of producers, irresponsible farming, and environmental degradation. “Fair Trade represents a real economic revolution,” the Mayor said.
WFTO and AGICES (Italian General Assembly of Fair Trade) co-orgnised the World Fair Trade Week in collaboration with CTM Altromercato, Botteghe del Mondo, EquoMercato, Libero Mondo, Altra Qualitá, and Chico Mendes, and with the support of the Municipality of Milan, Fondazione Cariplo and the “Food Smart Cities for Development” project with the European Union. The WFTO Conference is co-organised by WFTO Europe with the support of its members.