WFTO-Europe is happy to present its third external Newsletter, dedicated to all Fair Trade supporters across the world!
In this Issue:
WFTO Europe @ home
Belgium is on the way of becoming a Fair Trade Nation!
The Belgian Fair Trade Week is an annual campaign that celebrates fair trade across the country. During 10 days, activities are organized throughout Belgium to raise awareness in a dynamic way. Events go from Fair Fashion shows to film projections and concerts. It is an initiative of the Trade for Development Center of Enabel, the Belgian Development Agency in collaboration with the largest fair trade associations in Belgium.
For this occasion, on the 10th of October 2018 WFTO-Europe organized ¨Behind a Fair Price¨, an event in collaboration with Fairtrade Belgium and Enabel to raise awareness mainly among university students about Fair Trade. This evening was dedicated to discuss particularly about what makes up a Fair Price and interact with the participants in order to involve them directly in the debate.
The initial part of the event aimed to achieve the first goal, presenting what there is behind a fair price. Emmanuel Mossay, professor and regenerative economy expert was the keynote speaker and made an introduction of the New Economy model. Francesca Giubilo, WFTO-Europe regional coordinator, followed by presenting the Fair payment policy of WFTO as well as what Fair Trade enterprises do to set a fair price and an intervention from Fairtrade Belgium leaned more specifically on the cocoa case and the Fair Trade action in Western Africa.
The second and main part of the event consisted in a role play discussion with the participants in order to tackle the challenges that consumers, businesses and authorities face in order to support the Fair Trade Movement as well as the solutions to overcome the current barriers.
It was a successful event as participants were highly enthusiastic and provided brilliant ideas and arguments during the role-play sessions. The Belgian Fair Trade Week 2018 was a great opportunity to engage with university students. WFTO-Europe would love to use the feedback collected to organize another similar events targeting businesses in 2019, and authorities in 2020.
MADE51 is a project conceived by UNHCR in order to give values to the hands of thousands of refugees living in UN camps in displaced areas. It was born with the intent of give value to the hands of vulnerable people by creating handcraft furnitures and accessories that combine together the most innovative design with traditional and local techniques. 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.
MADE 51 exists to give dignity to a wide range of refugees that have faced life-threatening situations in their origin country, or along the way. They are living in an uncomfortable position, they have lost everything, they are still troubling to find stability in a safe place and restart their everyday life. The project aims at creating income and opportunities, at promoting the craftsmanship, traditions and heritage, participation to economical inclusion, creating style and design of unique products to international markets and it tells stories. Once MADE51 has found refugee artisans, it works with local enterprises to boost local economies. Their engagement is essential since they manage orders, production and logistics for refugee-made product lines. 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.
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.
Europe in a nutshell
As is the established tradition, the annual Fair Trade Breakfast was held at the European Parliament on 18th of October. It was hosted by UK Member of European Parliament, Linda McAvan, and organised by the FTAO.
Not one, but TWO EU commissioners.
This year both Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström, and Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, spoke on the EU’s commitments to Fair and Ethical Trade. Malmström proudly announced how there is now also a new chapter on commitments to gender equality to complement the chapter on Fair and Ethical Trade in the EU’s trade deals going forward. Mimica highlighted the TFLF project as an exemplary awareness-raising action which is educating consumers, businesses, and policy-makers alike on how production and consumption behaviour can and should change to foster sustainability, decent payment and working conditions, and mitigate environmental degradation and climate change in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) for 2030. The European Commission funds initiatives like this as part of their commitment to making use of Fair Trade among other tools in the massive joint work towards achieving the SDG’s. Further, he announced, the Commission will launch a study on supply chains in the garment sector analysing how it can complement its current approach towards achieving the SDGs. It is intended to inform the next Commission from 2019 onwards on how to draft effective legislation that continues and expands its commitment to Fair and Ethical Trade and work towards the SDGs.
Cocoa from Colombia
The vibrant and lively energy in the room instantly sobered, as a representative for a Fair Trade cooperative in Colombia producing cocoa related the difficulties they face from the civil conflict in the country, which meant their farmers could not even tend their fields without accompaniment by armed forces. He went on to tell how Fair Trade helps their situation particularly at a time when world prices are extremely low, and called for more action since Fair Trade alone at the present rate is not enough for communities like his to pull themselves out of poverty.
Fair Trade means business
The positive and energetic atmosphere quickly returned as people heard the benefits of Fair Trade as related by an actual producer, and Sergi Cobalan from the Fair Trade Advocacy Office then exercised skilful timing in reminding everyone that “Fair Trade means business.” In fact, some young, Belgian entrepreneurs of sustainable business initiatives were present as well and invited by Linda McAvan to tell more about their projects.
Greeting new times
Concluding the event, Linda McAvan thanked all with the sad reminder that this would be her last Fair Trade Breakfast in the European Parliament due to Brexit. This is certainly a loss for the Fair Trade movement, considering McAvan’s key role in supporting Fair Trade at the EU level and hosting the breakfast as a platform which gives members of the Fair Trade movement from across Europe and the world a chance to tell EU policy-makers why they support Fair Trade, and why the policy-makers should do so, too.
We have strong expectation that there will be members of the new European Parliament after elections next year, who are motivated and passionate to take up the mantle from Linda McAvan and be key representatives for the Fair Trade movement within the EU institutions. To be sure they will have very big shoes to fill. We encourage all our members and partners from the Fair Trade movement to reach out and engage as best you can the local candidates in your EU Member State, so we can find a successor with the same skill, keen wit, and pure-hearted dedication as Linda McAvan.
Though “rough winds do shake the darling buds of May” as Shakespeare famously wrote, let us prepare together to greet new times and a new parliament with all our best motivations to be Agents for Change and to push for the changes happening around us to take a turn for the better.
Following the Belgian Fair Trade Week from 3rd to 13th October, WFTO-Europe took part in the Fair Trade Marathon. The Fair Trade action-packed week included coordination meetings on the Trade Fair Live Fair (TFLF) project, meetings and workshops for the Fair Trade Advocacy Network, and culminated in the Fair Trade Breakfast at the European Parliament on 18th October, with not one, but TWO European Commissioners present to give speeches on the EU’s commitment to supporting Fair and Ethical Trade.
Lessons from the TFLF’s first year
Though many project partners faced initial challenges from a delay in contract-signing with the European Commission and hence a delay in receiving funding for activities, a wealth of actions has blossomed from the first year of implementation of the project.
Fashion Revolution, who famously asks big retailers “who made my clothes?”, had their biggest Fashion Revolution Week so far in with nearly 3000 events world wide in April. Their 2018 campaign video released on that occasion also won an award at the Fashion Film Festival Milano. In similar fashion, Traidcraft Exchange in the UK launched their “Who picked my tea?” campaign, which is now ongoing and will culminate with events across the UK in November. Please read more on this in the article below. Oxfam Magasins du Monde in Belgium have been particularly active with launching of crowdfunding calls, capacity-building workshops for Fair Trade partners, as well as their Oxfam Day featuring a fashion show among other things, which was attended by about 2000 people. In Germany, Weltladen-Dachverband and Forum Fairer Handel have been similarly hard at work in lobbying the German federal government on Due Diligence laws concerning Human Rights in supply chains. At a breakfast held at the Bundestag (Federal Parliament) they discussed with members of parliament how Germany can follow the example of France in regulating businesses’ responsibility to ensure compliance with Human Rights in their supply chains.
In addition to activities, a major achievement of the TFLF project are studies commissioned and carried out on Fair Trade in different contexts. There are studies on tea (The Estate They’re In, by Traidcraft), cocoa (by Fairtrade Foundation, forthcoming), and coffee (The Success Story Hiding in the Crisis, by Commerce Equitable France).
On a related note, WFTO-Europe has commissioned a study on Living Wages and Fair Payment. It is envisioned to contain recommendations for policy-makers as well, along with methods for non-Fair Trade companies to adopt similar measures as a possible first step towards better pay and more equality and, in turn, sustainability, in global supply chains across the board. The study is expected to be released in the first half of 2019.
Activities for second year
Looking forward to the second year of the TFLF project, which is already in full swing since last month, the elections for the European Parliament in late May 2019 loom large. This is a main theme of the project for the second year going until September 2019, and during the marathon partners of the project reiterated that they would focus their efforts around engaging candidates for the European Parliament to be active in promoting Fair Trade and its principles at the EU level.
Other activities planned by project partners are, among others, research on the impact of due diligence on Human Rights (or HRDD for short) in textile supply chains commissioned by Oxfam Magasins du Monde; a national campaign on HRDD in Germany by Weltladen-Dachverband and Forum Fairer Handel expected to start in late April and to be a key theme for their World Fair Trade Day celebration; and field research on working conditions for women in coffee production in Latin America, by Swedish Organisation for Fair Trade Retailers (SOFTR) which will also make a toolkit on Public Procurement and educational material for school children to be distributed to teachers. Traidcraft is leading work in approaching the private sector and in leveraging private companies to adopt more sustainable and Fair business practices. Do contact them if you wish to get involved or if you need advice on engaging with private companies.
Also, do not forget International Women’s Day on 8th of May, 2019, where WFTO will release its studies on how Fair Trade helps achieving Gender Equality in organisations and cooperatives.
For this round of European Parliament elections, the strategy proposed by the FTAO is to start meaningful discussion with candidates and engage with them for instance by letting them write in a speech-bubble a message they stand for or support (like, “I support Fair Trade”) and to share photos of them with this speech-bubble on Social Media. This approach stands in contrast to the Vote4FairTrade campaign in 2014, where candidates were encouraged to sign the Fair Trade Manifesto. Sergi Cobalan from the FTAO explained how this time the idea is to engage with the candidates to both gain an understanding of the issues important to them and to prompt them to reflect upon how Fair Trade relates to those issues and why it could be important for them if elected. It is to a higher degree up to individual partners of the Fair Trade Advocacy Network to define concrete strategies meaningful for them and their local context. The FTAO, he assured, will assist with possible content and recommendations in engaging the candidates.
Earlier this year, Traidcraft Exchange launched their ’Who picked my tea?’ campaign encouraging consumers to ask the UK’s six major tea brands: ‘Who picked my tea?’. Already two – Yorkshire and Twinings – have responded and revealed the estates in Assam and elsewhere from which they source tea for their famous blends. Another two are expected to follow suit very soon, with another two yet to respond.
The estate of affairs
In connection with the EU-funded Trade Fair Live Fair project, Traidcraft Exchange has commissioned a study on working conditions and remuneration for workers picking tea in Assam, some of which is sourced by the UK’s biggest tea brands. The report, ‘The Estate They’re In’ paint a stark picture of less-than-legal-minimum wages and very poor or complete lack of benefits like housing, food, sanitation and healthcare which the estates are required by law to provide for workers picking the tea.
Why transparency matters
One of the barriers for workers, activists, and others to stand up to the estates for better wages and working conditions is the complete lack of transparency on who and which brands source their tea from which estates. Similarly, it is very difficult to hold brands accountable for due diligence within their supply chain, if the different parts of the supply chains are unknown to external parties. Without knowing which brands are buying the tea they have picked, workers and civil society organisations in Assam are without a vital means to meaningfully leverage the estate owners for necessary change.
As Yorkshire and Twinings – who together make up 28.4 per cent of the UK retail market for tea – have revealed the estates supplying their tea from Assam, these estates can in turn be pressured to ensure better wages and working and living conditions for their workers. With two more of the Big Six expected to follow this will certainly have an impact for the workers marginalised at the very end of the supply chain.
However, this is just the first step and more remains to be done. In the Fair Trade movement we must strive for continuous improvement and change and constantly be at the fore to hold ourselves and mainstream non-Fair Trade companies to account. Therefore, please help share Traidcraft Exchange’s message and encourage your supporters to do their email action to put pressure on the remaining tea brands.
Additionally, see if perhaps tea brands in your country could be best advised to follow the example of Yorkshire and Twinings in revealing their supply chains not just for Assam, but also for other countries and regions from which tea is sourced, and to ensure decent conditions and wages for members of any part of the supply chains but particularly those at the far end, which have little leverage or bargaining power and thus are often left out and marginalised as a result.
Who picked my tea? – On tour
Find out what life is like for the people behind your tea. Hear tea activists from Assam, India, reveal the conditions of the workers who pick tea for the UK’s biggest tea brands.
Event details and tickets: www.traidcraft.org.uk/tea-tour
WFTO around the World
The International Fair Trade Charter
Many people use the term “Fair Trade”, but what does it actually mean?
Inclusive economic growth and improving living wages is the first thing that pops up in our minds when we hear about fair trade practices. However, fair trade stands not only for economic equity but also for social justice and sustainability. Women empowerment, protecting children’s rights, investing in the next generation, nurturing the environment, influencing public policies and involving citizens in building a fairer world are key points of the fair trade movement.
In order to have a defined and clear common vision of what Fair Trade stands for, Fairtrade International and the World Fair Trade Organization with the support of their joint Fair Trade Advocacy Office initiated the conception of a document called the International Fair Trade Charter. It was launched on the 25th of September 2018 with the aim to underline the holistic approach of fair trade. Today, more than 250 organizations have recognized the charter.
Rising inequality and a deepening ecological crisis have led the global community to seek new models of business and trade that drive fair and sustainable economies. Over many decades, the Fair Trade movement has developed and implemented a range of models that serve as an experiment in transforming the broader global economy.
Erinch Sahan, Chief Executive of the World Fair Trade Organization said: “We see spiraling inequality and entrenched poverty because businesses and trade have been shaped to prioritize profits above all else. Fair Trade shows that a better way is possible. Our new Charter shows how our vision and experience can help reshape business and trade around the world.”
The global Fair Trade movement urges policy-makers, business leaders, citizens and consumers to embrace the vision of the International Fair Trade Charter, to create a global trading system populated by supply chains and models of business that leave no one behind.
By supporting Fair Trade producers and businesses, advocating to transform the rules of global trade and buying Fair Trade products, we can all act to make sustainable and fair development a reality and give the world a fighting chance of reaching the goals it set for itself three years ago.
The International Fair Trade Charter is available in fourteen languages and you can download it here.
12th International Fair Trade Towns Conference, Madrid
Over 200 people from 40 countries came together for the 12th annual Fair Trade Towns Conference in Madrid on 19-21st October.
This year’s theme was ‘sustainable consumption, caring for life’. The conference, opened with a panel discussion on the international perspectives of this statement, with representatives from Fairtrade International, the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), CLAC (the Latin American Fairtrade Producer Network) and the United Nation’s Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The evening also saw the exciting announcement of a partnership between Fair Trade and UNCTAD. Sergi Corbalán, Executive Director of the Fair Trade Advocacy office (FTAO) and Isabella Durant, Deputy Director General of UNCTAD were both in the Spanish captal for the conference and signed a Memorandum of Understanding.
The conference had a strong focus on building partnerships between the Fair Trade Movement and others working towards similar goals. Sessions included Fair Trade and ethical banking; synergies between Fair Trade and the feminist economy and migration and solidarity with refugees in our cities. This year saw a new poster session, with representatives of different cities, including Brogue and Bristol presenting innovative ways they’ve been promoting Fair Trade in their regions. Erinch Sahan, Chief Executive of WFTO Global presented in the closing session on ‘synergies between Fair Trade and other social movements’; sharing findings from a recent WFTO report showing how many of their member enterprises are working in such a way as to support Organic production and adopting practices of the circular economy within their models.
It was announced on closing the conference that the 13th edition will be hosted in Wales in 2019.
For more insight into the conference, search the hashtag #IFTTCMadrid.
WFTO has developed a social media campaign on the occasion of the anti-poverty week taking place from the 15th of October until the 21th of the same month 2018. The aim was raising awareness on the role of business and consumers in fighting poverty, by promoting sustainable production and consummation as key to produce well-being. Poverty is enough closed that you can think. Everyday thousands of people die for the lack of resources generated by their economic conditions, and last year, the number of people living under extreme poverty reached 812 million.
The 330 Fair Trade Enterprises that make up the WFTO are working hard to guarantee a secure life to local communities suffering from the impact of poverty in their daily life. By building togetherness we can achieve successful results and create sustainable projects that can eliminate the wealth gap among countries and individuals, the sense of “Superiority” and “inferiority” depending on the economic situation and the “I have what you need”. Building local capacity and using local resources are the keys for fighting against poverty.
The WFTO community has guaranteed 965,700 livelihoods impacted in 72 countries. Among them, the top 10 countries with the most Fair Trade Enterprises are India, The Netherlands, Kenya, Bangladesh, Nepal, Peru, Indonesia, Chile, France and Sri Lanka. While, the top importing countries are United States, Germany, UK, Canada, Japan, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Switzerland and Austria. These enterprises report a significant sale in the domestic market of the developing countries (57%); they use circular economy production models, such as upcycling, and organic agriculture. Woman empowerment and leadership are at center of WFTO policy, indeed, 51% of board positions are held by women, 52% of CEOs are women and 54% of them cover a senior roles.
The product categories lie, for the majority, in food, fashion and home living.
The aim of the anti-poverty week is to strengthen public understanding of the causes and consequences of poverty and hardship around the world, and to encourage research, discussion and action to address these problems, including action by individuals, communities, organizations and governments. With a major involvement of organizations and enterprises, and an alternative business model, we can eradicate the poverty. A project that seems hard to realize, but not impossible. We just need a more altruistic and global vision that can bring mutual benefits for both enterprises and local communities.