In this Issue:
WFTO Biennial Conference, New Delhi, India
World Fair Trade Week
Ambiente (WFTO will be hosting a stall at the event), Frankfurt, Germany
The Fair Trade International Symposium, Portsmouth, UK
We now feature an External Events Calendar on our site, where you can find a more general list of Fair Trade related events happening around Europe!
Let us know about your events!
European FairTrade Shuttle!
WFTO Europe @ home
We are happy to announce the official call for the 2017 WFTO-Europe Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM), which will take place on 12 of November 2017, starting at 16.30 at the Crowne Plaza Today, Okhla, in New Delhi (India).
As approved in the last AGM, which was held on the 21st of June 2017 via gotomeeting, the aim of this EGM is to have a physical meeting during the WFTO Biennial Conference in Delhi to discuss the implementation of the action plan as well as to elect the 5 out of 7 new Board of Directors. 3 candidatures have already been presented and we look forward to receiving others. Instructions and rules on how to apply for the position can be found in the members section of our website.
More than ever your participation in the EGM is crucial since a new WFTO-Europe political body will come out from this meeting and will strongly influence the way ahead for the organisation. In order to help us out with the organisation of this EGM and to ensure the majority of you is present to make the meeting valid, we kindly ask you to let us know following this link if we can count on your presence. If not please be sure to appoint a person from another member organization as your proxy. You can easily download all the documents, including the proxy vote form, here (login in the WFTO Europe’s website ‘Members Only section’).
For any further information, please do not hesitate to get back to us, writing to email@example.com.
We look forward to seeing you all in Delhi!
-The WFTO-Europe team
Students discussing Fair Trade with FT actors and professionals
As part of the Belgian Fair Trade Week 2017, WFTO-Europe organised an event on Fair Trade at the Université libre de Bruxelles. The main aim of the event was to introduce Fair Trade as an alternative business model to university students and young people in general, especially to those interested in business. To make the event more conducive to youths, we chose the World Café method in order to provide an opportunity to discuss topics more casually and in greater detail, and also to create space for questions and direct interaction between the Fair Trade actors and participants.
The event had three main blocks that were designed to cover the complexity of Fair Trade and help us tackle the differences in Fair Trade knowledge levels among the participants:
The first block was reserved for the general presentation and basic introduction. After the initial welcome speech by WFTO-Europe coordinator, Francesca Giubilo, the floor was given to Patrick Veillard from Oxfam-Magasins du Monde then Virginie Bartholomé from Belgian Development Agency (BTC). Patrick gave a brief presentation on global supply chains, in particular textiles. He shared information about the growing need for Fair Trade and basic differences between the conventional supply chain and the model followed by Fair Trade producers. The next presentation, by Virginie Barholomé, focused on the Fair Trade movement in Belgium. It introduced the Belgian Fair Trade country initiative, presented statistics on Fair Trade in Belgium, and introduced some of the local Fair Trade actors.
The World Café was the largest portion of the event so that participants could steer their own learning according to their interests and prior knowledge of the industry. Participants were divided between four groups and visited each of the hosts, who all targeted a different aspect of Fair Trade within their expertise. From the Fair Trade Advocacy Office, Sergi Corbalán raised some interesting questions on the role of government in Fair Trade, while Thierry Noesen from Belvas shared the point of view from an ethical businessman. Jerome Veriter and Alexandre Bertrand from Groupe One added some practical tips on creating a sustainable strategy for new businesses. Finally, WFTO member, Equo Garantito’s Eleonora Dal Zotto widened the discussion to a slightly larger dimension by explaining the role of Fair Trade networks in linking Small and Medium Enterprises and Fair Trade actors. Overall, there were many interesting discussions between the participants and hosts, both groups raising thought-provoking questions regarding Fair Trade labels, certification systems, and simply ethical and responsible lifestyles in everyday life.
For the closing section, the WFTO-Europe team, together with students from Oxfam ULB, prepared a small Fair Trade reception, which created the perfect space for some informal networking. During this time, it was proven that the audience had certainly been engaged at the event as they continued to pose many intriguing questions to both the hosts and other actors at the event- an indicator of a job well done!
Last April we introduced the topic of migration in relation to Fair Trade in conjunction with its selection by WFTO as the first Annual Topic. WFTO-Europe conducted a survey amongst its members, 20 of which participated, which definitively concluded that the two topics were, in fact, linked. Because Fair Trade aims to improve economic and social conditions and opportunities for producers, many living in rural areas and/or the Global South, it creates more security for those who otherwise may feel the need to flee the areas from which they come. In addition, some of our members participate in specific projects regarding migration issues. For example, in the last issue of the newsletter we showcased efforts participated in by EZA Fairer Handel GmbH on the topic which can be read here.
The ARGE Weltläden is another example of one of our members working within this arena. Their slogan, “Gemeinsame Zukunft statt einsame Festung” (in English: a common future instead of a lonely fortress), highlights the worldshop organization’s dedication to solidarity. Within this ARGE Weltläden and its members acted in various ways over the course of 2016, and continue to do so.
Specifically, the organization has launched a three year campaign to raise awareness for migration issues, especially tied with Fair Trade. It has created partnerships with groups in developing countries, as it believes strongly in supporting these communities. This is especially true today, as according to the United Nations 86% of refugees flee to surrounding developing countries rather than to Europe or America, and ARGE Weltläden worries this may destabilize communities who are already struggling. Because of this, the company seeks to work with groups who work in these areas in the hopes of aiding the situation through commerce.
In addition, the organization also participated in the Drop Earrings Not Bombs campaign in partnership with EZA Fair Trade, also a member of our network, which worked to train Syrian refugees in Turkey in the craft of producing earrings as a form of art therapy and in order to help support themselves. All the money made from the sale of these earrings was funneled straight to Small Projects Istanbul, the carrier non-governmental organization, who then continued their work in the training and integration of refugees.
WFTO-Europe is proud of ARGE Weltläden for the work they have done supporting refugees and in relation to other migration topics, as well as all of our other members who have done the same. These activities work to highlight the tie which exists between Fair Trade as a global topic and migration.
Europe in a nutshell
The week of October 9th was Belgian Fair Trade Week, and WFTO-Europe participated in a number of activities in support of Fair Trade within our base country of Belgium as well as abroad. This included a number of external events, our own: Business for a Fair World as outlined in the self-titled headline above, and the Fair Trade Marathon hosted by our partner, the Fair Trade Advocacy Office.
The week kicked off on Saturday when our member, Belgian Fair Trade Federation, announced the winner of their Comic Strip contest. Our Regional Coordinator, Francesca Giubilo, served on the jury committee and was impressed by the work done by students in reporting the Fair Trade concept in one comic page. On Tuesday, WFTO-Europe attended and presented WFTO and the Guarantee System at Groupe One’s Live & Fair Crowdfunding event, where ethical start-ups had the opportunity to showcase their businesses and learn more about Fair Trade. This was also the opportunity for Oxfam-Magasins du Monde to launch its crowdfunding campaign on ethical textiles and slow fashion. Wednesday brought our own event, Business for a Fair World, which can be read about in the previous article on the topic.
Also on Wednesday, the Fair Trade Marathon began with two capacity-building workshops, one entitled ‘How can the Fair Trade movement tackle the root causes?’ and the other on EC grant management and reporting. While the first one was aimed at self-reflection on which types of strategies and campaigns can help the Fair Trade movement improve its capacity to tackle the root causes of poverty, the second one was held in the framework of the “Trade Live, Fair Trade” project to help familiarize partners with EC grant reporting procedures.
The marathon continued Thursday morning with the annual EP Fair Trade Breakfast, attended by Fair Trade actors from across the world as well as representatives from the European Parliament and the European Commission. The main speakers included members of the EP: Linda McAvan, Bernd Lange, and Helmut Scholz, the Directorate for Planet and Prosperity from the EC, Roberto Ridolfi, as well as Sergi Corbalán from FTAO. It served as not only an opportunity to share opinions and views on Fair Trade, but also to spread and share energy and excitement for the cause. Bernd Lange focused on the EU Cities for Fair and Ethical Trade award, and his vision for its future. He hopes that it “will serve as an example for more towns and cities to follow” and that the award will become as well known as the EU Green Capital Award. Helmut Scholz, on the other hand, focused on the mainstreaming of Fair Trade and people to people diplomacy, stating “the real work needs to happen on the ground.” Sergi Corbalán focused not on governmental nor consumer actors, but rather the third actor at the root of Fair Trade: the producers. He stressed the importance of including those at the start of the supply chains in decisions made as they themselves are the original investors in the South. The event came to a close with remarks from participants, including WFTO’s Natália Leal, who underlined the idea that “Fair Trade has been supporting the SDGs before they ever existed,” and that the organisation’s dedication to these principles was authentic and long-lasting, especially as they gain global popularity.
Following the breakfast, there was the Fair Trade policies workshop, where new EC actions were presented, then commented on by the Fair Trade community. These included the revision of the EU Aid for Trade strategy, the report on Fair and ethial trade market data and the EU Cities for Fair and Ethical Trade Award. Many of the actors examining and making proposals for these actions were members of WFTO and WFTO-Europe specifically, and WFTO’s CEO, Natália Leal, presented the organization. After lunch, the Marathon moved to Pianofabriek in Saint-Gilles for an advocacy network meeting relating to the “Trade Fair, Live Fair” project. At this meeting, each actor updated the group on their plans for the next three years in regards to the project, and the Fair Trade Advocacy Office updated the past achievements as well as a summary of the future actions until 2020. Following this, presentations were made on the project’s Theory of Change, its aims within the Fair Trade movement, and the different workstreams including research, campaigns, private sector engagement, advocacy, and capacity building.
Finally, on Friday, there was a project management meeting on the “Live Fair, Trade Fair” projects, which delved further into the specifics of the project and made key decisions and action points for its future.
This week we will wrap up the Marathon with another Fair Trade Breakfast, this time with La Coopération belge au Développement.
The website of the European Union’s Cities for Fair and Ethical Trade Award has now been launched! This award is an initiative of the European Commission, which the Directorate-General for Trade (DG Trade) launched as a commitment to its “Trade for all” communication on trade and investment policy, published in 2015. WFTO-Europe together with FTAO and other experts in the field were part of the Technical Committee created the beginning of 2017 to define the criteria as well as the application process for the award. The aims are to recognise and celebrate the achievements of cities in relation to their positive impact on social, economic, and environmental sustainability in international trade. Cities are selected based on four primary criteria: leadership & vision, impact, initiatives undertaken, and engagement. Participating cities will benefit from promotion as a sustainability pioneer, enhanced visibility and reputation, increased tourism, and strengthened networks.
The call for proposals is programmed to open in December 2017 and run until April 2018. They will then close for the selection process, which will occur from April until June 2018, at which point the award will be announced in Brussels, Belgium.
We are happy to see our partners and members being active in the Fair Trade community and to support the various initiatives they found. Below we have featured three actions from the Fair Trade Advocacy Office, Oxfam-Magasins du Monde, and Artisans du Monde. These actions have been truncated for this newsletter, but the full texts can be found here.
The Fair Trade Advocacy Office: For Action- Anti-Unfair Trading Practices Coalition
This July the Commission launched a public consultation and online questionnaire on its Initiative to Improve the Food Supply Chain, in particular in regards to fighting Unfair Trading Practices. Please do- and encourage your colleagues and allies to- respond to the questionnaire as we are guessing that submitting a high volume of replies will be needed at this point to demonstrate public support. The deadline for input is 17 November 2017.
-Peter Möhringer, FTAO (edited by Eros Shreve)
Oxfam-Magasins du Monde Crowdfunding for a Fair Textile Supply Chain
In the framework of its 2017/18 campaign « Slow Fashion », OMM recently launched its first crowdfunding. Its objective is to create a new range of fair trade and organic t-shirts, while supporting its Indian supplier Mila. This partner is a small fair trade organization (10 employees) recently created (2012), able to supply knitted garments of high (social) quality and in small volumes. More particularly, it offers a transparent and traceable FT supply chain, while offering its workers very good wages. The amount collected during this crowdfunding (lasting until end November) will be used to buy new sewing machines, which will improve working conditions and increase Mila’s production capacities. It has been quite successful so far since more than ¾ of the amount targeted (20.000€) has been collected, coming from more than 250 donors.
More info on www.omdm.be/crowdfunding (beware, shipping costs for pledges only covered in Benelux and France).
-Patrick Veillard, Oxfam-Magasins du Monde (OMM)
Artisans du Monde: Salade de Fruits (pas si) Jolie Jolie…
In the world economy, competition between workers provokes a social and environmental dumping, the consequences of which are tragic for both mankind and the planet. The tropical fruits (bananas, oranges, pineapples, mangos, etc.) industry is the perfect example: marked by an industrial production model, it has an environmental and social impact with farmers as the main victims. In this competition, the adjustable variables have become the working conditions, the salaries, and the environmental impact. This is underlined by the fact that agriculture employs the second most people in the world behind the service industry.
Fair Trade works as a solution to this. Fair Trade channels make it possible to guarantee decent work conditions, and as such assuring respect for human rights and the environment.
See the original text and what you can do to help here.
–Artisans du Monde (translated by Eros Shreve)
WFTO around the World
The most exciting event of the year is upcoming! From the 9th to the 14th of November several activities will take place in New Delhi, including the Organic World congress and in particular the WFTO Biennial Conference with its workshops and Extraordinary General Meetings (EGM). As stressed in the first article, both WFTO Global and WFTO-Europe will indeed hold their EGMs respectively on the 12 and on the 13 of November.
Moreover, WFTO-Europe will be leading a workshop entitled “Retailers Standard: a tool for market access” on the 12th of November. Thanks to the participation of representatives from the 5 WFTO Regions, the workshop will aim at analysing where we stand in the implementation of the Retailers Standard after 4 years from its approval as well as discussing the main challenges per region and how these could be overcome.
Please find below some updates on the Conference and be sure not to miss this opportunity to give your contribution to define the way ahead for the Fair Trade movement.
Update 1: WFTO Conference Registration, only 14 with accommodation left
Hurry! Only a few more rooms left at the Conference venue. Register now, if you wish to ensure you will be staying where all the action will take place. There is currently a total of 14 shared, double-room accommodations available for participants to the WFTO Conference. Once available rooms are gone, interested participants will still be able to register but should arrange their own hotel accommodation.
Update 2: Keynote speakers
Get to know our conference keynote speakers. Slated to speak at the conference are: environmentalist and peace activist Vandana Shiva, trade fairs expert Nicolette Naumann, Indian lawmaker and former UN official Shashi Tharoor, food and trade analyst Devinder Sharma and EU Ambassador to India Tomasz Kozlowski. Read more here.
Read more on the conference here.
Update 3: Draft Conference Programme is out! Please tell WFTO your workshop preferences
Good news, participants: the draft daily schedule of the Delhi Conference is out and can be viewed here. Have a look at the list of interesting topics and speakers! Minor changes can still happen so this page will be regularly updated for the latest version of the programme. Save this page on your browser to always have the current version!
Update 4: Showcase your new products, attract potential buyers
There’s still a few days left to grab your opportunity to showcase your new products at the WFTO Conference in Delhi. Entries for the Mohammed Islam Design Awards will be shown multiple times during the conference and given spotlight attention at the Awards Ceremony. Don’t miss this chance to attract potential buyers by showing them your new designs. Join any or all of the competition categories:
- Best new home ware product (including household textiles)
- Best new fashion accessory (which may include jewellery)
- Best new product made of recycled materials
- Best new consumer food or beverage packaging
- Best new Christmas decoration
Deadline of submission: 31 October 2017.
Update 5: Meet your buyers – Showcase your best products in Delhi! – Reserve your display space during the WFTO Delhi Conference
We are happy to announce that, together with our co-organiser Fair Trade Forum-India, we have been able to secure a limited number of spaces for members attending the conference to display their products during those days. A traditional feature of most WFTO Conferences, this is always a unique opportunity to showcase your products and get the immediate reaction of (potential) buyers.
Around 40 tables will be available. These will be assigned on a ‘first come, first served’ basis (though to WFTO Guaranteed members). Please note direct sales will not be allowed. More information, including instructions about how to register, will be sent directly to members registered for the Conference within two weeks.
Update 6: Join WFTO Conference Sponsors
Support another member and/or the WFTO conference, become a sponsor! WFTO has managed to collect funds from a few sources and ensure more than 20 scholarships for members. You can still join this list and become a sponsor, whether by funding the attendance of other participants, specific events or the overall WFTO Conference. Our brochure here explains all the visibility and benefits you can get from it, and we can also fine-tune it to your interests. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
From the Press Release:
“In keeping with the motto “Fair Trade across generations”, stakeholders from numerous countries will come together this September to discuss the latest developments in fair trade as well as their experiences and ideas concerning the Fair Trade Towns Campaign.”
…to read more please see both releases in their entirety here.
This September, the Fair Trade Towns Conference, hosted by QuattroPole in Saarbrücken, took place, with the aim of extending the reach of Fair Trade and encouraging local governments to take part. More than 200 activists across the world, including WFTO, WFTO-Europe and other Fair Trade representatives gathered in Saarbrucken for the very friendly and inspiring conference. The theme this year was “Fair Trade Across Generations,” and participants spoke within this theme on the latest developments within Fair Trade and, specifically, the Fair Trade Towns Campaign. The theme focused on the idea that while Fair Trade companies are most often run by adults, Fair Trade Cities, and the schools and universities involved with these projects, and mostly organized by the youth.
For pictures, impressions, and summations of the event, please see the conference’s blog.
Next summer, the 26th through 28th of June 2018 the Fair Trade International Symposium will take place at the Portsmouth Business School in Portsmouth, UK. The event’s topic will be “Fair Trade and the SDGs: Investigating the fairness of sustainable development,” which will explore the ties between Fair Trade and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs will be utilised as a lens with which to view Fair Trade and its impact and practices, and vice versa.
The speakers confirmed to speak at the conference come from all over the world and across the Fair Trade movement, including heads from WFTO, Fairtrade International, and the International Development Committee. More information to come as the event nears.
Currently, the FTIS has a call for papers out! The conference title is “Fair Trade and the SDGs: Investigating the Fairness of Sustainable Development,” and the specific aim of the event is to investigate the ethics and practice of fairness that constitute the processes, goals, and indicators of sustainable development. The deadline for abstracts is the 15th of December. Please share this opportunity with any fellow colleagues and researchers who may be interested.
The WFTO Guarantee System
We are proud to announce that as of right now we have 38 organisations who have passed through the WFTO Guaranteed System, as well as a few others who are undergoing the process currently. At the regional level we are currently processing 3 new membership requests as well as 2 monitoring applications.
This August, on the 29th, WFTO-Europe assisted the Fair Trade Advocacy Office with their FT Breakfast at the European Union with delegates from the Global South. In September, our regional coordinator participated in the last technical committee meeting for the EU City Award Project, which has just been finally announced. Besides these events, we also participated in Belgian Fair Trade Week, which was mentioned in more detail above under the headline The Fair Trade Marathon as part of Belgian Fair Trade Week.
This quarter, we are happy to welcome our new provisional members: MYOMY do goods and S.C. Networks Trading Srl. There are no newly Guaranteed Members this quarter, however we do have a new Associate Organization: Impi Sandals.
Please log in here if you want to access all the Board Meetings held by WFTO-Europe. The next one is planned to take place on 30th of October from 13:30 to 15:30 via Skype.
Enriching lives with ethical finance
UK-based, Shared Interest lends money to Fair Trade organisations worldwide. What makes us different is we do not usually require security. This enables us to reach farmers and handcrafters in remote communities, struggling to find finance elsewhere.
We are a Registered Society with 11,000 UK investors providing over £38m. We strive to be a responsible lender, recognised with a Queen’s Award twice, and in 2015 awarded the title of ‘most ethical finance institution working in the fair trade sector.’
Shared Interest currently makes payments to over 400 producer groups across 59 countries. Our main aim is to help smallholder farmers and handcraft groups, and we lend in two ways: directly to fair trade producers and to fair trade wholesale or retail businesses. We lend to support Fairtrade products such as coffee; fresh fruit, nuts, and cocoa, as well as handcrafts such as weaved baskets and furniture.
We want to do more than provide finance on fair terms. The Fair Trade organisations we finance say that, thanks to our supporters, they have helped transform their communities. For this reason, we like to keep up to date with issues faced by our customers. We find that our annual Producer Committee meetings facilitated by in-country staff in Peru, Ivory Coast, and Kenya, give producers the opportunity to discuss common issues and market trends. While it is not in our remit to provide a solution to these problems, sharing experiences can assist organisations in resolving their own issues.
For instance, citrus farming is a growing source of income in Ghana but climate change continues to be a big challenge, with fruit ripening early or crops being lost in their entirety due to the changing rainfall patterns. Nyame Akwan is a Fairtrade orange producer that is surviving commercially, despite these various setbacks.
Farmers approached Shared Interest for finance in 2015 when fruit flies were causing production losses of up to 40%. The loan allowed the group to purchase fertilisers for farmers and ultimately increase production volumes. Farm maintenance equipment helped reduce fruit loss to only 10%.
Education also helped improve yields. Previously, harvesting involved manually plucking the fruit with sticks, which led to spoilage. After training, the farmers began to hang wire nets under the trees to catch the oranges.
Thanks to Shared Interest investors, Nyame Akwan is helping over 100 farmers to earn a living. Chairman Mustapha Akubakar said: “Once our membership reaches 200, we would like to become a co-operative.”
See their website here.
General news on Fair Trade:
- Unraveling the Food-Health Nexus from IPES-Food
- AidWatch 2017 from Concord
- Council greenlights the setup of the European fund for sustainable development – European Council
- Community- and citizen-led initiatives support implementation of the SDG & Paris Agreement from European Economic and Social Committee
- Modern Slavery Is Real and 40 Million People Are Trapped in It from The Times
- Women’s Economic Empowerment: Seven key take-aways from recent original research from The Practitioner Hub for Inclusive Business
- Global Business and Refugee Crises: A Framework for Sustainable Engagement from The Center for Global Development
About/From the Network:
- Do Supermarkets Show True Dedication to Fair Trade? by Eros Shreve
- We Only Have One Earth, but How Many Do We Need? by Bára Plecháčková
- Anti-Poverty Week, 15-21 October 2017 by WFTO