In this Issue:
WFTO Europe @ home
Last year was both the end of Year 1 and the beginning of Year 2 of the Trade Fair Live Fair project. Since this is our main project until August of 2020, we wish to share some important results from 2018, and to anticipate some events and developments for 2019. For 2018, in particular, lots of new research on Fair Trade was completed, all of what we will share here was funded by the Trade Fair Live Fair project.
Events of 2018:
- International Women’s Day in March 2018: We shared Fair Trade stories with a women empowerment and gender equality-focus. Read or re-read the stories here.
- World Fair Trade Day in May 2018: We compiled a video with our members presenting themselves and their Fair Trade work. Watch or re-watch it here.
At the same occasion we promoted the theme: Live Fair, one Fair Trade product at a time to celebrate the growing number of people willing to pay for ethical and sustainable products like Fair Trade. (Re)Visit it here.
- The WFTO-Europe Biennial Conference in June, which also featured the public event: Universalizing the Fair Trade principles for an EU sustainable – and fair – production and consumption agenda. This was co-organised with the Fair Trade Advocacy Office and was attended by members but also Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) outside of our membership. We expect to replicate the format this year in June to foster partnerships between members and other CSOs.
- For COP24 in December, we published a Policy Statement for COP24 done in collaboration with a large part of the Fair Trade movement. This lays out our generally agreed position on how Fair Trade contributes to Climate Justice.
Research of 2018:
- Coordinatora Estatal de Comercio Justo: Fair Trade and Sustainable Development Goals – Investigates how the 10 Fair Trade Principles fit with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda.
- Fashion Revolution: Transparency Index 2018 – The famous index of how much fashion brands share about their supply chains…
- Fashion Revolution: Consumer Survey 2018 – A survey involving app. 5,000 people in the five biggest EU member states – Germany, Italy, Spain, France, and UK – which shows that social impacts of products matter for 38% and environmental impacts matter for 37% of consumers across these five markets.
- Commerce Équitable France: Coffee – The Success Story that Hides a Crisis – Value created in the coffee industry has increased tremendously in recent years, though the share going to farmers and primary producers has actually decreased in relative terms. This reasserts the importance of better value distribution in coffee supply chains. The study shows that Fairtrade certification works, and works particularly well in combination with organic certification. Especially, Fair Trade helps significantly mitigate external costs for producers and their communities linked to coffee production, and bring farmers closer to a living wage.
- Oxfam Magasins du Monde: Fair Trade Textiles and Decent Work – Oxfam-Magasins du monde’s comparative analysis of 4 Indian fair trade organisations has shown that fair trade leads to significant improvement relative to the conventional textile sector
- Traidcraft Exchange: The Estate They’re In – research focused on the tea supply chain, and the roles and responsibilities of different actors in addressing the poor pay and living conditions on tea estates in Assam, in North East India.
Our plans in 2019:
- International Women’s Day on 8th March, where two reports will be published by WFTO Global on how Fair Trade is empowering women and facilitating women in leadership and management positions.
- WFTO-Europe Review 2019 – a publication promoting stories from WFTO-Europe’s members on their contributions to the SDGs through their work on Fair Trade. It will be published in March.
- Campaign on the European Parliament Elections kicking off in April.
- WFTO-Europe gathering event & AGM in June, with a public session on Fair Trade as an alternative business model and its contribution to both social and climate justice.
In December, 2018, the European Commission (EC) published a roadmap on “Deforestation and Forest Degradation.” WFTO-Europe submitted feedback for this on 15th January and on 25th February also contributed to the EC’s consultation following the roadmap. For both, the key points stressed were:
- For the EC to acknowledge poverty as a root cause of deforestation for those Forest Risk Agricultural Commodities (FRAC’s) with a high proportion of smallholder farmers. These often clear forest to increase land for cultivation, if they are consistently unable to get a viable price for their products. This concerns coffee and cocoa in particular.
- By extension, to call for the EC to support Fair Trade as part of the solution for coffee and cocoa. Fair Trade is an alternative business model with a holistic approach, which avoids the excesses of the prevailing economic models by putting people and planet before a narrow focus on profit at all costs. As noted above, addressing poverty can mean addressing deforestation in the case of coffee and cocoa.
- To call on the EC to include legally binding measures with basis in Human Rights Due Diligence (HRDD) in its policies against deforestation. According to the EC’s own feasibility study from March 2018 new legislation would be most effective in addressing deforestation.
Both coffee and cocoa, among other agricultural products, are mentioned in the EC roadmap as so-called Forest Risk Agricultural Commodities (FRAC’s). Indeed, the study on coffee by le BASIC commissioned by Commerce Équitable France and Max Haavelar France, tells a similar story: Deforestation is caused by a trend towards increasing land for coffee farming and modernisation of farms to achieve higher yields (page 12). This often requires more chemical and synthetic inputs (like fertiliser) which increase cost of production for farmers already under pressure from incredibly low prices for coffee.
Concerning cocoa, where roughly 80% of farmers are smallholders, one of the main obstacles for those smallholders seems to be the lack of education and of market access. Thus they are often exploited by middlemen, who are their only contact to the world market. Fair Trade is again the obvious tool for engaging such vulnerable communities to simultaneously make their production and their livelihood sustainable.
WFTO-Europe’s feedback to both the roadmap and consultation has particularly stressed the need to draft legislation that leaves the burden of compliance with the buyer companies at the top of the value chain, and cannot be unloaded on the smallholder farmers at the bottom – as is often the case today. It is of utmost importance to mitigate the issue of deforestation while at the same time safe-guarding the rights and livelihoods of the most vulnerable groups in those international supply chains that contribute in particular to deforestation and forest degradation.
Though only voluntary measures have been proposed so far, there is still reason to be hopeful for binding legislation. The EU Timber Regulation, banning wood from illegal logging from being exported to the EU, developed out of a similar process. The so-called Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan was agreed in 2003, and did not contain any mention of regulation. Instead, it laid out a process of reviewing feasibility and impact, which eventually led to the EU Timber Regulation that came into force in 2013. In fact, Fern, FTAO, Fairtrade International and WFTO-Europe, all referred the EC to exactly this regulation – along with other relevant models – to highlight what kind of measures would be needed.
Europe in a nutshell
The Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO) has launched a report shedding light on the changing nature of competition law and showing where it is currently obstructing sustainability in food systems. The authors give recommendations on how to mend the broken links between EU competition law and sustainability to support overreaching policy goals such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or climate commitments. Read the full report here.
The agriculture and food sector brings together businesses of hugely different shapes and sizes, from small-scale family farms to huge multinational enterprises. Large retailers and brands dominate the market, meaning that smaller suppliers are vulnerable to being treated unfairly.
EU leaders have now agreed to a new law, known as the Unfair Trading Practices Directive, to tackle these unfair trading practices in agricultural supply chains. This new law aims to support suppliers of agricultural products to get a fairer deal from their trading relationships.
The new directive is a major success for the Fair Trade movement. For several years, Fair Trade Advocacy Office, together with IFOAM, Oxfam and other actors had been advocating for a new law calling on the EU to ensure that the most vulnerable actors in the supply chain have access to a complaint mechanism and allow complaints against all companies importing food into the EU.
Click here to read a clear and straightforward analysis on the directive.
WFTO around the World
On 8th March we celebrate International Women’s Day by showcasing Fair Trade women who are leading and taking active roles in Fair trade enterprises. On the occasion of this important day WFTO global will publish two reports on gender equity in the work place and on the Fair Trade business models that empower women.
Fair Trade espouses gender equality by promoting women leadership and economic empowerment. As the reports will stress, most Fair Trade Enterprises worldwide are run by women. We are pioneering new mission-led models of business where women take charge and share a clear message: More women leaders for gender equality and sustainable development!
The International Women’s Day campaign along with the two reports by WFTO global are part of the Trade Fair Live Fair project funded by the European Commission.
Curious about what WFTO-Europe is planning for International Women’s Day? Keep posted on our social media channels and our website for the coming week and learn about how Fair Trade empowers women in leadership positions! Our updates on International Women’s Day 2019 will soon be found here.
In the course of Ambiente trade fair in February in Frankfurt, Germany, World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) unveiled plans to expand the adoption of upcycling and other circular economy production models by Fair Trade Enterprises. The so called “People and Planet initiative” spans fashion, homewares and accessories and will reach over 50 countries. It is the first global initiative of its kind to work across such a breadth of product categories and countries. Read the press release on the launch of the People and Planet Initiative here.
All Zotter chocolates are made by the firm itself – from the bean to the table, bean-to-bar, in pure organic and fair quality. 180 dedicated employees work in the chocolate factory in Styria. There are currently more than 400 different items in the product range.
Zotter focuses on innovation. It’s important for us to offer a wide and varied range of products – from classics like Butter Caramel and Raspberry to eccentric creations like Bread Break, created with bread schnapps made from organic bread leftovers. We offer more than 400 different chocolate varieties, and the new season will bring 21 new, hand-scooped chocolates. We typically introduce between 30 and 70 new products per year. And who comes up with all those amazing ideas? Josef Zotter of course, although lately he’s had quite a bit of help from his daughter Julia, the other creative mind in the family business. Experiments are our passion and we use our own in-house bean-to-bar manufactory to develop new ideas and products.
We buy our cocoa directly from our farmers, pay way above the world market price and support them continuously, so they stick with quality and fine flavour cocoa varieties like Criollo, Trinitario, Nacional and Nativo and are therefore no longer dependent on the world market, which trades chiefly in bulk cocoa. We often travel to our cocoa growing regions in order to meet our cocoa farmers and conversely, we invite them over to visit our manufactory. Great interpersonal relationships make for a very special product quality.
All the ingredients for the chocolate come from organic cultivation and we follow the 10 principles of fair trade according to WFTO and we emphasise physical traceability and direct trade with our farmers. For more on this, go to www.zotter.at/en/about-zotter/organic-fair-trade-green/fair.html The protection of the environment is a very important aspect of our corporate philosophy. Our environmental protection and our environmental measures are ISO 14001 and EMAS certified.
- Fair TRadio – Fair Trade Enterprises Podcast by WFTO
- ‘Public Good or Private Wealth’ – new report from Oxfam
- Fairer procurement: The equitable business tool
- 2025 Sustainable Cotton Challenge – First Annual Report 2018
- International Fair Trade Towns Conference 2019 in Wales
- Un nuevo informe se adentra en Bangladés para analizar cómo el Comercio Justo combate la pobreza
- Position paper: Strengthening agroecology for a fundamental Transformation of agri-food systems
- Comment le commerce equitable aide à atteindre les ODD