1. WFTO Europe at Home
2. Europe in a Nutshell
3. WFTO Around the World
4. Our members
5. News from the Office
6. News from the Board
1. WFTO-Europe at Home
2021 has drawn to a close, and even though it turned out to be a year of Covid even more than 2020 did, WFTO-Europe managed to achieve quite a few milestones over the year. We wish to share these with you to look back at the year in review. Then, though Covid is clearly far from over, we wish to share our plans for 2022 – we hope you will be as excited as we are with the work we have in the pipeline!
- International Women’s Day – We released a video with testimonies from three members, EZA, BH Crafts and Mifuko, all of whom work with women who #ChooseToChallenge discriminative structures. Please watch our video here.
- Mannheim Summit: Panel debate on Sustainable and Inclusive Business Models (SIMBs) with CONCORD, Coops Europe and FTAO – Cécile Billaux from DG-INTPA participated from the side of the EC, among other people with interesting insights.
- World Fair Trade Day 2021: Build Back Fairer! – Have a look at our activities in support of the Build Back Fairer message on World Fair Trade Day, in particular our visit to the joint Oxfam Wereldwinkel and Oxfam Magasins du Monde shop in central Brussels.
- WFTO-Europe Members’ Review 2021 – this year the focus was the power of the unique relationships between Fair Trade enterprises and their producers. Read it here.
- Workshop on climate and environment – held in connection with our AGM in June in collaboration with Les Jardins de Gaïa and with presentation by Agricultural Development expert Noel Oettlé.
- COP27 joint FT movement position paper – WFTO-Europe participated in the drafting of the paper that was launched in September as the Fair Trade movement’s joint position on climate change and recommendations for the parties to the COP. Read the position here
- Workshop on Sustainable and Inclusive Supply Chains with CONCORD and International Cooperatives Alliance – which featured WFTO members Africulture and ONEWAY among others.
- Online conversation in run-up to COP27: Fair Fashion and Climate Action – climate activists and watch it here. Listen our conversation here!
- Position paper on Human Rights and Environmental Due Diligence – the official position of WFTO on HREDD, particularly on the need to integrate these principles deeply into the governance and business practices of the company, just like the way WFTO members work. Read the position here.
- Op-ed reacting to the EU Social Economy Action Plan with CONCORD and partners – we welcome the EU’s Social Economy Action Plan, but we are waiting to see how it will be put into practice. In view of the EU-AU Summit there is an urgent need to foster more fair collaboration between Social Economy actors in Europe and in partner countries! Sustainable and Inclusive Business Models have a huge chance to actively contribute to all aspects of sustainable development. Read the op-ed here.
- International Women’s Day: We’re preparing an online conversation with female leaders in Fair Trade and academics on women’s rights and empowerment.
- Workshop at EU-Africa Business Forum with CONCORD and partners: This workshop has just been confirmed and will take place either 14th, 15th or 18th February. It will promote supply chains organised by mission-led businesses like WFTO members. We will update you with time and link.
- Workshop at Social Economy Summit in Strasbourg, France, on 5th or 6th May: Another version of the workshop on Sustainable and Inclusive Supply Chains with CONCORD and partners that will be held during a summit organised by the French Presidency of the EU.
- World Fair Trade Day: Let’s Do It Fair – the theme of this year will be Fair Trade and climate action, specifically how Fair Trade is a vital component of any meaningful action to combat climate change. More information will follow soon.
- WFTO-Europe Members’ Review 2022 – keep a look-out for another edition of our Members’ Review where we will showcase several of our members’ best Fair Trade practices and demonstrate how they contribute to realising a fairer economy which is simultaneously good for the planet.
- Workshop on capacity building for members (to be determined) – we propose an online workshop for extra capacity building for our members. We’re keen on organising a learning opportunity on a subject that would be valuable for you in your work. Simultaneously, this could be a good occasion for members to meet online and exchange views on topics of common interest. Please take our survey above to help us understand what would be most valuable for you.
- AGM in May or June – More information will follow in February. We will likely also organise an extraordinary AGM during the Berlin summit, but our ordinary AGM must fall within the first 6 months of the year.
- Équité project, Build Fair Bridges – West Africa: This project started last year and continues in 2022. We have recently finalised a study on market access for African producers, which we will share. The next phase of this project culminates at the Berlin Summit, where we are expecting to organise capacity building and networking opportunities for a delegation of producers that will join the Summit.
- FASS Food EU project: This is also the second year of our project with Uni Antwerpen and FTAO on Fair, Accessible, Sustainable, and Short (FASS) Food Systems, where researchers study the practices, e.g. of our members Solidale Italiano and Syn Allois to understand how the agri-foods sector can become more sustainable – hint: We’ve learned a key part of the solution is making it fairer, especially for small scale producers as well as workers on several levels.
- CREATE project: This is an Erasmus+ project we’ve just kicked off with Greek, Swedish, Italian and Spanish partners on empowering women from marginalised groups in Europe to become entrepreneurs in circular and fair fashion. The aim is that the initial participants in the project can further train new entrepreneurs so the trend can spread like ripples in a pond. We’ll keep you posted!
This is just a summary of the key events, workstreams and priorities on our radar for 2022, but there will surely be more to come. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions about any of the particular points mentioned (or some that aren’t mentioned as well): firstname.lastname@example.org.
2022 has just begun and It still seems difficult to connect with each other in physical events. However, we can still do webinars online! The WFTO-Europe team would like to propose to our members an online workshop for further member capacity building. At the same time we want to organize something which is a real learning opportunity on a topic that is beneficial to you and your work. This is the reason why we kindly ask you to participate in our survey to help us figure out what would be most useful for you. Your opinion will certainly help us to organize a Webinar that will be beneficial for you and satisfactory for us! Click here and join the Survey!
Since September the WFTO-Europe Office has been trying to stay in touch as much as possible with its members through weekly and/or monthly invitations and calls depending on members’ availability. The goal is also to identify common problems (if any) so that later it will possibly bring the most important issues to the table for discussion.
So far we have been able to reach about 12 members (including FairTrade Scotland, Greenland Cooperative Farming, Just Trading Scotland, GEPA, IDEAS, Mifuko, FairMail, Greater Goods). We asked each of them what their current priorities were and what challenges (if any) they are facing. Calls often show that the biggest challenges are related to financial issues but also logistics, infrastructure, and shipping. Problems that have emerged especially after the pandemic.
At the same time,these calls are also for getting advice from you! This is the case for Greater Goods, where the idea of a potential Capacity Building Webinar came up! So, we would like to thank all the members who have made themselves available so far and we hope to continue to hear your voice, which is fundamental for us.
2. Europe in a Nutshell
In October, WFTO-Europe published our official position on Human Rights and Environmental Due Diligence (HREDD). We relaunched it again on Human Rights Day on 10th December. It was worked out together with WFTO Global and outlines WFTO’s approach to HREDD and outlines how the Guarantee System complies with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) upon which most HREDD schemes are currently based.
The European Commission is expected to launch a proposal for a regulation on Due Diligence for companies in Europe in the spring of this year. However, as the original deadline was in June 2021 and has since been moved four times, it is impossible to know when exactly we can expect this proposal – most recent updates say either in February or in March. We have already collaborated with the FTAO, FI and several of our platform members on a position paper that was sent directly to the EC. Concerning the EC’s proposal for legislation, we will likely collaborate again on a response once the proposal is public.
The WFTO-Europe position is rather aimed at explaining how the Guarantee System ensures that our members apply HREDD-like schemes and follow similar principles by illustrating the compatibility with the UNGPs. In particular, we wish to demonstrate to citizens why they can have faith in companies that use the WFTO product label and to other companies what kind of approach they ought to follow as well and how they can take WFTO members as pioneering examples of how to put people and planet first.
Most importantly, however, the position emphasises HREDD must be adopted as a set of principles that influence the entire way a business is operated, structure its governance, and define its business practices. If HREDD is approached as a set of minimum requirements to be covered while the business carries on with profit-maximisation as its core purpose, it is bound to be utterly ineffective. WFTO members show how being driven by a mission that prioritises people and planet over profits makes all the difference in translating an HREDD approach into actual impact for producers and workers they do business with. This is what sets them apart from the mainstream, and this is what the mainstream should learn from them. And this is how citizens can tell which companies they should buy from to be a part of making a difference towards a fairer world..
Read our position here and please share it with your network!
3. WFTO Around the World
In recognition of the importance of education for peace and development, the United Nations General Assembly declared January 24th as International Day of Education. “One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen may change the world,” UN Messenger of Peace Malala Yousafzai once stated.
The theme of International Education Day 2022 is “Changing Course, Transforming Education.” The goal of this theme is to support and encourage the revitalization of education. In order to do so, we must rebalance our connections with one another, with nature, and with technology.
Education is at the heart of WFTO-Europe members’ interests. Let’s look at two members who are doing outstanding work in the areas of education and fair trade:
Equogarantito: This Italian member is part of the EU-Wise Young Citizens-Consumers project. The project’s major goal is to raise civic consciousness, engage and empower 120 young people (Young Leaders) from Belgium, Italy, Poland, and Romania, divided into 30 groups, to promote responsible consumption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)..
Also, on their website you can find interesting resources such as the platform e-learning Fair Share, where you can find online classes and trainings on Fair Trade. Another important page to consult would be the section “school” as to gather information about creating training and information courses for teachers and students on Fair Trade issues.
Scottish Fair Trade Forum : This Scottish member has different resources available to both teachers and students interested in Fair Trade issues. For instance, they share information on how learning and teaching about Fair Trade fits into a range of curricular areas from the early to the fourth level. Also, they present the Fairtrade School Awards from the Fairtrade Foundation which takes the school or the nursery on a journey from awareness about Fair Trade through to embedding it into the life of the school and local community. On the 18th of January, they also held a session offering practical advice on how to explore Fair Trade and climate change in the classroom. In particular, they deepened the understanding of Fair Trade, connecting it to educational policy and initiatives.
WFTO-Europe wants to share with its members a story that deserves to be told! Denise has studied at the University of Groningen, she investigated how digital storytelling could be used as a tool to foster sustainable development within marginalized communities. Here below her words:
“My research revealed a vast untapped potential within sustainable enterprises that could not only foster economic value through marketing strategies but also empower communities at origin to amplify their voices and grant a glimpse into the authentic stories behind the people, their relationship to the products they cultivate, and their agricultural practices. To bring my research to the next level, I left The Netherlands two weeks ago to explore digital storytelling over the coming six months within the local cocoa sector in Trinidad & Tobago. The initiative is spearheaded by Übergreen Organics and co-funded by the Interamerican Development Bank and follows a transdisciplinary and ethnographic methodology that aims to combine knowledge across different sectors and disciplines. Thereby, my digital storytelling consultancy seeks to create authentic narratives about cocoa farmers within the Organic Fine Cocoa and Chocolate Cluster (OFCCC) in Trinidad & Tobago which acts as a catalyst for sustainable growth in the Caribbean. Within this context, digital storytelling is understood as the art of telling narratives with a variety of multimedia tools. It enables people to understand what we do as humans to make sense of the world and how we understand our connection with our surroundings – a perspective that is particularly relevant within responsible supply chains, where storytelling adds value at every stage of the chain, increasing the sustainable value creation for all actors involved. Over the next few months, I will guide you through my storytelling journey in the cocoa industry and share the authentic stories about the people and processes behind fine-flavor cocoa in Trinidad & Tobago. Together with farmers, processors, and experts, we will create photographic documentaries, videos, and interviews to foster awareness about the region’s fine cocoa and chocolate industry and empower the communities to develop a sense of ownership and promote sustainable cocoa agriculture. In this sense – see you, when I see you!”
4. Our members
As of January 2022, WFTO-Europe represents 118 members from 19 European countries. Since our last Newsletter 3 months ago, WFTO-Europe is happy to welcome Palingen as a new provisional member!
“There is no waste, only missed opportunities.” This is the idea from which the Palingen project starts: trying to give a second chance and not only to textiles. To do this, Palingen has its own laboratory inside the Pozzuoli penitentiary where it restores future and dignity to young inmates through the creative reworking of textile waste.They are taught the technique of upcycling, a new way of making tailoring in a sustainable way, in order to facilitate their reintegration into the labor market once they have returned to society.
In particular, they regularly employ and remunerate 8 female inmates of the Pozzuoli women’s correctional center; according to them, upcycling is the most efficient form of sustainability. They estimate that 10% is the recidivism rate for inmates who participate in work programs. In contrast, the rate goes up to 90% for those who have not gone through any program. In addition, it is estimated that less than 1% of all textiles worldwide are recycled into new textiles.
Presenting you FairMail : Pictures that empower!
FairMail Peru was formed in 2006 by Janneke Smeulders and Peter den Hond, two Dutch social entrepreneurs. The concept of selling greeting cards showcasing photographs taken by a group of disadvantaged teens originated in the landfill of Trujillo, Peru, and was based on the belief that beauty can be found anywhere and is a free resource. Peter and Janneke recognized photography as a great instrument for empowering children and breaking the poverty cycle that was holding them back. Over the years, the organization has sold 3 million cards and it has earned over 125,000€ for 42 photographers.
FairMail is now a woman-owned and managed social enterprise. Kira and Federica, FairMail’s directors, met as FairMail volunteers in Trujillo in 2015. They’ve been running FairMail since 2018, and they reside in Europe for part of the year and Peru for the rest. As a social company, they provide the teen boy or girl who shot the picture on the card 60% of the revenues, which they will put toward their education.
FairMail is also constantly looking for distributors and retailers who want to sell their cards across Europe and this is their retailer information page.
Flash News from FairMail:
eBay UK : FairMail is now part of the eBay for change* program sponsored by eBay UK! By assisting in the growth of community-based companies, the ‘eBay for Change’ program strives to provide jobs and opportunities in marginalized and vulnerable communities who have been severely damaged socially and economically by COVID-19.
Looking for online and on-site volunteers: FairMail is always looking for enthusiastic volunteers that wish to share their skills. With the relaxation of travel restrictions and quarantine regulations, as well as the implementation of safety and preventative measures across the entire travel continuum, volunteering overseas feels like a once-in-a-lifetime chance. They’re seeking photography instructors, personal development coaches, graphic designers, marketing specialists, video producers, as well as someone who wants to improve the world one card at a time. See their website for additional information.
Click here to go to FairMail’s website and connect with them on Facebook and Twitter!
5. News from the Office
In our last newsletter we introduced the FASS-Food Project, led by Professor Tomaso Ferrando at the Institute for Development Policy at University of Antwerp, and WFTO-Europe and FTAO act as partners. During the month of November, the FTAO hosted an online workshop for deeper discussion on elements that are enabling farmers, retailers, and the many other participants in food systems within the EU, from making these systems fair, accessible and thereby sustainable. The session was crucial in gathering comments from civil society representatives on what role EU policies play and should play in ensuring food supply chain sustainability.
If you wish to be kept up-to-date about the project, please contact project management & fundraising assistant, Klaudjo Marena, at email@example.com.
5.2 Equité Project – Program coordinated by CEF (Commerce Equitable France) – Ecological transition of production practices & decent incomes for producers in West Africa: Support to FT certification schemes – partnering with FT Lebanon (Benoit and Marion) and led by WFTO Africa (Bernard). As explained in our last newsletter, the project’s main goal aims at allowing producer organizations (POs) in West African nations to take advantage of expanded market prospects. Now that we’ve completed the first phase of the project, it’s time to reflect on what we’ve accomplished. A consultant was recruited to investigate and develop recommendations for the POs in order to facilitate their access to the EU market. The findings of this report were presented to the POs via two webinars, one in English and the other in French. A discussion and Q&A ensued, allowing for the improvement of recommendations while taking the POs’ interests into account.
If you have any questions concerning the project’s next stages, please contact Klaudjo Marena, project management and fundraising assistant, at firstname.lastname@example.org
6. News from the Board
In November, WFTO Global held its electronic General Meeting where members get their say in how WFTO is operated and get to introduce proposals for important changes. This year’s eGM was particularly important since the actual proposal for the update to Principle 10 was presented and voted on. This was following the resolution passed in Lima in 2019 to increase the emphasis on climate change in this Principle. Further, WFTO Global’s Strategy Plan for 2022-2025 was proposed in full and voted on.
Both these important proposals were voted through by an overwhelming majority of the members that participated in the vote (all Guaranteed Members were able to electronically and were invited to do so by invitation). In practical terms, WFTO members are now required to work out and make public a policy on climate change, covering how they measure their impact, how they are trying to improve their carbon footprint and waste management, and how they are educating their customers, businesses partners and the general public about their efforts and why they matter. All criteria included at this point are of the ‘continuous improvement’ type. The criteria will be reviewed again in four years.
In addition, two resolutions proposed by WFTO Asia were approved by vote, one concerning how the WFTO should encourage its members to dedicate money in their budget to supporting small-scale producers most affected by climate change with needed capacity building and mitigation measures. The other resolution is a call to further strengthen and promote national platforms of Fair Trade within the WFTO membership.
We were able to raise over 20,000 euros for fair trade entrepreneurs from around the world and help them come to Berlin in August 2022 to attend the 16th International Fair Trade Summit. We couldn’t have done it without you. THANK YOU!!!
The 16th International Fair Trade Summit will focus on creating new partnerships and business opportunities for WFTO members. Our mission is to support WFTO members to gain visibility and reach new markets! Here’s how to bring your business into the spotlight during the Berlin Summit:
WFTO Fashion Show The WFTO Fashion Show is open to all WFTO members in the fashion industry – regardless of their membership status. WFTO is partnering with Studio MM04, a creative strategy consultancy, to organize a unique fashion show as part of the Berlin Summit this August, showcasing inspiring looks compiled by fair trade producers and brands to create a communal look and increase the visibility of craftsmanship.
The products that will go on the runway will be carefully selected by Studio MM04. Our runway themes are: Desert Dream, Tassel Tales and Modern Clash. You can find all the details about the runway show, including moodboards, here.
You have until February 28 to send your application to email@example.com. All you have to do is send us photos of your latest products that will be current at the time of the runway presentation and that you think will fit the concept of the show. Are you thinking of applying for the runway show but are a little confused about the criteria and process? If so, feel free to send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MIDA Design Award – The MIDA Design Award 2022 will return to the Summit in August 2022 and seeks products made in a sustainable, circular, and climate-friendly way. A social media campaign will launch in May and the public will vote on their favorite products. The best 15 design ideas selected by the public will be displayed at the Berlin Summit and evaluated by our jury. The jury includes TradeAid, El Puente, FolkDays and Secret Projects. The awards ceremony will take place during the Summit.
The winner will have the opportunity to sell their products in the UK, through Secret Project’s eBay store (depending on which product wins). Only registered/full members of WFTO (with paid membership dues) are eligible to enter the MIDA contest.
To enter the contest, simply send your digital package (photo, story and product information) to email@example.com. Please note that photo sizes must be: 1080px by 1080px with a 1:1 aspect ratio; as well as 1080px by 1920px with a 9:16 aspect ratio) Deadline for entries, May 16, 2022. You can find more information about the competition, eligibility criteria, and terms and conditions through this link.
We look forward to receiving your nominations and showcasing your products during this year’s Berlin Summit!
6.3 WFTO-Europe’s Office has a new Project Manager and Administration Assistant, Klaudjo Marena! if you have any questions, you can reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org !