Oxfam-Magasins du monde is one of the main fair trade organisations in Belgium. It covers the regions of Wallonia and Brussels, while its sister organisation Oxfam-Wereldwinkels is active in Flanders. In 2012, the organisation turnover was equal to €5.8 million and it employed 55 full-time equivalent employees. It works with various fair trade partners in the South: directly with 33 handicraft partners and indirectly with 106 food and 18 cosmetics partners.
The main legitimacy of the organisation comes from its very strong movement of volunteers, more than 4,500, all organised in a democratic way: they manage themselves the world shops, vote for new producers to be added to the list of partners, etc. They also participate to various actions and campaigns on fair trade and economic justice issues.
In the next months, this campaigning work will focus on the coming elections, which in Belgium will take place at regional, federal, and European levels. As part of the larger ‘Vote4FT’ campaign, our main demands to the politicians will be to support fair trade of course, but also to put in place trade policies protective of human and workers’ rights. For Oxfam-Magasins du monde, it is clear that tragic events such as the Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh are linked with economic pressures, forcing people to risk their lives in hope for a better future. In this context, politicians have a key role to play: putting in place an international trade framework, for example on base of fair trade, so that trade is better regulated and meets its societal goals (decent work, but also right to food, etc.). Beside the use of different tools (Vote4FT manifesto, articles, partners’ testimonies, campaign video, etc.), one major highlight of the campaign will be a public debate with EU Belgian candidates on March 4th in Brussels.
Every year, when people traditionally dance around their Christmas trees it is likely that few, if any, consider the fact that their Christmas tree probably originated in Georgia. The vast majority of seeds used for growing Christmas trees in Europe are sourced from Georgia, where both quality and production quantity are considerably higher.
DANGEROUS WORKING CONDITIONS
For decades, the cone pickers have been working at the risk of their lives. Harvesting of seeds in Georgia is carried out by hand and under primitive conditions. The Georgian cone pickers climb up into 30 m tall fir trees in order to reach the cones, which they then pluck and throw to the ground. The cone pickers work entirely without safety equipment, which means that occupational injuries – and fatal accidents – come with the territory of being a cone picker. Fair Trees® wants to improve working conditions for the Georgian cone pickers.
A BETTER LIFE THROUGH FAIR TRADE
Fair Trees® insists that all workers take a course on safety and that they use secure climbing equipment. The cone pickers are provided with labour insurance that covers the costs of occupational injuries as well as standard medical care. Furthermore, Fair Trees supports various social initiatives ensuring education and development in the cone picker community.
Award winning Fair Trade fashion brands, Pachacuti and People Tree, will launch their first collections containing the WFTO Product Label. Both organizations, committed to meet the Fair Trade standards throughout their supply chain, are delighted to inaugurate the WFTO Product Label. First of its kind, the WFTO Product Label allows now consumers to detect Fair Trade businesses that hold a 100% commitment to Fair Trade in their activities. People Tree and Pachacuti follow and promote the WFTO’s core Principles of Fair Trade, covering fair wages, working conditions, transparency, capacity building, environmental best practice and gender equality. Fair practices are becoming increasingly important as people are getting more and more interested as well as informed about the ethics of supply chains.
People Tree, started already 20 years ago in Japan and has been pioneering a Fair Trade and organic cotton supply chain ever since its creation. The organization is very pleased to be among the first to launch the WFTO Product Label on their upcoming 2014 spring summer collection. This advancement is crucial as Safia Minney (MBE Founder and CEO of People Tree – UK and Japan) belives that “since the Rana Plaza tragedy, consumers want to know what to look for to be sure producers are treated well”.
Since becoming the world’s first Fair Trade Certified Organisation by the WFTO, Pachacuti has continued to work towards pushing standards higher and improving traceability and transparency within their supply chain. The organization is delighted to be among the first companies worldwide to use the WFTO Product Label on their new collection of Panama hats and beach bags, launched at the London Fashion Week. Carry Somers (Founder and Managing Director at Pachacuti) expressed her deep satisfaction of this new upgrade: “This label is an exciting development and I am sure that it will develop into a widely-recognised mark which will become a guarantee of the highest social and environmental standards.”
Rudi Dalvai (President of the World Fair Trade Organization) expressed his deep gratitude as well: “World Fair Trade Organisation is delighted that People Tree and Pachacuti will launch the new global Fair Trade product label at London Fashion Week. I’m Italian and love fashion, but I love good ethics too! People Tree and Pachacuti are skillfully combining both aspects.”
Tuttaunaltracosa is the annual Fair Trade caravan that leads workshops, Fair Trade centrals, craftsmen from the southern hemisphere and volunteers from all over Italy to an happening, every year in a new town.
From the first edition in 1994, Tuttaunaltracosa has toured a great deal of big Italian cities (Milan, Genoa, Modena, Ferrara, Lecce, Naples, Reggio Emilia and many more). 40,000 visitors in three days, over 100 exhibitors from all over Italy and promotion of local solidary economies, exhibitions, conferences. Since 2007 the national fair of fair trade is under the high patronage of the President of the Republic.
Energy will be the key word for the 2013 edition of Tuttaunaltracosa. Clean energy, because the production and supply chains of fair trade are always trying to ensure maximum respect for the environment. Young and vital energy, thanks to the daily commitment of thousands of volunteers throughout Italy. But above all, energy that moves the minds, that circulates thoughts, gives oxygen to the ideas and broadens horizons: the most intense among all energies, which again Tuttaunaltracosa wants to turn on in all those who want to visit the spaces and the initiatives of the fair.
The appointment for everyone, then, is from October 4th to October 6th in Ferrara (Piazza Ariostea), near Reggio Emilia, from 9 am until late at night. Free entry.
At Tuttaunaltracosa you can also meet the young people from Tuttounaltrocampo, the international work camp that is an apprenticeship group in a fair, a laboratory of ideas and friendships.
It is inspired from the former principles of Fair Trade and aims to share the vision of today and above all the projects of the future in an environment without national borders. Young people from all over the world coming for more than ten days to discuss Fair Trade, sustainable development, environmental politics and to meet the producers that will be present at Tuttaunaltracosa.