In this edition
Our AGM was held on the 23rd of June and exceptionally online due to the current pandemic. Thank you to all of our more than 40 participants and to the 11 members represented via proxy votes.
Several points were discussed and approved during the event, such as the accounts and balance of 2019, the provisional budget 2021 as well as the strategic and action plan 2020-203. Due to the end of the EU-funded “TFLF” project and a lack of external source of funding, the WFTO-Europe Secretariat will soon be in a critical financial situation, which will significantly impact its budget for 2021.
During the past months, and with the help of our members during an online discussion on the 3rd of June, the Secretariat has been working on elaborating a new strategic plan and action plan for 2020 – 2023. The coronavirus and our difficult financial situation have impacted the final plan, and some amendments have been approved to make sustainability and cooperation with Fair businesses more at the heart of our upcoming activities.
This meeting was also the occasion to say goodbye to our Board member Stephanie Brookes (Traidcraft Exchange, United Kingdom) and Estelle Vanwameke (Oxfam Magasins du Monde) and to welcome three new Board members: Charlotte Timson (Traidcraft Exchange), Cassandre Maury (Les Jardins de Gaïa) and Jean-Christophe Galland (CMC Malongo). Jean-Christophe and Cassandre had been co-opted in October 2019 and were officially elected by the Assembly on the 23rd of June. Thank you Stephanie and Estelle for your help and expertise during these 3 last years; and welcome Charlotte, Cassandre and Jean-Christophe!
And last but not least, since WFTO Global’s next year’s AGM will be held at the end of August 2021 in Berlin, WFTO-Europe will organise an online AGM around June 2021 to approve legal documents as well as a physical regional meeting during the Global Conference in Berlin. We already look forward to meeting you all there!
If you wish to read the minutes or find all of the documents that have been approved and updated, click here.
In May, as we celebrated World Fair Trade Day, we published our second edition of our Members Review. Climate change is becoming an increasingly important issue, and we wanted to set a focus on our members’ commitment to address it. Fair Trade Enterprises are not just social enterprises, they also integrate green and sustainable practices in their business models, and honour our principle 10 of Fair Trade: “Respect for the environment”.
Find out more about their practices and constant improvement through 7 inspiring stories from our members.
With the sanitary circumstances we have adapted our celebrations with #PlanetFairTrade and #FairTradeSolidarity, click here to have a look at our members’ and Fair Trade supporters’ lovely contributions. Once again, we have shown that the Fair Trade movement remains united in all circumstances, and that we stand for one another.
© European Union 2012 – European Parliament
At the beginning of the year, it was still too early to imagine the disastrous consequences that the corona pandemic would have on our societies. A few months of lockdown and teleworking later, while trying to keep ourselves busy by finally getting rid of the chores we had been postponing for years, baking our own bread or learning a new language, some of us had the time to rethink our lavish lifestyles. Lockdown has forced us to live with ourselves and our thoughts for weeks, which might have been challenging but also encouraged us to resort to our creativity, and to think of what was going to happen next.
The post-corona era is still full of uncertainty and in every people’s minds. The sanitary crisis hit our economies, and some vulnerable businesses might never recover from it, jeopardising millions of people’s lives. As a consequence, our leaders’ political agendas had to be adapted and reshaped, taking into account all of the new variables linked to the crisis.
In the last edition of our newsletter, we talked about the European Green Deal proposed by the European Commission and its possible consequences. It goes without saying that the implementation of most of the related programmes has been compromised, as the focus has now been set on the economic recovery, overshadowing the efforts implemented by the EU to tackle climate change.
However, protecting the environment and reducing our carbon footprint aren’t incompatible with consolidating our economy, and some MEPs led by Pascal Canfin (Renew Europe) are calling for a green recovery plan. At the time where this article is being written (July 3rd, 2020), we are expecting the European Council’s proposal for the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), which should exceptionally come with a €750 billion recovery fund composed of grants and loans dedicated to mitigating the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the EU economy. The Green Recovery Alliance proposes to put the European Green Deal at the heart of the recovery plan, putting an emphasis on investing in sustainable companies and projects and accelerating the ecological transition.
The signatories of this informal alliance are composed of a variety of actors: MEPs, NGOs, think tanks, businesses… All of them are committing to invest in the necessary solutions to “revive the economy after the crisis” while still being “aligned with the climate commitments”.
If you wish to learn more about the alliance and its signatories, here is an article that might be of your interest. Anyway, a green and comprehensive recovery would be a great news for the Fair Trade movement, and a step forward towards an economy that respects the environment and its inhabitants.
WFTO-Europe is currently working on a public procurement toolkit, to help our members with recommendations on to apply for public calls for tenders for which we have commissioned Alice Sinigaglia, a consultant formerly working with our advocacy office FTAO. The purpose of the toolkit is to make our members better able to access the public procurement market in Europe, and eventually outside of Europe. The toolkit should be finalised by the end of August, and will be featured in our next newsletter. Stay tuned!
- Textile strategy w/ FTAO (Mikkel)
- FTAO’s HRDD report launch (info @ https://bit.ly/2zX5MPb) (Mikkel)
On the 10th and the 11th of June, the Fair Trade International Symposium online panel was organised, complementary to the actual event to be held in Mexico, postponed to 2021. The panelists focused on the following theme: “Fair Trade and resilience in supply chains: insights from the past, perspectives on the future”. During the first day, the discussions were rather about looking at the past and understanding the crisis in context, while the second day highlighted the public policies and future systems to be implemented, as well as the cooperation between researchers and practitioners. You will find the recordings of the two afternoons of discussion both in English and Spanish on FTAO’s Vimeo channel.
A week after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 Pandemic, WFTO Asia Members were already producing People’s Mask and other Fair Trade Personal Protective Equipment. This was part of WFTO Asia’s response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. People’s Mask had its humble beginnings with WFTO Asia communicating with members across the region checking on the status of the producers, artisans, farmers, and staff in relation to the early impacts of COVID-19. The spark that started the People’s Mask Initiative came from the members when several members contributed ideas that served as the foundation of this initiative. Tara Projects (India) provided the idea that Fair Trade Enterprises are capable of producing masks, Fair Trees (Georgia) provided the inspiration that there is a market out there, and finally Hong Kong Fair Trade Power (Fair Circle) provided the design idea, the HK Mask Design of Dr. K. Kwong and Sew-on-Studio, which served as the core design of what we now call the People’s Mask. The term “People’s Mask” also came from one of the members, Artisan Hut (Bangladesh/ECOTA). People’s Mask is a face covering designed for non-medical frontliners — essential workers such as the grocery store workers, public transport drivers, government workers, social workers, community development workers, essential private-sector workers, peace and order personnel, trash collectors, food workers, farmers, and artisans. People’s Mask are also intended to serve and help people coming from the marginalized sectors of society. Today, the People’s Mask has reached five continents with a number of the prime movers of People’s Mask working with other Fair Trade Buyers and Stakeholders. A huge percentage of the People’s Mask went to Europe. As of this writing, HDIF has shared the good news that the Armenian Government has granted them special permission to export their People’s Mask. HDIF initially led the pack in terms of reaching as many regions as possible in the early days of People’s Mask. This temporarily stopped when government policies shifted during the initial outbreak of COVID-19. With the easing up of restriction in many Asian countries, more WFTO Asia members that are producing People’s Mask can now support the needs of other regions.A big support was also provided by WFTO Europe to the People’s Mask. WFTO Europe conducted a rapid study on the EU regulations and policies that have a direct and indirect bearing on the People’s Mask. The work of WFTO Europe on the EU regulations and policies provided both the members in Asia and Europe the much-needed guidance, which helped in ensuring the smooth entry of the People’s Mask in Europe given the evolving policy environment in relation to the COVID-19 Pandemic.As we move forward, People’s Mask is often referred to as a ‘movement’. It is the coming together of Fair Trade Enterprises and partners in Asia to respond to the needs of people and society in order to survive and fight off the COVID-19 Pandemic. People’s Mask is a statement and a commitment that Fair Trade is here for the people, especially in these very challenging times. Hence, People’s Mask is a ‘movement’, as Mathew John of Last Forest (India) articulated during the recent Special Meeting of Asia Members, “… more than the production mask, the tremendous energy and the sense of bringing together that Jerome and Mitos [WFTO Asia] did was phenomenal because it did not just remain with me but it sort of infused in many people in the organization, and they pivoted in their thought process of where they were looking at a very bleak future, the energy levels I think went up tremendously, it’s not just the monetary and the numbers game but it’s the sense of urgency and the sense of coming together, the sense of rethinking things, I think that was the very important role that [WFTO Asia] played… what they [WFTO Asia] did in the past three months was phenomenal, we are very grateful..” ##
Eve Bradis tells us a more about Fair Trade Scotland’s perspective: “Fair Trade Scotland is proud to be working with WFTO Network Member Scottish Fair Trade Forum and our WFTO Partner Villageworks, Cambodia, to bring Face Coverings that maintain authenticity, transparency and equity throughout the whole supply chain. All face coverings display the WFTO Product label which guarantees that the 10 WFTO Principles are adhered to whilst supporting Villageworks with much needed income at this time.”
Our membership is now composed of 106 enterprises, from which 60 are guaranteed, 37 are provisional and 19 are Fair Trade networks.
This month we are putting Zimba-Arts in the spotlights:
Located in Culemborg, in the center of the Netherlands, Zimba-Arts specializes in handmade fair-trade art from Africa, made from recycled sustainable materials.
The enterprise collaborates with artists in Ongata Rongai, on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya, and believes in the potential of these young artists, and supports them towards a sustainable income. The founder encourages focus on education: 10% of the revenue is secured for the school fees of the artists’ children.
To learn more about this inspiring enterprise, click here.
Take a ride on our Fair Train towards Denmark and discover our 5 exceptional members!
This quarter has been full of changes: as we are saying goodbye to Anna and Tess as assistants at the WFTO-Europe Secretariat in Brussels, we will be welcoming Giulia on the 20th of July.
Some good news: Anna might have left Europe’s regional office but she will still be around at our Global office as finance and administration coordinator. Congratulations Anna!
Click here to read the minutes of our previous board meetings.
“Milking the planet – How Big Dairy is heating up the planet and hollowing rural communities”, Shefali Sharma for IATP
“What makes a product sustainable?”, Jenna Cyprus for Earth911