WFTO-Europe is happy to present its second biannual external Newsletter, dedicated to all Fair Trade supporters across the world!


In this Issue:

WFTO-Europe Conference Report is out!

IFOAM EU and RIPESS EU’s points of view on Northern producers concept

EU Cities for Fair and Ethical Trade Award Ceremony & FTAO event (27-28 June, Brussels)

WFTO-Europe’s feedback on the Fair Trade International Symposium

Who picked my tea?

Getting ready for the Launch of International Fair Trade Charter!

MADE51, bringing market access to refugee artisans

Members in the Spotlight

Fair Trade Related News, Publications & Other tools




25th September:
Launch of the Fair Trade Charter, Worldwide

3rd-13th October:

Belgian Fair Trade Week, Belgium

15th-18th October:
Fair Trade Marathon, Brussels, Belgium

19th-21th October:
12th International Fair Trade Towns Conference, Madrid

23rd October:

2èmes rencontres nationales de Territoire de Commerce Equitable 2018, Rennes, France

30th October:

IFOAM EU meets businessBringing the organic food industry together, Brussels, Belgium

22th-25th November:

Asia Fair Trade Summit, Kathmandu, Nepal


We now feature an External Events Calendar on our site, where you can find a more general list of Fair Trade related events happening around Europe!

Let us know about your events!


European FairTrade Shuttle!


WFTO Europe @ home


WFTO-Europe Biennial Conference Report is out!

From the 7th to the 9th of June, WFTO-Europe organized its own Biennial Conference. The event, taking place every two years, was a unique opportunity to gather for the first time our European members in Brussels. The aim of this always exciting appointment is to lead the discussion on relevant topics for our network and decide the way ahead for the organization in the following years. Around fifty-four people attended the first public day, including more than thirty members and WFTO representatives who were present on the second day in Oxfam Magasin du Monde’ headquarters in Wavre and the third day for the Annual General Assembly.

On the 7th of June, the conference titled “Universalizing Fair Trade principles through a European Union sustainable -and fair- production and consumption agenda, organized” was held with the cooperation of the Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO). The format of this first day was a total novelty: for the first time other Civil Society organizations (CSOs) not part of the Fair Trade movement were invited. It was a fruitful experiment that triggered the discussion and contributed in orientating political demands of the movement for the next campaigning activities, in particular in view of the European Parliament (EP) elections in May 2019.

The second day was focused on strategic discussions on WFTO-Europe internal topics. Towards this aim, four workshops were set up on the following issues: gender equity, fair payment, retailers’ standard and northern producers.  Last day was mainly dedicated to the WFTO-Europe strategic plan and Annual General Meeting.

WFTO-Europe would like to thank all the participants for the commitment shown to improve the future of WFTO network as well as Oxfam Magasins du Monde to open its door and host the second day of the Conference.

We are also pleased to share the content of this fruitful conference! Please find here our Conference Report as well as photos and PowerPoint presentations from the conference.

IFOAM EU and RIPESS EU’s points of view on Northern producers concept

Jason Nardi (RIPESS EU) and Eduardo Cuoco (IFOAM EU) speaking at Nothern Producers’ workshop during our Biennial Conference


The resolution on Northern Producers adopted in Delhi in November 2017 by WFTO Annual General Meeting (AGM) lays down that producers from the Global North can now be included within WFTO membership.

Bearing in mind their deep differences with producers from the South, the resolution states that for joining WFTO producers from the North should comply with some additional special criteria. Among these, Fair Trade (FT) organizations should work with/consist of small-scale economic marginalized producers and have an organic recognition on agricultural products in order to use WFTO label on their food products (all compliance criteria can be found in WFTO-Europe’s fact-sheet on Northern Producers).

For WFTO, Delhi resolution leads towards a universalized concept of Fair Trade. For WFTO-Europe, this is also a paramount evolution that will affect the composition of its membership – at present mostly comprised of import organizations – , but also paving the way to new alliances and synergies with other European movements.

Given the impact this opening up will have on WFTO European members, during our Biennial Conference (see the article before) a workshop was dedicated to this topic. Eduardo Cuoco, Director of IFOAM EU, and Jason Nardi from RIPESS EU, respectively from the organic and solidarity economy movements, were invited to join the discussion and introduce their organizations to present members.

IFOAM EU represents more than 190 member organisations in the EU-28, the EU accession countries and EFTA. Member organisations span the entire organic food chain and beyond: from farmers and processors organisations, retailers, certifiers, consultants, traders and researchers to environmental and consumer advocacy bodies.

RIPESS EU counts on 39 members from 17 European countries and its main objectives are promoting alternative socio-economic practices that enhance democracy and solidarity and bring alternative movements together.

Both guests welcomed positively the open-up of WFTO to Northern producers and embrace the idea of a potential future partnership with FT actors at national and international level. We asked them to reply to some questions to get a bit further to the discussion started in June.

What does your organization have in common with the Fair Trade movement?

Eduardo (IFOAM EU): Producers and other actors along the value chains in both the organic and Fair Trade movement are active across the globe. Every step along the organic value chain works according to four principles that closely link up to the ten principles of fair trade:

  • Health: both movements sustain and enhance the health of the environment they work in and the people working in these environments;
  • Ecology: both produce with a heart for and help sustain the (local) ecological system and cycles;
  • Fairness: both movements build on relationships that ensure fairness regarding the common environment and life opportunities;
  • Care: both movements produce in a precautionary and responsible manner to protect the health and well-being of current and future generations and the environment.

Consumers are increasingly aware of the importance of these principles, and the demand for fair and organic food continues to grow. To make sure producers and consumers can see the forest through the trees, both the organic and Fair Trade movement have developed standard and guarantee systems to meet the ever-growing demand for their products [1], [2], [3], [4].

Jason (RIPESS EU): RIPESS and the Social Solidarity Economy have much in common with the Fair Trade movement and with WFTO in particular. Actually, I would go as far as saying that Fair trade is one of the roots of Social Solidarity Economy (SSE), or one of its historical expressions. In continents such Latin America, Fair Trade producers are part of the SSE networks. In Asia, WFTO is a member of RIPESS. The Spanish platform of Fair Trade is a member of REAS, the Spanish Solidarity Economy network. We definitely share values and learn from each other, but at least in Europe, we should be working much more together, starting from our guarantee systems and distribution channels.

What do you think about the new WFTO concept of Northern producers?

Eduardo (IFOAM EU): The organic movement has been discussing about fair play and fair pay in the supply chain for few years already. Some leading organic organisations have developed a new organic standard on social accountability that can be applied both in the global south and in the north. The new standard is in line with IFOAM’s four principles of organic agriculture and IFOAM’s norms on social justice. This standard also includes a control and certification system on social accountability, and ten normative criteria on social accountability to certify organic farms and processing units.

Said so, I think that WFTO’s initiative to increase its impact on Northern producers goes in the same direction and will be a valid alternative to bring more fairness to the agriculture and food system.

Jason (RIPESS EU): A northern producer who respects the values and practices of Fair Trade (and is disadvantaged in the Market system because of this), could probably be an SSE enterprise as well – it really depends on how it relates to the SSE networks and economic platforms in its community or territory. For instance, being an organic food producer in Europe doesn’t automatically make you a WFTO Northern producer – since you have to comply with other criteria as well, though the latter does bring you much closer to an SSE collaborative economic short circuit or supply chain, and less to the “competitive” Market mass distribution chains.  Recognising the producer who practices Fair Trade will also help consumers be more aware and informed.

Which opportunities do you think the alliance with Fair Trade would bring to your movement? Do you identify any possible challenge in building this alliance with the FT movement? If yes, which one?

Eduardo (IFOAM EU):The current state of the global environment is partially caused by industrial agriculture that does not consider social and environmental issues – allowing it to produce food too cheaply. The call for a transformation of the food system and accompanying transformative agenda has never been louder. We need to bring food and farming actors together to reach this objective.

Both our own – organic and Fair Trade – movements and other food movements need to come together taking into account the specific peculiarities to overcome the challenges that are lying ahead of us. For example, it would be interesting to discuss avoiding consumer confusion about all the different labelling and certification systems available on the market, facilitating retailers to face the changes on the market, keeping our identities, etc.
Coming together as different organisations also offers many exciting opportunities, such as the possibility to work together on the real cost of food (‘true cost accounting’), innovative approaches for logistics and retailing, common campaigns, etc. Overall, I see our collaboration as a great opportunity to team up and put our transformative agendas very high on the agenda of policy-makers and EU citizens.

Jason (RIPESS EU): Strengthening economic cooperation and interaction with consumer-producer, collective or community trading is certainly one area where I see advantages on both sides. Helping the development and promotion of not just a fairer and democratic way of managing an enterprise (social or cooperative), but of transforming the trade system in one where an equal partnership and mutual support is at the basis as well, is what Fair trade strongly brings to the solidarity economy movement. I would like to see a stronger engagement in affirming the “transparent price” labelling as well as solidarity pricing at all levels, because that really makes a difference and “tells the story” without having to spend so many words to explain it. And finally, an opportunity to work together on public procurement and other public policies is certainly out there.

The main challenge I see today is that, even if we don’t explicitly say it, we might perceive Northern Fair Trade producers as competitors to SSE producers in the same sectors or fields – thus creating mistrust instead of trustful relationships and long term collaborations. So I wonder how we can avoid this from the start, as well as make the distinction between Northern and Southern producers always less relevant and the partnerships and mutual exchanges always more concrete, through our respective networks and platforms as well as recognizing our “validation” or guarantee systems more openly.

What are IFOAM EU’s action plans for the near future and how FT actors can fit into your project? 

Eduardo (IFOAM EU): In 2015, the organic movement published its vision for organic in Europe by 2030. It was followed-up by a roadmap to make this vision a reality in which IFOAM EU identified three strategic pillars: Organic on every table, Improve – Inspire – Deliver, and Fair Play – Fair Pay. We made things more concrete by identifying strategies that IFOAM EU, as food & farming actors, and policy-makers can put into practice to make our vision a reality by 2030.

We are convinced that our work with Fair Trade will help us to put the strategies of Fair Play – Fair Pay into practice: inform citizens about the true cost of food, its origin and how it is produced; develop or adopt new tools to create transparency from farm to fork and enhance dialogue between all value chain actors; develop and adopt a code of conduct for fair pricing and fair relationships for value chain actors.

Many examples of how food and farming actors are implementing Fair Play – Fair Pay are available on

Jason (RIPESS EU): We are concentrating more and more on finding our common grounds with the many movements of transformative economies that exist today in Europe and beyond: from sectoral ones such as the agroecological movement or the collective energy co-production one, ethical finance and responsible tourism… to different approaches such as the commons (natural, urban, digital and platform cooperativism) or the ecofeminist and “care” economy, the transition towns etc.  At the European level, with the Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO) and others we are teaming up to tell a different story of Europe as we want it to be like and we are building it together. Globally, together with WFTO, we are promoting a “convergence” process which will have two main appointments in April 2019 and Spring 2020: a first convergence meeting and a World Social Forum of Transformative Economies, that will help us find ways to agree on a common long term agenda and work together in the near future. You are all invited!

WFTO is very enthusiastic and optimistic about our cooperation at global and European level with both the organic and social solidarity movements.

Be sure that WFTO-Europe Regional Office will keep you up to date with all up-coming steps taken jointly with IFOAM EU and RIPESS EU!


[1] IFOAM – Organics International’s family of standards:

[2]IFOAM – Organics International’s organic guarantee system:

[3] WFTO’s guarantee system:

[4] WFTO’s fair trade standard:



Europe in a nutshell

EU Fair and Ethical Trade City Award and the FTAO conference (27th and 28th June)

As announced in our spring-term newsletter, the 27th and 28th June were key days for European public local authorities committed to Fair Trade. First, the ceremony for the EU Fair and Ethical Trade City Award 2018 took place on the 27th of June 2018 in Brussels, followed by the Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO) two-days conference ‘From local to EU Level: Scaling Up Fair Trade in Europe’.

On the 27th June, the EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström and Arancha González, Executive Director of the International Trade Centre (ITC), declared the Belgian city of Ghent as the winner of the first edition of the Fair and Ethical Trade City Award.

First city in Belgium to get the title of ‘Fair Trade Town’ in 2005, Ghent launched in cooperation with Oxfam Fair Trade Shops the “Ghent Fair Trade”, a multi-level project triggering specific commitments from civil society and the private sector. Given the specificity of Ghent’s local manufacture history, ‘Ghent Fair Trade’ has put textile at the core of its raising awareness strategy. Its annual event ‘Fair Fashion Fest’ attracts more than 4.000 visitors, ethical textile entrepreneurs are publicly strongly supported and a map leads thousands of consumers to the growing fair trade offer. Overall, 92% of Ghent’s inhabitants are aware of fair and ethical trade and 43% buy these products regularly, as it is reported in Ghent’s application.

With 100,000 € as financial support from the European Commission and the technical support from the ITC, Ghent has now the opportunity to implement the development project of their choice.

Special Mention awards were assigned to four cities for their achievements in specific areas. Thanks to its robust public procurement policy, Saarbrücken (Germany) received a special mention for ‘Inspiring Procurement Practice’, while Madrid (Spain) was acknowledge for ‘Global Partnerships’ due to its impressive network of partner cities across Latin America. Dortmund (Germany) was awarded for ‘Education and Community Participation’ for its large number of awareness-raising events, and particularly for its kindergarten fair trade certification scheme across more than a hundred local schools. In conclusion, Lyon (France) obtained a special mention for ‘Innovation’ for its monitoring and evaluation system to measure progress towards sustainability goals. The city also created its own fair and sustainable label, adopted by over 230 businesses and organizations.

I am glad to see the EU supporting local authorities standing out for their commitment to fair and ethical trade. I do hope other local authorities could feel inspired by these projects and recognise the crucial role they play in promoting the uptake of Fair Trade not only at local but also at European level.”  Francesca Giubilo, Coordinator of the World Fair Trade Organization Europe said (see FTAO’s press release).

Back to back with the Award ceremony, the Fair Trade Advocacy Office held a multi-day conference titled ‘From local to EU Level: Scaling Up Fair Trade in Europe’. The conference saw MEPs, Fair Trade actors, civil society organisations, businesses, NGOs and local authority representatives gather at the Committee of the Regions over the two days. The discussions focused on how EU local authorities are supporting Fair Trade and how the EU could support the upscale of their local Fair Trade projects. Four workshops covered themes of public procurement and Fair Trade, national and EU awards for local authorities promoting Fair Trade, capacity building and funding opportunities to support the uptake and the upscale of local Fair Trade initiatives and fair textile public procurement. In closing the conference, Wangeci Gitata of Fairtrade Africa said: “My call to action to you is to use your tools to achieve a time when logos are no longer needed, when sustainability will be the norm.” The exchanges at the conference will aim to develop specific recommendations to the EU on what should be done to further support local authorities’ work on Fair Trade and a summary publication will be released at the end of 2018. The aim is to present these recommendations to the next EU Commission to make sure that the EU will keep on supporting local authorities’ work on Fair Trade, through the organisation of the next editions of the EU Cities for Fair and Ethical Trade Award, as well as other initiatives.

Pictures of the FTAO event can be found on our Facebook page here, while the photos of the EU Cities for Fair & Ethical Trade Award ceremony can be found on the official Facebook page of the award.

WFTO-Europe’s feedback on the Fair Trade International Symposium

By Sebastien Leclef

The 6th Fair Trade International Symposium (FTIS) took place end of June 2018 in Portsmouth, a Fair Trade city, and was hosted by Portsmouth University. The FTIS is a large conference gathering specialists, researchers and PhD students, together with practitioners, representatives of Fair Trade organisations, including volunteers, youth groups, national platforms and federations from all over the world. The largest groups of academic researchers came from the UK and France, however American, German, Indian, Japanese and Korean universities were also represented.

The conference was titled « Fair Trade and the SDGs : investigating the Fairness of Sustainable Development » and included key note addresses from WFTO President and CEO, Fairtrade International CEO, representatives from the British development aid agency DFID and also B Corp, a US initiative to make business more ethical. For example B Corp includes companies such as Fair Phone, Divine Chocolate and Triodos Bank. This address helped making the point that  Fair Trade is a strong alternative model.

Parallel workshop sessions were organised on topics such as Fair Trade innovation, the concept of Fair Trade nation, Fairtrade Universities award (in the UK), Fair Trade and inequality and many more. Participants could also be updated on the latest research regarding the links between Fair Trade and circular economy, or what is called « North-North Fair Trade ». Papers presented and discussed are likely to become part of a post-conference publication.

WFTO-Europe took part in the discussion on the links between SDGs and Fair Trade, together with some other partners of the Trade Fair Live Fair project, and notably through the implementation of the 10 Fair Trade principles. WFTO-Europe could also establish contacts with researchers working on the topic of Fair Payment and Living Wage, a priority topic of our network in 2018.

Finally, participants discussed the opportunity to work together in the future in shaping common projects for research programmes such as Horizon 2020, the main European programme funding research, which also foresee the involvement of stakeholders such as civil society organisations and NGOs.

Who picked my tea?

Maloti (not her real name) works on a tea estate in Assam (Photo by Traidcfraft Exchange)


by Mary Milne (Traidcfraft Exchange)

Every year, European consumers drink more than 220,000 tonnes of tea – with the UK far and away the biggest market, followed by Germany, France, the Netherlands, Poland and Ireland. Per person, Irish citizens drink the most tea – an amazing 2.2kg per person every year. But what about the people who grow and harvest our tea?

The state of Assam, in north-east India, is one of the biggest tea producing areas in the world and supplies many European brands. Assam tea is famous for its high quality and distinctive taste.

Sadly, Assam tea estates are also becoming infamous for the way they treat their workers. The people who pick the tea – most of them women – work long hours in the tea gardens carrying heavy loads, often without proper equipment or even shoes. Despite being highly skilled, they are paid poverty wages and live in appalling conditions.

The big tea brands which buy from Assam are well aware of this but aren’t doing enough to challenge it.

That’s why WFTO member Traidcraft Exchange has launched a campaign to ask the six biggest UK tea brands to do the right thing and step up on behalf of the workers.

Traidcraft Exchange researched conditions on tea estates in Assam. ‘The Estate They’re In’ highlights the appalling wage levels on the tea estates. Wages are agreed on a state-wide basis but are below the Assam and Indian minimum wage. Estates are also legally required to provide services like housing, sanitation and clinics, but Traidcraft Exchange’s report shows that these are of poor quality or just not provided at all. Another finding was the culture of surveillance and control by management, which goes unchecked by estate owners.

It’s a complex problem which won’t be solved overnight. But any solution has to involve the workers themselves. An important first step the brands could take now is to publish where they buy their Assam tea. Transparency like this would shine a light on exploitation and mean that workers in Assam – and consumers in Europe – could hold companies to account.

The ‘Who picked my tea?’ campaign has been running since May 2018 and already one of the big UK tea brands, Yorkshire Tea, has responded by publishing where they buy their tea.

You can find out more about the campaign and email the tea brands by visiting WFTO member organisations can email for more information about how to get involved.


WFTO around the World

Getting ready for the Launch of the Fair Trade Charter! 🚀

On the 25 September 2018, the WFTO and Fairtrade International (with the Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO) coordinating efforts) will launch the International Fair Trade Charter. This joint document has a paramount relevance as it states the common vision on how the Fair Trade movement wants the future to be: a world full of Fair Trade enterprises and global trade on Fair Trade terms.

The choice of the date has been made because it would coincide with the 3rd anniversary of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Therefore, it would be a perfect opportunity to spread the message that the Fair Trade model in business and trade is an actual solution to the challenges the world is facing.

As Erinch Sahan (WFTO Chief Executive) wrote on the CEmail you might have received last 5th July, the launch will be a key political momentum to send a joint message of hope. The support of all WFTO members is essential. Therefore we strongly ask you and all the other WFTO members to do the following things:

  1. Seek for recognition for the Fair Trade Charter by the broadest range of organizations (like across solidarity economy, organic and social justice movements, but also many others) that are part of your network and you can reach out.
  2. Organize one (or more!) event(s) in your country to celebrate the charter launch and the vision of Fair Trade! – Members from Brazil, Egypt and India have events in plan and we really hope to see events raising all across Europe!
  3. Write and spread the word by writing articles on newspapers, blogs or news outlets explaining why Fair Trade works. You could ask influential people you know to write about or promote the Charter on Twitter and Facebook.

We would like the charter to be translated into more languages, but we need your help to do it. If you are interested in helping us translating into your language, please contact Michael Sarcauga, WFTO Communications Coordinator, at Your help would be highly appreciated!

To conclude, as a follow up of the 5th July CEmail, Erinch Sahan sent a video message where he encourages all WFTO members to join the global launch of the International Fair Trade Charter on 25 September 2018. You can watch the video here.


MADE51, bringing market access to refugee artisans

Photo by MADE51

The refugee crisis is one of the biggest challenge that contemporary societies have to face. With the highest levels of displacement on record, nearly 1 person is forcibly displaced every two seconds as a result of conflict or persecution. An unprecedented 68.5 million people around the world have been forced out of their home, among them 25.4 million are refugees (more than twice Belgium population)[1].

While governments of hosting countries and international institutions are trying to figure out how to handle migrant flows, people escaping from harsh conditions are segregated in refugee camps waiting a chance to rebuild their own lives. Yet, within this population lies a wealth of talented artisans and craftspeople carrying with them treasured knowledge and skills from their cultural heritage. The project MADE 51, initiated by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and supported by Strategic Partners and a global network of local social enterprises, was born from this realization. MADE51 aims at helping refugee artisans achieve independence by integrating them into viable supply chains and creating a means to market their crafts worldwide. While supporting a sustainable livelihood for talented makers fleeing war or persecution, MADE51 also helps keeping traditional crafts alive, preserving indigenous techniques and material processes that might otherwise be lost. Moreover, earning their own income restores refugees’ sense of dignity and self-determination and reduces their dependency on aid.

So far, around 14 local social enterprises have agreed to add a refugee product line to their operations. When selecting local enterprises with which cooperate, key elements that are put forward are their ethical values, strong export experience and good design aesthetic. We are proud that the World Fair Trade Organization partners MADE51 in ensuring that Fair Trade principles are being met by these enterprises. In particular, WFTO intervention helps identifying a safe and fair value chain, where refugees are paid a fair wage, have good working conditions and child labor is not allowed. As a counterpart for their efforts, MADE51 provides marketing and branding opportunities that help social enterprises expand sales for their refugee product lines.

In February 2018, 12 product lines created by refugee artisans and craftspeople were presented at the Ambiente trade fair in Frankfurt. Within the collection, there were different ranges of products on display: sophisticated pile rugs created by refugee Afghan artisans using a traditional hand-knotting technique widely employed in Afghanistan to make sheep’s wool rugs; cashmere throws and bags made in Jordan by Syrian refugee artisans using their traditional crochet and embroidery techniques; natural vessels and wall hangings weaved in Tanzania by 50 Burundian refugee artisans; stunning bowls, boxes and pieces of jewelry from Burkina Faso where Malian refugees, intertwining the cultural identity and symbolism of the Tuareg culture in every piece, combined hammered bronze and copper with hand cured leather to create this masterpieces. In addition, the MADE51 collection features embroidered home textiles from Pakistan, wool kilims and cushions from Rabat in Afghanistan, scarves and accessories from Egypt, lampshades and upcycled soft furnishings from Lebanon, bags and fashion accessories from both Kenya and Malaysia, modern basketry from Rwanda, and smoked bamboo lighting from Thailand.

The project, now at its early stage, aims at increasing scale and engaging as many refugees as possible. For this purpose refugee artisans need to find a sustainable demand for their products and exposure to new markets, which will help businesses to grow and lead to increased orders for all their producers.

This is why retailers and brands have a paramount role in helping refugees to achieve self-reliance. By including MADE51 collection in their sourcing plans, retailers and brands also contribute in changing public perceptions of refugees and supporting an inclusive and fair business model.

To know more about the MADE51 project visit MADE 51 official website as well as their Facebook and Twitter profile, where pictures about artisans and their stunning collections can be found.

You can also dedicate a post to the project using the hashtag #WithRefugees, sign UNHCR’s petition and ask your friends/ followers to do the same.

If you are willing to take a step further for refugee artisans, you can place an order for MADE51 products by contacting MADE51 team here.

“Refugees are people just like you and me who have found themselves in a challenging situation. Refugees don’t want to sit idle – they want to actively engage. With a bit of support, they can make great contributions to the economy and to society.”


[1] Data taken from UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)’s website :

Members in the Spotlight


“Solidarity with disadvantaged people by provision of labour.” In line with this motto we started our activities in 1978, initiated by a group of weavers in Chotanagpur, a region in the North-East of India. The weavers asked us to practice solidarity with them as their situation was very difficult. People were no longer interested in their traditional woven products and so they were worried about sales opportunities and their future. We agreed that we would try to sell their products in Germany.

This was terra incognita for us so we made an effort to learn everything required to do such kind of work. And after a while we were quite successful! We became friends with our partners and we understood ourselves as their agents in our country. When it became administratively necessary to found an organization to continue the work we called it ‘Friends of Chotanagpur’.

Over time, other disadvantaged groups heard about us and approached us for support. As we were not focused on a specific product but more on personal stories and communities’ needs we expanded. Today we have a good relationship with nine partners in India and one partner in Nepal; four of them are organizations providing work for the disabled and two of them are village cooperatives.

As our initiative grew we had to learn a lot about import conditions and about acquiring customers. We started to spread information about our partners – first among our friends and Church congregations. But soon we took part in larger events such as the ‘Deutscher Evangelischer Kirchentag’ (German Protestant Church Congress) and the emerging Fair Trade Fairs. Our natural partners were Fair Trade Shops, as their commitment was based on similar ideas.  They expected to get information about the products and the producers, as well as good quality – European standard – and up to date designs.  This required more discussion with our Indian and Nepali partners. Some expectations we could meet, other problems we were not able to solve. For example the demand for some of our items very much depends on fashions. Some items all over a sudden fall out of fashion. The producers, however, were trained to make these particular items, e.g. mandalas made of silver wire, soap stone works etc. In order to adapt to market demands and maintain an income they thus had to undergo renewed training.

The woven products of our partner in Chotanagpur, too, unfortunately went out of fashion in Germany. However, at the same time the government of Jharkhand started a campaign to support local producers of hand loom.  As a result, weavers could make a living by selling their products on the local market again. We remained friends nevertheless.”

To have more information about Chotanagpurgruppe’s activities, we invite you to have a look at the dedicated page on our website or – if your German is good enough – to visit Chotanagpurgruppe website.

IDEAS (Iniciativas de Economía Alternativa y Solidaria)

IDEAS (Iniciativas de Economía Alternativa y Solidaria) is a Fairtrade cooperative. We are founders of the Fairtrade movement in Spain in the middle 80s. For more than 30 years we have been dedicated to import and distribution of Fair Trade products and very active in awareness raising activities in the Fair Trade and Solidarity Economy networks in Spain. We believe that Fair Trade is a powerful tool to change the world we are living and to fight against social problems we are facing like poverty, climate change and biodiversity loss.

We want to contribute to eradicating the causes of poverty in the most disadvantaged rural communities, guaranteeing the rights, dignity and development of all the parties involved in the commercial chain. This is the reason why we are not only dedicated to commercializing Fair Trade products, but we also carry out an intense work of denunciation and social awareness.

We are the National Coordinators of the Fair Trade Towns Campaign in Spain. Through this platform we raise awareness among local governments, companies, universities, schools and social organizations on the need of change the rules of commercial trade guaranteeing the respect of Human Rights. In addition, IDEAS carries out numerous research, consulting, education and social mobilization activities and also develops ethical financing tools to promote models of Responsible Consumption and Solidarity Economy.

In October we will celebrate the XII International Fair Trade Towns Conference in Madrid with the assistance of more than 200 participants from Fair Trade Towns cities. Madrid´s council is supporting the Conference in the framework of the work they are implementing to promote Fair Trade.

One of our main activities is offering support to producer´s groups not only in trading and selling their products but also in cooperation projects for the improvement of living conditions. So that we develop capacity building actions and investments for equipments and supplies for organic production and strengthening their organizations. Some of the actions we have developed in the last years are the following:

  1. Support of Rural Women in Palestine: in 2016 and 2017, in partnership with Fundación Triodos Bank and Diputación de Córdoba, we have supported  Khirbet Sir women’s Cooperative and Jayyus Federation in Khirbet Sir and Qalqiliya community, both members of PARC (Palestinian Agricultural Relief Comittees). These projects have had an important investment in productive improvement and cooperative development by capacity-building programs regarding zaatar production with an increased added value.
  2. Supporting Fair Trade and organic production in Paraguay: with the support of racias al apoyo Cordobas council we are supporting Manduvira Coop in strengthening their knowledge regarding organic production and food sovereignty. In 2017 we constructed a Laboratory for soil with the aim to strengthen members of Manduvira’s ability toimprove the productivity of cane sugar production.. Capacity building and gender issues were also part of the projects.

NetWorks Trading

S.C. NetWorks Trading Srl, is a new Provisional Member of WFTO and one of the two WFTO producers in Europe and is now working hard towards becoming a Guaranteed Member.

NetWorks Trading is the wholly owned trading company of the Non-Profit Organisation NetWorks based in Siria in the County of Arad in North West Romania and was established specifically as part of a holistic community development program developed over many years, helping the poor, many of whom are Roma.

They emphasise the importance of taking the time to build relationships, out of which they work to empower and encourage families living in poverty to help themselves. This means intentionally spending time in a community, getting to know the people and how they live, talking to them about their lives and the problems they face, listening, and only then seeing how, or if, they can engage. They have developed a stepped program (including crisis help, education, and a range of self-help programmes) which has now been accredited as a social service.

DECE (pronounced “DE-TCHE” meaning “WHY” in Romanian) is the Registered Trademark of their fastest growing microenterprise which is designed as an integrated and essential part of this holistic program, to help people escape from generational cycles of poverty.

The first DECE product was a simple crochet hat. Crocheting needs little equipment and enabled our employees to work from home which meant that they could build their work schedule around caring for their family. In 2013 DECE began to produce simple leather products that created work opportunities for men in the community and has become a significant part of the DECE story.

Since then DECE has had a growing team of skilled artisans, working both from home and in their production hubs selling into markets in Sweden, Norway, France, the U.K., the U.S.A. and most recently New Zealand.

They are producing high quality clothing accessories including hand crocheted and knitted beanies and scarves, organic cotton beanies and leather goods including wallets, handbags, messenger bags and briefcases.

The vision is not just for people to survive but to thrive. Where people find dignity and self-esteem, confidence and security, where through their own work people are able to provide more than just food, but a home and a future for their children.

For more information or to visit their web store go to

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