In this Issue:
- WFTO-Europe AGM and Conference
- 2014 EP elections and Vote 4 Fair Trade campaign
- WFTO’s answer to the London University’s study about Fair Trade
- Follow-up of the WFTDay 2014
- Member of the month
– 3-5 June: Green Week
– 5 June: World Environment Day
– 12 June: World Day Against Child Labour
– 12-14 June: WFTO-Europe Conference and AGM
– 11 July: World Population Day
WFTO-Europe Conference and AGM
The biggest event of the year for WFTO-Europe is approaching. From the 12 to the 14 of June several workshops and debates on Fair Trade and its future will take place in Mennorode, Elspeet. WFTO-Europe is looking forward to meeting all of you and spending 3 intensive days of Fair Trade discussions
Two guests will also join the meeting, Sergi Corbalán from the Fair Trade Advocacy Office and Chitra Bahadur from World Fair Trade Organization-Asia.
For more information regarding the programme and the AGM document package, please have a look at the member section on our website: www.wfto-europe.org
As you all know, this year there will also be the election of some of the Board of Directors. For the members who will not be able to attend the AGM, make sure to grant proxy to another registered member in order to, despite your absence, be able to contribute with your vote. Be reminded that this is an important procedure to reach the quorum and to respect the legal requirements. The deadline for sending the proxy votes by email to the WFTO-Europe Office is 9 June 2014, 12:00 CET.
European Parliament’s elections
Last week the whole Europe and its citizens got into action and went to the polling station to elect the new members of the European Parliament. The elections started on the 23rd in the UK and the Netherlands and ended the 25th in most of the European countries.
According to the European Parliament, the participation rate is more or less equal to that on 2009 (43.09%). But still this figure remains pretty low.
For all the Fair Trade actors, this year’s elections were crucial as since last year 28 Fair Trade organizations from 19 different European countries are working hard to make Fair Trade at the heart of these elections, pushing the candidates to include Fair Trade in the policy agenda of the European Union.
The day of the elections, more than 500 candidates to the European Parliament elections and three out of the five top contenders for the Presidency of the European Commission had already committed to support Fair Trade by signing the FT Manifesto. At least 103 of them were elected. The campaign was most successful in Germany, France and Italy where respectively 19,16 and 13 of the candidates who have endorsed the manifesto are now members of the European Parliament.
By signing this Manifesto, the candidates pledged to:
– Promote a people-centred economy and people-centred businesses where people come first and economic activities support sustainable livelihoods for all.
– Back a strong European framework to address abuses of buyer power in our supply chains, a market failure that often results in the violation of human rights of marginalised producers and workers.
– Encourage market-based incentives to facilitate producers having the possibility to trade under Fair Trade conditions and the development of Fair Trade markets both in Europe and the South, in the context of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Framework post-2015.
– Support an “Alternative Trade Mandate” to ensure that EU trade policy serves as a tool to increase economic, social and environmental well-being globally. In order to serve the general interest, trade policy should be subject to democratic and transparent debate, rather than being driven by powerful business lobbies pushing behind doors their specific short-term interests, and
– Become a champion for a European strategy for Fair Trade to promote best practices and coordinate local, regional, national and EU-level activities in support of Fair Trade, as already asked for unanimously by the Committee of the Regions.
Vote 4 Fair Trade campaign
To make this campaign as successful as possible, our four associates from Sweden, Hungary, Spain and the Netherlands have been working hard lately.
In this section you will find information about how the campaign is going at least in two of their own countries:
Bertil Hogberg from Sweden:
The Vote4FT campaign in Sweden is run by The Swedish association of Fair Trade Retailers in cooperation with Fairtrade Sweden. We have focused on the top candidates with a fair chance to be elected. They have been invited by Fairtrade Sweden to present their views on fair trade and what they would work for in the EU if they became elected. Ten of the top candidates have presented it in writing and three have answered in recorded interviews. They have also been invited to sign the Manifesto and altogether we now have 25 signatures. More information here.
Gyorgyi Újszászi from Hungary
14 candidates fully committed themselves to the Manifesto before the elections. They also signed the Alternative Trade Mandate pledge. They were contacted by Védegylet Egyesület / Protect the Future Association, which is a member of the Hungarian Fair World Association. We, Hungarian Fair trade activists are proudly sharing that two candidates were elected. Further information about our activities here.
Tilingo Nepra and Coordinadora Estatal de Commercio Justo are carrying out as well their own activities respectively in the Netherlands and in Spain. For all of them and the other partners in the project, this is not time to slow down, another important phase is starting. It is time to make sure that the EP candidates who signed the Fair Trade Manifesto and who have been elected will indeed act in favour of Fair Trade and implement Fair Trade policies.
Comment on the SOAS report
In its recent report, the SOAS has accused Fair Trade of failing to deliver benefits to African farmworkers. This report, also published on the Guardian at the end of May, immediately caught the attention of the main Fair Trade actors which has already expressed their disappointment on the research carried out by the renowned University and stressed the relevance of Fair Trade for small producers. WFTO joined the other organisations and clearly asserted its position in the following statement:
30 May 2014
The World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) – composed of almost 400 Fair Trade organizations across over 70 countries – is aware of the recently published study by the London University (SOAS) on “The Fair Trade, Employment and Poverty Reduction Project.” WFTO welcomes all professional and critical analysis of the functioning of the different Fair Trade systems and always seeks to learn from them. We are sorry that the conclusions of the above-mentioned study are less positive regarding the benefits for some agricultural workers in Uganda and Ethiopia undergoing product certification. We are happy to read, however, that where there was a long-term commitment by Fair Trade buyers conditions were indeed better.
Though Fair Trade, in whichever way it is pursued, will never be perfect or the single solution to world poverty, fully committed Fair Trade Organisations have repeatedly proven the positive impacts of Fair Trade for millions of artisans, producers and farmers around the world. WFTO members, which include Fair Trade producers, exporters, importers/wholesalers and retailers which have Fair Trade at their core, build on long-term relations and focus on small-scale farmers and producers.
The WFTO is happy to confirm that its member organisations can be characterized by their full commitment to the WFTO Fair Trade Principles. This commitment by WFTO members is now also backed up by our affordable, simple and credible Guarantee System.
The WFTO regrets that the media attention given to this two-country study may be taken for ‘the whole picture,’ when in fact Fair Trade has delivered significant benefits to millions of low income farmers and artisans across the globe.
Culemborg, 30 May 2014.
Follow-up of the WFTDay 2014
We would like to congratulate all the Fair Trade actors who took part to the WFTDay 2014 not only in Europe but all around the world. Once again a great number of festivities took place such as fashion shows, concerts, exhibitions, debates or other raising-awareness actions.
For information, the WFTO-Europe team organised an international and friendly Fair Trade lunch on the theme of Fair Trade people. It was the occasion for friends and Fair Trade supporters from different countries such as Italy, France or Finland to gather around delicious Fair Trade homemade dishes and to participate in a puzzle competition on the theme of the day.
One of the big events that took place in Europe was the European Youth Event organised in Strasbourg, from the 9th to the 11th of May. This weekend, 5000 young Europeans between 16 and 30 years old gathered to exchange their ideas and perspectives about the future of Europe with politicians, journalists and other decision makers. About 200 workshops and seminars were organised giving the opportunity to the participants to discuss about the future of Europe’s management. This event was a success and some of the participants are already looking forward for the next EYE.
As part of the Vote4FT campaign, there was held a debate with candidates to the European Parliament and dozens of young Europeans on how the European Union could support Fair Trade after the European Parliament elections that took place few days ago.
News form the Board
The minutes of the Board meeting in Paris the 14th and 15th of April have been approved. Login here to access the Board minutes.
The last Board meeting took place the 27h of May via Skype, the next one will be hold on the 12th of June in Mennorode
Member of the Month
COPADE has been working on international development through Fair Trade and the sustainable consumption of timber products. With our projects we support Southern producers, their families, and communities in order to help them to come out of poverty and improve their living conditions.
We are specialized in the forest sector creating public-private alliances to position timber products and their derivatives in Northern markets. We are pioneers in Spain in implementing development projects in partnership with large Spanish and multinational companies like Leroy Merlin, Bellota Herramientas (Bellota Tools), Federación Española de Industrias de la Madera (Spanish Timber Industrial Federation), etc… We have developed the first worldwide label of Fair Trade in the forestry sector: Fair Timber (Madera Justa).
In COPADE we believe in people and their socioeconomic development. This is why we always involve the producers in all the process of our projects: from its theoretical foundations to its implementation.
COPADE understands Fair Trade and sustainable forest development as the main pillars for development, environmental preservation and improvement of living conditions in Southern communities. This can change trade rules into a new form of trade more human oriented and with more opportunities for everyone.
Head Office: Madrid, Spain
Year of Foundation: 1998
FT-RELATED NEWS, PUBLICATIONS & OTHER TOOLS
- The FTAO’s Internal Advocacy Bulletin for June 2014 (login required) includes articles regarding policy issues (Promotion of fair and ethical trade included in EU private sector policy, Three new Public Consultations launched by the European Commission), FTAO news (At least 103 out of over 500 candidates who signed the Fair Trade manifesto are elected Members of the European Parliament, European Youth Event debates Fair Trade) and more.
- In 2014, the Fair Trade Town movement reached 1.500 cities
- Olivier De Shutter urges the governments to use fairer and more sustainable food systems for public procurements
- The Fair Trade Resource Network is closing down
- The Inter Press Service released an article on the industrial agriculture: too big to succeed
- The World Economic Forum reports on how Asia is closing the gender gap in work places
- The Guardian demonstrates how a pence can make a big difference in Fair Trade
- Oxfam offers the possibility to see behind your favourite brands through an interactive tool and to see what really happen is their supply chains
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.