Finnish Association of World Shops (est. 1985) is a network of 22 Finnish World Shops. The main principles of action, such as what kind of products can be sold at the World Shops, are agreed in the annual meetings. The Association guides its members in the everyday practice of running a world shop. Within resources, the Association provides information and education as well as materials for marketing, for example paper bags printed with Associations logo or a slogan.
The Association publishes a Fair Trade Magazine called Maailmankauppalehti, 20 000 – 40 000 copies per issue. The articles cover fair trade producer groups, products and raw materials, as well as the circumstances of developing countries.
In recent years, the focal point of the magazine has been to inform people about Fair Trade artisans’ level of wages and purchasing power of money in different countries. The quarterly issued magazine is given out to readers in the World Shops, at fairs and at events (about 100 different occasions every year). A certain number of each issue is also delivered to households in some parts of Finland.
The biggest annual event for the Association is setting up a World Shop Village in the World Village Festival in Helsinki every May. This festival is arranged by Kepa (Kepa is a
platform for Finnish NGOs interested in development issues) and has up to 100 000 visitors every year.
Every few years Finnish Association of World Shops has invited an artisan from a particular Fair Trade cooperative to visit our shops and the annual World Village Festival. Since most of the biggest events take place in the metropolitan area, Finnish Association of World Shops arranges every two or three years Fair Trade Fairs in other regions as well. These local fairs are in most cases arranged in collaboration with a large variety of local organizations, cultural as well as others.
Recently, we have felt a need to broaden the variety of products in the Finnish Fair Trade shops. Since some of the Finnish Fair Trade importers were forced to close down their business, there hasn’t been enough variety. The Association is in the process of enquiring order and product information from big European importers.