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)

                                                                  Biennia

“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.

Plenary_Room_CoR

“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.

In support of the above mentioned opinion, the Committee of the Regions has published a study on “local and regional authorities promoting Fair Trade”.
A pdf version of this press release can be found 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.

03 June 2015 - Belgium - Brussels - European Development Days - EDD - Trade - Empowering smallholders participation in global supply chains © European Union
Speakers (from left) Sergi Corbalan, Shivani Reddy, Judith Sargentini, Francesca Giubilo and Caroline Hickson © European Union

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.

Other workshops WFTO-Europe attended included Joining forces to make undernutrition historyFeeding the planet togetherTrade for inclusive and sustainable growthFeeding the urban world: Local solutions for global challengesFrom cotton production to ethical clothing and fashion.

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!

WFTD

 “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, WFTO Chief 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.

We thank our Fair Trade Networks for organising World Fair Trade Day campaigns. For example, ARGE Weltläden, our Fair Trade Network in Austria, spearheaded the Agent for Change campaign in Austria. We also thank the pioneer of the WFTDay celebration People Tree UK, Trade Aid New Zealand, and SERRV International for helping us!

We look forward to celebrating with you once again next year! Our theme ‘Be an Agent for Change’ will be used for 2016 and 2017 celebrations! Viva Agents for Change!

See the faces and images of our Agents for Change here.

– See more at: http://www.fairtrade-advocacy.org/ftao-publications/newsletters/157-newsletters-articles/840-wftday2015#sthash.Nm7PNVmp.dpuf

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, aFairMail_001 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 Milan is 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.

WFTW Wall

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.

Visit the World Fair Trade Week and WFTO websites to learn more, and get the latest news.

 

Logo BFTF (fond blanc hte définition)

A Belgian Fair Trade platform : stronger together!

The Belgian Fair Trade Federation (BFTF) is a network of fifteen Fair Trade actors in Belgium, mainly active in Wallonia and in Brussels. Some of them are non-governmental, or non-profit organisations with small projects in the South and awareness-raising organisations in the North. Others are small companies which import, transform and/or distribute Fair Trade products. And others are beautiful shops specialised in Fair Trade and organic products. Some of these actors sell food or non-food products exclusively, others have both.

In one word BFTF members all practice different activities. They also all have one common goal: promoting Fair Trade in Belgium. In 2010 this goal led them to gather around one common project: the creation of a platform, BFTF.

Various activities to improve awareness of Fair Trade

BFTF was founded to promote Fair Trade in Belgium but also to give the opportunity to its members to gather and to empower their activities. Over the years BFTF has thus become the interlocutor representing the sector in Belgium. Today we have many different activities going from services to our members to awareness-raising of Belgian citizens.

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Trainings are organised for our members. We also organise gatherings to simply bring together our members and to foster exchanges about their different practices. Sometimes these gatherings lead to common projects. Last year, for instance, all together we made a small leaflet to illustrate Fair Trade’s qualities, diversity and values. This leaflet was handed out to over 10.000 persons. Through this action, we expected to raise awareness and to invite people to consider the possibility of consuming differently and respectfully for the producers and the environment.

This project leads us to the second part of activity: the promotion of Fair Trade to Belgian citizens through different means: information, communication, awareness-raising… We invite citizens to more awareness about unfair practices and to act and go for Fair Trade.

 

New Challenges for 2015

Founded in 2009, we will celebrate our fifth anniversary in October. A good moment to launch new challenges. Furthermore, Fair Trade has evolved these last years. In fact we see more and more European fair initiatives. Nowadays, in our countries, as in every other, producers are victims of the existing agricultural model. They also need to be given a fair price for their work and their products. Therefore, in 2015, BFTF will open itself to new members, called the “local fair trade actors”.

As new member of WFTO, we hope we’ll have the opportunity to meet you, to get to know your activity and to imagine possible future collaboration with you!

 

 

Name: Belgian Fair Trade Federation
Head Office: Brussels, Belgium
Year of foundation: 2010
Website: www.bftf.be

 

Fair Monkey

Fair Monkey Logga_CMYKFair Monkey is a cooperative economic association with an aim to secure better living conditions for mainly women producers from small co-operatives in Guatemala, Nepal and South Africa. Established 2006 in Sweden, we import and sell Fair Trade products to about 90 shops in Sweden and in some neighboring countries.  A cooperative economic association is ideal, with its democratic approach to ownership, and it makes perfect sense when cooperating with our artisans and producers, since they often are organized in the same way. The products include a range of beautiful and contemporary jewellery and accessories which are all handmade and purchased directly from our producers and artisans. With this, opportunities are created for these amazing artisans to improve living conditions for themselves and their families with the steady income that the handicraft gives, while they proudly share their craftsmanship with the world. To build common trading conditions and simultaneously increase the producers’ craft-pride and self-esteem is an important part of our work.

Fair Monkey places great emphasis on knowledge about product development and quality assurance, trying to find products with a clear view of Maya culture, design and technology, (the backstrap loom in particular). This is especially important for maintaining traditional knowledge and traditions of craftsmanship, which otherwise could easily disappear when it’s not rsz_sharing_information_with_asociacíon_maya_de_desarrollogenerating any income for the work done. Trade is a great way to spread knowledge about the artisans living conditions and highlight the importance of Fair Trade. Part of Fair Monkeys operations, except for the import and wholesales, is giving lectures about the producer’s situation, and what Fair Trade in reality has meant to them.    

 

 

 

Name: Fair Monkey
Head Office: Laholm, Sweden
Year of foundation: 2006
Website: www.fairmonkey.se

Fair Monkey

Fair Monkey Logga_CMYKFair Monkey is a cooperative economic association with an aim to secure better living conditions for mainly women producers from small co-operatives in Guatemala, Nepal and South Africa. Established 2006 in Sweden, we import and sell Fair Trade products to about 90 shops in Sweden and in some neighboring countries.  A cooperative economic association is ideal, with its democratic approach to ownership, and it makes perfect sense when cooperating with our artisans and producers, since they often are organized in the same way.

The products include a range of beautiful and contemporary jewellery and accessories which are all handmade and purchased directly from our producers and artisans. With this, opportunities are created for these amazing artisans to improve living conditions for themselves and their families with the steady income that the handicraft gives, while they proudly share their craftsmanship with the world. To build common trading conditions and simultaneously increase the producers’ craft-pride and self-esteem is an important part of our work.

 

Fair Monkey places great emphasis on knowledge about product development and quality assurance, trying to find products with a clear view of Maya culture, design and technology, (the backstrap loom in particular). rsz_sharing_information_with_asociacíon_maya_de_desarrolloThis is especially important for maintaining traditional knowledge and traditions of craftsmanship, which otherwise could easily disappear when it’s not generating any income for the work done. Trade is a great way to spread knowledge about the artisans living conditions and highlight the importance of Fair Trade. Part of Fair Monkeys operations, except for the import and wholesales, is giving lectures about the producer’s situation, and what Fair Trade in reality has meant to them.    

 

 

 

Name: Fair Monkey
Head Office: Laholm, Sweden
Year of foundation: 2006
Website: www.fairmonkey.se