From 7th to 11th October Wfto-Europe participated in the Fair Trade Marathon, organized by Fair Trade Advocacy Office. The event gathered participants from around Europe and representatives of WFTO from all the regions, to discuss and share news, ongoing projects, priorities and advocacy tools. The agenda included also meetings of the Trade Fair Live Fair Consortium as well as interesting workshops dealing with hot topics such as Public Procurement, HRDD, Climate Change, Fair Trade in Eastern Europe and much more.

The topic of Climate Change was recurrently discussed during the week, being a hot topic in the present historical period and deeply intertwined with Fair Trade business model. The workshop focused on the necessity to put environmental concerns at the hearth of the Fair Trade Business model, without endangering social concerns. The importance of mitigation measures and training for the most vulnerable producers was unanimously recognized. Moreover, the discussion touched upon the need for more researches that explores the Environmental footprint of Fair Trade Products. As regards Public Procurement the discussion centered around the strategies to further promote Fair Trade in public procurement in the EU, facing the difficulties in competing with “traders” that offers cheap supplies. The workshop on Fair Trade in Eastern Europe gathered members of Wfto-Europe from Poland and Czech Republic and other representatives from Romania, Greece and Bulgaria and focused on finding common strategies to promote and expand Fair Trade in this area, creating a working group of different active on common projects. Last but not least, the topic of Human Rights Due Diligence animated the discussion of the fourth workshop. The participants agreed on the necessity to support the call for a European HRDD regulation, which levels the playing field for business throughout the member states. Those are the main topics addressed during the week and actively discussed in groups, but we also had the pleasure to listen to the presentations of different studies led by participants from different organizations, dealing with Textile research, Fashion Revolution successful stories and future plans, as well as Living income and Climate Change in Coffee and Cocoa.

The week was full of ideas and enthusiasm and culminated in the Fair Trade Breakfast at the European Parliament on 10th October, hosted by MEP Bernd Lange from the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats and Chair of the International Trade Committee. Around 100 participants attended the Breakfast to discuss how the European Union could promote policies for Fair Trade and sustainable supply chains in the 2019-2024 term. Bernard Lange said “I am very happy to host the first fair trade breakfast of this term in the European Parliament. European trade policies should contribute to the achievement of sustainable development goals worldwide and fair trade is an interesting tool to achieve those goals. It also helps to make people in Europe aware that what we consume here has an impact on the environment and the conditions in which goods are produced elsewhere. We as MEPs have the responsibility to make sure that human rights are protected throughout the whole supply-chain of goods that we import.”. For more information, please read the FTAO Press release here.

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