In this Issue:
- Let’s build together the Fair Trade puzzle
- 2015 Milan Conference – Registration Now Open!
- Outcome of the Survey on Retailers´Standard
WFTO Guarantee System—Training session in Paris
- 2014, A Year for Family Farming
- Member of the month
-12-13 November: WFTO-Africa AGM
-16 November: International Day for Tolerance
-24 November: Artisans du Monde celebrates its 40th anniversary
-27-28-29 November: International Meeting on Social and Solidary Economy
-30 November: Deadline for Fair Trade Finest Programme (extended)
– 11-14 February: BIOFACH
Let us know about your events!
Let´s build together the Fair Trade puzzle
The last 7th of October,the Fair Trade debate ‘Let’s build together the Fair Trade Puzzle’ finally took place in Brussels.
After months of hard work, the team of WFTO-Europe and Oxfam-en-Action were both extremely enthusiastic to organize this event and to celebrate the Fair Trade week in Brussels.
Around fifty people, including national Fair Trade actors, students and young people from Brussels were present and contributed to make this debate informative and inspiring. The atmosphere was positive and all the participants felt comfortable in expressing their opinions and raising their doubts about the issues analysed.
Although the number of participants was less than expected, it was a very successful event due to the great interest that students and young people showed in the topics discussed. This interest also confirmed us the important role that this kind of debate plays in raising awareness on Fair Trade.
Below you can find a summary of what was mainly discussed in each of the 4 discussion groups.
1. How to deal with North “FT” products? (Emilie Durochat, Sophie Tack, Corentin Dayez)
People discussed about the fact that FT should also take care of local producers and promote local and organic purchases. Injustices due to unfair trading conditions are present in the North as well as in the Global South.
Taking the need of protecting farmers in Europe into account, Corentin Dayez from Oxfam-Magasin du monde, for instance, underlined that they are already selling North Fair Trade products, and promoting local organic baskets. The French Fair Trade Platform ( Plate-Forme Française pour le Commerce Equitable) started also to work on local Fair Trade in 2011, in partnership with French producers’ organization like the National federation of Organic agriculture which were sharing common goals : to maintain agriculture in France, create jobs in the rural areas, to promote sustainable agricultural practices, etc. On this other side, consumers, citizens and Fair Trade actors were also interested to have a broader approach to Fair Trade, and to spread it to the French producers. The French Fair Trade Platform made official in June 2014 its national charter of “Local Fair Trade”, which identifies 14 key principles as an adaptation of the Fair Trade principles to the French and European context. To know more about this national charter: http://www.commercequitable.org/images/pdf/actus/charte%20du%20ce%20local.pdf
Agribusiness destroying South farmers is a quite recognized consequence of global competition, but European producers are affected too. Most of the consumers tend to think that we do not need to support North producers because they receive subsidies but 20% of the most industrials farmers receive 80% of the Common Agriculture Policy subsidies. So peasants in the North are facing double disadvantage: their way of producing respecting the environment costs more, but they have to enter the same market as very industrials ones. Second disadvantage, the unfair market rule that does not take into account the externalities gets even worse because theses industrials receive subsidies that peasants do not get.
The environmental coherence is also important to be taken into account if the product comes from far away. So buy local, but if it comes from the South, make it fair!
2. How can we convince citizens to buy Fair Trade? How can Fair Trade be promoted at local level? (Gabriella D’Amico, Barbara Mrázková)
The national actors stressed that the first thing to convince citizen to buy Fair Trade is to explain the added value of a fair trade product that also means sometimes higher price. Higher prices are usually connected to better salaries for southern producers, rather than higher quality of the products too, environmental protection and better labour conditions.
Another powerful tool to promote Fair Trade at local level is to organise public events, such as FT fairs, FT breakfast, or National Days for FT (the WFTDay) in order to attract media’s attention and raise awareness among consumers. An important mean to promote Fair Trade, is to catch people attention in situations where they feel comfortable, and so to avoid for instance, promoting Fair Trade on the streets, where people are always rushing and are not keen to talk. It’s hard to have people attention when they are so much solicited. A useful suggestion can also be to organize local events in different places at the same time.
According to the participants, young people and also children are also a good target, as they are the customers of the future and usually curious about the world. Flash mobs, Fair Trade cartoons, school projects and movies are all useful tools to catch their attention.
The national actors stressed two strategies in which Fair Trade can be promoted at local level: spreading positive information about it and also highlighting the negative aspects of the conventional Trade. Fair Trade should be promoted as a normal way to do shopping.
3. Should be fair trade sold in supermarket? (Giorgio Dal Fiume)
Three main points/ conclusions were raised in this discussion group:
1. This is a difficult and tricky topic for the Fair Trade movement.
2. The biggest problem with mainstream Fair Trade is the contradiction with Fair Trade values.
3. Despite the incoherence of this practice, it is impossible now to change the rules and to stop selling Fair Trade products in the supermarkets. In this sense, the main question is not anymore whether Fair Trade should be sold in supermarkets or not, but which role Fair Trade should have in the mainstream economy and supermarkets?
So far, selling Fair Trade products in supermarkets allowed Fair Trade movement to have more visibility and to increase sales volume. Nevertheless, this topic raises some problems. Firstly, the consumption model promoted by mainstream economy is the one who is denounced by Fair Trade. Secondly, supermarkets might use Fair Trade merely for image and marketing purposes, and they can negatively influence the Fair Trade criteria in order to adapt them to their needs and practices.
Fair Trade seeks to raise critical thinking but can this be done through supermarkets? Fair Trade tries also to change the system but can this be done at little scale aside the mainstream economy? To answer to these questions we have to ask ourselves what is the finality of Fair Trade, to increase sales or to change the current economic system? And how to change it? Part of the answer lies in awareness raising and advocacy. It is thus important that Fair Trade organisations stay strong and their needs and values are taken into account from governments and the mainstream economy. They have to work together to guarantee the fundamental principles of Fair Trade and stay coherent.
4. Should the governments/international institutions keep their hands off fair trade or should they promote Fair Trade? What is our role on it? (Led by Francesca Giubilo and Sergi Corbalan)
People analysed the topic under 2 different perspectives:
- International: taking into account the vision and mission of the FT movement an action at this level is necessary. International organizations must be active in the promotion of fair trading practices which work in support of small producers. The role of FT movement is so to keep high the attention of the main international actors and to push forward FT principles.
- National: people raised up interesting points linked to the risk of having a strong regulation of Fair trade at national level. Fair Trade is perceived as a grassroots movement and the main power on it has to be kept by citizens and people from the South. If the governments keep Fair Trade on their hands there is a risk of manipulation and losing this contact with the reality. Bearing this risk in mind, citizens and people from the South have to promote Fair Trade and be sure that governments recognize it as a priority in their own agenda. However, the Fair Trade movement has to be vigilant and be recognized as the only actor who can guide the government in its work to support Fair Trade
The discussions above summarise some of the main concerns and doubts that the Fair Trade movement is currently facing. In this sense, this debate has been extremely interesting to exchange opinions and views that need to be further analysed in the future.
In order to assess the impact of the debate, WFTO-Europe asked to those who attended the event to fill out a survey on it. According to it, the debate was very interesting and completely satisfied their expectations. The participants underlined the high level of the speakers, and the great opportunity to have different nationalities and points of view represented. The topics discussed, and the atmosphere received also very positive impressions.
On the other hand, the weak participation and short time available were identified as the only negative points. Overall, participants learnt that there are still controversial issues about Fair Trade and that it is important to exchange opinions on that. Half of the participants assessed that the debate will have an impact on his daily life when it comes to buy Fair Trade products in supermarkets, and on his willingness to be more informed on these different topics.
2015 Milan Conference – Registration Now Open!
We are pleased to announce that the 2015 Milan Biennial Conference Registration is now open.
Click here to register to the conference and to the Milano 2015 Fair.
Important note: If your organisation has applied for a scholarship, please do not register yet until you receive further instructions.
Members that do not have sufficient funds to cover the costs of attending the 2015 WFTO Biennial Conference in Milan are encouraged to apply for a scholarship. Download the scholarship guidelines and application form here. Deadline to submit Scholarship Application is on 15 November 2014.
Below You can already find a draft programme for the WFTWeek and some useful information so that you can start preparing your trip. We invite you to visit the WFTO website regularly for updates. We have also prepared a dedicated website for the 2015 World Fair Trade Week, where you can find the latest news and key information: www.worldfairtradeweek.org. A more detailed programme of the WFTO Conference will be made available in some weeks.
Outcome of the Survey on Retailers´Standard
We would like to thank all of you who gave their contribution to the survey on Retailers Standard application (officially closed on the 31st May 2014).
The survey, which was launched in May, finally involved 11 countries, with total 15 surveys received, from world shops’ and retailers’ networks, wholesalers and national platforms.
We, WFTO-Europe Board and World shops and Retailers Committee, are extremely happy to share with you the main evidences of this survey.
The next step will be to put in place concrete actions through the Committee activities, to help improving the guarantee system process and harmonizing the different countries practices.
WFTO Guarantee System—Training session in Paris
In order to discover the new Guarantee System of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), the Artisans du Monde federation – represented by Mr. David Erhart – and the French Platform for Fair Trade – represented by Mrs. Emilie Durochat – have organized a training session that was held in Paris the 13th of October, 2014. On that occasion, the Chief Executive of WFTO, Mrs. Natália Leal, took part in the event and intervened at different stages of the training session.
Read below a summary of the event as reported by PFCE:
The objectives of this session were to introduce WFTO to our members, and to present the new WFTO Guarantee System.
In order to explain the main steps and modalities to implement the Guarantee System within a Fair Trade organization, the training day was divided into two distinct sessions.
During the morning, the participants were given a general introduction presented by Emilie Durochat, the interim coordinator of the French Platform for Fair Trade. This part aimed at explaining the importance of implementing a Fair Trade guarantee system. Natália Leal took the floor to make a general presentation of the WFTO (values, goals, action plan, and membership). She also introduced briefly the new WFTO Guarantee System so as to kick off the second part of the training day.
After an excellent buffet, the 34 participants were invited to form two groups in order to participate in four different workshops:
- Adopt the WFTO Guarantee System: How much does it cost? What are the timeframes to implement it? Moderated by David Erhard.
- How to join WFTO? : Presentation of the main membership documents, moderated by Erika Girault (Artisans du Monde federation) and Samuel Frois (French Platform for Fair Trade).
- How to implement the new Guarantee System when we are a retailer? Moderated by David Erhart.
The participants were really active and many questions have been raised during the workshops. The contribution of Natália Leal has been extremely rewarding for both participants and organizers. Overall, this training day has been considerably dense and dealt with various subjects. It allowed participants to exchange opinions and being fully involved in the topics, and WFTO to have a better understanding of what are the general expectations regarding the Guarantee System.
At the end of the day, the participants were very pleased with the quality of training offered, but there were still some doubts and remarks about the WFTO Guarantee System. Participants were invited to contact WFTO´s staff in order to have more information.
2014, International Year of Family Farming
Photo credit: IFAD
The last 28th of October WFTO-Europe participated in the conference ¨European Foundations for Family Farming (E4F) – Building Inclusive Partnerships¨.
The European Foundations for Family Farming (E4F) is an initiative launched by around 20 foundations, with the support of the European Foundation Centre (EFC), to celebrate the International Year of Family Farming. This international year aims at promoting agricultural systems based on farmer families, communal units, indigenous groups and cooperatives, as models that can effectively combat poverty and hunger, while encouraging rural development respectful of the environment and biodiversity.
The initiative of E4F aimed to increase attention on the important role that foundations, together with other international stakeholders, have in contributing to this field. They have the possibility to maximize their impact with limited means notably by encouraging scaling-up and diffusion of innovations and by allowing field initiatives and researches to influence the policy level. During the conference their preliminary study was presented to the audience. You can find the full report of their study here.
Family farms that account for an overwhelming majority of farms across the globe, are an important mean for growth and job creation, and are fundamental for building sustainable systems and food supply. Bearing it in mind, it was stressed the importance of supporting family farming even beyond this year. Family farming is considered to have the potential to meet the important challenges that global agriculture will be facing in the coming decades.
News from the Board
The Board and WFTO-Europe staff welcome Bertil Hogberg as new member of the Board. He has also been assigned the role of Treasurer.
The minutes of the last Board meetings held on Skype, the 12th of September 2014, are now available on the website. Login here in order to access the Board minutes.
The next face to face meeting will be held in Paris in the end of January 2015.
Testimonial: Meera Bhattarai, Nepal
Southern producer, Chandra Prasad Kachhipati from Nepal speaking to European decision makers. “We are transparent, we don’t exploit child labour and there is no discrimination between men and women when they do the same job”.
Member of the Month
Mifuko means pocket in the Swahili
Mifuko Ltd. is a Finnish design company, which co-operates with several women self-help group and small artisan workshops in Kenya. Mifuko´s products include jewellery, sandals and bags. Company was founded by Minna Impiö and Mari Martikainen in 2009. Both are graduates of the University of Industrial Art and Design, Helsinki.
Mifuko works on Helsinki-Nairobi-axis. While the designs are done by Finnish artists they are inspired by the colors, textures and vibrancy of Africa. Every product is designed to utilize traditional craftsmanship and techniques, as well as locally available materials. MIfuko supports talented Kenyan artisans and provides them with regular income. Mifuko wont drive the production scale in cost of the trusted relationship with all the artisans. Beyond giving the designs a Scandinavian twist, we try not to interfere with the creativity and techniques of our chosen artisans. We have close working relationships with all our sub-contractors and actively assist them in developing their businesses. It’s a two street, as we pass on our own knowledge and learn from them about their traditional techniques.
To promote Kenyan artisans Mifuko has founded association called Mifuko Trust.
The need for Mifuko Trust surfaced in Kenya, where local artisans often ask us to assist in the acquisition of various tools, know-how and increasing children’s school fees payment. Mifuko Trust’s aim is to promote the employment of artisans and develop their entrepreneurial skills in Kenya.
MIfuko has been awarded with the Finnish Social Enterprise label, this means that Mifuko qualifies in the three requirements: promoting social welfare through its business, using most of the profits to benefit society, and operating transparently. In addition to concentrating on fair treatment of its suppliers, the company maximises its use of recycled materials.
Mifuko has an international retailer network of more than 30 shops on four continents.
Head Office: Helsinki, Finland
Date of foundation: 2009
FT-RELATED NEWS, PUBLICATIONS AND OTHER TOOLS
- The FTAO’s Internal Advocacy Bulletin for October 2014 (login required) includes articles regarding policy issues (The new European Commission: who is who from a Fair Trade perspective? Fair Trade Breakfast review including video from the event), FTAO news (Nyagoy Nyong’o and Sergi Corbalán meet Kenyan Embassy) and more!
- New report from Oxfam about the growing inequality which characterises much of Africa and the world today.
- New reports show low wages in the tomato supply chain at expense of human rights.
- Ending Hunger. One step at time. Article about the impact of climate change on vulnerable communities.
- ‘Join the Food Revolution’ project. Be part of a political project aimed at changing EU food policy.
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.