In this Issue:
- Fair Trade for public procurement
- The 8th international Fair Trade Town conference
- International Women’s Day celebration
- VOTE4FT: SKa Keller from the Greens (Germany)
- Member of the month: Oxfam Magasin du Monde
28th-30th March, 8th International Fair Trade Towns Conference, Kumamoto, Japan
10th May, World Fair Trade Day 2014: “Fair Trade People. Click here
22-25 May, The European Parliament election 2014, Click here
12 -14 June, WFTO-Europe Annual General Meeting (Mennorode Center / Elspeet)
Let us know about your events!
Fair Trade for public procurement
The new EU public procurement rules voted on the 15th of January makes it easy to buy fair. EU Commissioner Michel Barnier and key Members of the European Parliament celebrated this good news for Fair Trade.
The new EU public procurement Directive was approved by a large majority of Members of the European Parliament, after a political agreement reached with the Council of Ministers. The vote puts an end to the revision procedure initiated three years ago by the European Commission. Public authorities across Europe will be able henceforth to make a deliberate choice for Fair Trade products, besides taking into account other sustainability considerations. The new law confirms the direction set by the Court of Justice of the European Union in the “North Holland” case ruling (Commission vs Netherlands C?368/10), which for the first time clarified that public contracts can award additional points to products “of fair trade origin”. The possibility to consider social aspects alongside environmental ones is a step forward from the existing rules. Furthermore, the new Directive explicitly allows referring to robust certification schemes as a proof of compliance with the sustainability requirements set out in call for tenders.
To celebrate the good outcome for Fair Trade, the Fair Trade Working Group in the European Parliament organised a drink with fairly-trade sparkling wine right after the vote and clinked glasses with EU Commissioner Michel Barnier and leading Members of the European Parliament from various political groups. “I have always said I believe in open borders. But trade has to be both free and fair. The two words must go together. That is the condition for successful and accepted globalisation which is genuinely in the interest of all, and in particular the poorest. The Fair Trade working group does extremely useful work in this area, promoting these policies and I fully support Linda McAvan and her team’s tireless work in this area”, stated the Commissioner.
The Fair Trade movement welcomes the new text, which should reassure and encourage public authorities across Europe that already support farmers in the South through their purchases to continue doing so. The new EU rules will also hopefully also drive others towards the sustainable development path.
Sergi Corbalán, Executive Director of the Fair Trade Advocacy Office stated “The ball is now on the Members States’ court as they need to implement the changes introduced by the new EU rules into national law. Member States should use this opportunity to also put in place socially sustainable sourcing strategies that support Fair Trade”.
The new public procurement Directive is expected to enter into force in March 2014. EU Member States will then have two years to transpose it into national law.
For more information about the Fair Trade Advocacy office’s work on public procurement, click here.
contact: Elba Estrada / firstname.lastname@example.org
The 8th International Fair Trade Towns conference
The 8th International Fair Trade Towns Conference is scheduled to be held in Kumamoto, Japan next March 28th-30th. The location of the Fair Trade Town conference outside of Europe shows how fair trade towns are growing in in other parts of the world. Following the steps of japan, South Korea is about to have its first Fair Trade Town, and Taiwan is following suit. The Conference, therefore, is expected to stimulate the birth and expansion of the Fair Trade Towns Movement in Asia.
The overarching theme of the 8th Conference is “Building Fair and Local Socio-Economies in the South and the North.” The rationale behind the theme is that the Fair Trade Towns Movement is about supporting the marginalized producers and workers of the South for sure, but is also about realizing fair and sustainable local societies and economies worldwide. That is exactly why the Movement in Japan has added onto the core 5 goals an additional goal of “Contributing to Revitalization of Local Community,” by which we seek to promote local consumption of local products, community development endeavors, environmental actions and welfare of the handicapped and the other disadvantaged, among the others. Looking back the history of the Movement, the campaign in Garstang, when it kicked off, aimed to promote both Fair Trade and local products because the local producers had been “exploited” by market forces, too. Other national campaigns, such as in Belgium, the Netherlands and Canada, then added the local perspective to the Movement and so did the campaign in Japan. The all-encompassing nature of Fair Trade, building fair and local socio-economies in the south and north will thus be a key topic as it has not yet been covered in the past conferences.
The second focus of the Conference is on the “Big Tent Approach” adopted in the latest guidelines that had been developed and recommended by the International Fair Trade Towns Steering Committee. Japan does represent this particular approach as it promotes a wide range of Fair Trade products including FLO-labeled ones, those marketed by WFTO member organizations, and yet other products that are marketed by Fair Trade organizations that subscribe to the Charter of Fair Trade Principles. The focus will thus be in reaching a general consensus on the approach that the diversity of Fair Trade actors partake.
For more information on the conference, please visit the official website: http://fairtrade08.wix.com/english
International Women’s Day celebration
In occasion of the 2014 International Women’s day, WFTO is planning a common action for celebrating the impact of Fair Trade on women. The aim is to have a WFTO-wide observation that celebrates women whose lives have been positively changed through Fair Trade. Every member is invited to come up with a story about a woman whose life has changed personally, socially, politically and economically as a result of Fair Trade. This can be either a story of your producers/suppliers or people who work/volunteer in your organisation or simply a consumer of your Fair Trade products.
The aim is to have each member to come up with a Press Release for IWD. The PR should lift some of the wordings of Principle 6 of the 10 Fair Trade Principles and IWD HUB:
“Women’s equality has made positive gains but the world is still unequal. IWD celebrates the social, political and economic achievements of women while focusing world attention on areas requiring further action. Fair Trade Organizations promote gender equality that ensures that women as well as men have the ability to gain access to the resources that they need to be productive and also the ability to influence the wider policy, regulatory, and institutional environment that shapes their livelihoods and lives”.
We encourage all members to circulate the PR (including a story and a picture) as widely as possible to make Fair Trade heard all around the world.
VOTE4FT: Project Testimonials
Ska Keller – Green Party – Germany
The 2014 European elections are approaching and it is time to pass into action. The 2014 Parliamentary candidates express their endorsment of Fair Trade in the run-up to their electroal campaign.
First on the line is Ska Keller from the Greens who presents her views on Fair Trade and international trade:
”I support Fair Trade because trade as it currently is supports only global injustice, I want a trade regime that benefits people both here and in our partner countries”
Click below to see the full testimonial!
News from the Board
The minutes from the November meeting (14th) are now available online. You can access the minutes by logging in here.
The next Board meeting will be held via Skype on the 10th of February 2014.
Member of the Month
Oxfam Magasin du Monde
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.
Name: Oxfam-Magasins du monde
Head Office: Wavre, Belgium
Date of foundation: 1976
FT-related News, Publications & other Tools
- Oxfam’s “Working for the few” details the pernicious impact that widening inequality is having in both developed and developing countries
- The Paradox of Fair Trade reflects on the split between Fairtrade International and Fair Trade USA that left the two actors going separate ways in 2011.
- International Year of Family Farming: IFAD’s commitment and call for action gives a concise layout of the year’s theme and the things to look up for.
- The Human Rights Watch World Report 2014 reviweing the human practices around the world provides a summary of the most contested issues in more than 90 countries.
This publication has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of WFTO-Europe and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.