In this Issue:

A Fair and Sustainable Business Model is Possible!

The European Fair Train: Italy, Central & Eastern Europe, Belgium

Two Years of Trade Fair Live Fair Project

Fair Trade Marathon and Breakfast at the European Parliament

Fall of Conferences

Civil Society Calls for Human Rights and Environmental Due Diligence Legislation

15th International Fair Trade Summit in Lima Action on the Climate Crisis now enshrined in the Principles

First Anniversary of International Fair Trade Charter

International Fair Trade Towns Conference 2019 in Cardiff, Wales

Member in the Spotlight

Fair Trade Related News, Publications and other Tools


21st-24th January 2020:
World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, Davos-Klosters, Switzerland

7th-11th February 2020:
Ambiente Fair, Frankfurt, Germany

8th March 2020:
Women’s Day

9th May 2020:
World Fair Trade Day

3rd-5th June 2020:
Annual General Meeting, Athens, Greece

8th June 2020:
Fair Trade International Symposium, Chiapas, Mexico.


WFTO-Europe @ home

A Fair and Sustainable Business Model is Possible!

A Fair and Sustainable Business Model is Possible! This is the positive and encouraging message we wanted to deliver at our event, organized in the framework of the Belgian Fair Trade Week funded by Enabel, in collaboration with the Fair Trade Advocacy Office, Fair Trade Belgium, Oxfam MdM and Belgian Fair Trade Federation. We invited business actors, government officials, scholars, students and passionate individuals to discuss the challenges faced by sustainable, ethical and social enterprises in their daily business and the possible solutions that could help them overcoming these obstacles. The objective of the event was to show that an alternative business model is perfectly viable if one invests enough passion, values and determination in the project.

The evening started with some interesting presentations on recent research commissioned by WFTO-Europe on Fair Payment and recommendations for implementing it to achieve Local Living Wages for producers, workers and artisans on the one side, and, on the other side, by WFTO Global on Alternative Business Models, presented by Erinch Sahan, WFTO’s Chief Executive. Afterwards, the event evolved into a Round Table discussion with three interesting panelists: Mr. Frank Cockerill, from Elecosy a producer of sustainable paper products made of elephant poo, Mrs. Isabelle Steenebrugge, from La Pachamama a Fair Trade enterprise dealing in handcrafted toys and Mr. Maxime Bacq from Group One, a consultancy for sustainable, green, social, fair trade and similar start-ups. Finally, after some rounds of questions the audience took active part, engaging in working groups, to debate possible solutions to the obstacles raised by the panelists. The final objective was to produce a policy brief to submit as a result and follow-up of the event. In conclusion, one of the most meaningful remarks from the round table discussion was the statement that these kind of alternative business models succeed because they have a heart, they have values and people believing in those values that differentiate them from the crowd.

Here is a video of the event, have a look at it!

The European Fair Train: Italy, Central & Eastern Europe, Belgium

During the last months our Fair Train traveled far and wide, touching different countries: Italy first of all, then a tour of Central and Eastern European countries where Wfto-Europe members are present and Belgium, home of Wfto-Europe office. Read more…


Europe in a nutshell

Two Years of Trade Fair Live Fair Project

On September 1st this year the Trade Fair Live Fair project entered its third and final project year. The project is funded by the European Commission under the DEAR programme and began in September 2017. Year two was full of activities for us at WFTO-Europe and in anticipation of the final efforts to be done in the coming 11 months left of the project, we wish to share with you the main highlights of the past 12 months.

Activities of TFLF project year 2 (Sep-2018 to Aug-2019)

  • COP24 Policy Statement (December 2018) was a collaboration of a large part of the Fair Trade movement, which established an agreed position on how the different models of Fair Trade are crucial for achieving Climate Justice and safe-guarding those that are worst hit while having contributed the least to causing Climate Change. Read it here.
  • International Women’s Day (8th March 2019) featured a video with statements by WFTO-Europe’s own women leaders – regional coordinator Francesca Giubilo along with board members Gabriella D’Amico and Stephanie Brookes. They highlighted the key findings of WFTO Global’s two reports on how Fair Trade facilitates women to assume a standing commensurate with their abilities within a business. View and read / re-view and re-read the video and reports here, but above all please share / re-share!
  • World Fair Trade Day 2019 (11th May) also featured a video with concrete examples of some of the many of WFTO-Europe’s incredibly innovative members and their ingenious products. Learn what elephant’s poo and postcards from Peru could possibly have in common here!
  • WFTO-Europe Review 2019, published on 22nd May highlights some of our members and how their best Fair Trade practices are contributing to the realization of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Be reminded what examples to tell policy-makers and mainstream business to support and follow by clicking here.
  • Public event: “The Role of Mission-led Business Models in Achieving Global Social and Environmental Justice” co-organised with the FTAO on 6th June (part of the “Connect and Act” conference) gathered Fair Trade enterprises and actors from like-minded movements like organic, environmental, and Social and Solidarity Economy, for highlighting the inherent link between social and environmental justice and for discussing ways to collaborate on shared goals. Read more here.
  • “Connect & Act” conference on 6th and 7th June comprised workshops, trainings, discussions and networking opportunities for WFTO-Europe members and prospective organisations. Focus was on the Northern Fair Trade concept, improving retailer models to support importers among members, as well as on the Fair Payment Process (FPP) with preliminary findings from research on the implementation by WFTO-Europe members. For more information read here.
  • Research: “Implementing SDG #8 through the WFTO Fair Payment Process” published in July and comprised by findings on the FPP implementation and how it contributes in particular to SDG 8, along with good practices for best safeguarding Local Living Wages as part of Principle 4: Fair Payment. Read it here.

Planned activities for year 3 (Sep-2019 to Aug-2020)

Finally, here are some of the highlights to look forward to in the final year of the TFLF project. We are very excited to be working on these and hope to collaborate with all of you as much as possible on these activities:

  • COP25 Policy Statement – a new collaborative, joint statement by the Fair Trade movement to keep world leaders’ feet to the fire in fighting Climate Change by reminding them that there are already viable alternative business models that better protect both people and planet! Planned for end-November.
  • Research: Coherent EU Policies Supporting Fair and Sustainable Textile Supply Chains is commissioned by WFTO-Europe together with Oxfam Magasins du Monde and the FTAO. The consultant organisation, European Centre for Development Policy Management, will publish an outline of policy options for EU policy-makers (mid-November), followed by a Shadow Strategy by the commissioning organisations and other CSOs with recommendations for such policies that would be fair and sustainable for all (around January 2020).
  • International Women’s Day 2020 to deepen the message and findings from WFTO Global’s reports from this year. Join us in spreading the word on 8th March 2020!
  • World Fair Trade Day 2020 promoting the vision of “Planet Fair Trade” where Fair Trade enterprises show the way in doing good business – viable and successful business models that put people and planet before profit. Join us on 9th May 2020!
  • WFTO-Europe Review 2020 following the format of the Review 2019 – planned for publishing on World Fair Trade Day.
  • WFTO-Europe Biennial Conference 2020 will be held in Greece this year from the 3rd to the 5th of June 2020. Stay tuned and join us for true symposiums on the key topics with which we are moving forward as a movement in these years.

Fair Trade Marathon and Breakfast at the European Parliament

From 7th to 11th October Wfto-Europe participated in the Fair Trade Marathon, organized by Fair Trade Advocacy Office. The event gathered participants from around Europe and representatives of WFTO from all the regions, to discuss and share news, ongoing projects, priorities and advocacy tools. The agenda included also meetings of the Trade Fair Live Fair Consortium as well as interesting workshops dealing with hot topics such as Public Procurement, HRDD, Climate Change, Fair Trade in Eastern Europe and much more.

The topic of Climate Change was recurrently discussed during the week, being a hot topic in the present historical period and deeply intertwined with Fair Trade business model. The workshop focused on the necessity to put environmental concerns at the hearth of the Fair Trade Business model, without endangering social concerns. The importance of mitigation measures and training for the most vulnerable producers was unanimously recognized. Moreover, the discussion touched upon the need for more researches that explores the Environmental footprint of Fair Trade Products. As regards Public Procurement the discussion centered around the strategies to further promote Fair Trade in public procurement in the EU, facing the difficulties in competing with “traders” that offers cheap supplies. The workshop on Fair Trade in Eastern Europe gathered members of Wfto-Europe from Poland and Czech Republic and other representatives from Romania, Greece and Bulgaria and focused on finding common strategies to promote and expand Fair Trade in this area, creating a working group of different active on common projects. Last but not least, the topic of Human Rights Due Diligence animated the discussion of the fourth workshop. The participants agreed on the necessity to support the call for a European HRDD regulation, which levels the playing field for business throughout the member states. Those are the main topics addressed during the week and actively discussed in groups, but we also had the pleasure to listen to the presentations of different studies led by participants from different organizations, dealing with Textile research, Fashion Revolution successful stories and future plans, as well as Living income and Climate Change in Coffee and Cocoa.

The week was full of ideas and enthusiasm and culminated in the Fair Trade Breakfast at the European Parliament on 10th October, hosted by MEP Bernd Lange from the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats and Chair of the International Trade Committee. Around 100 participants attended the Breakfast to discuss how the European Union could promote policies for Fair Trade and sustainable supply chains in the 2019-2024 term. Bernard Lange said “I am very happy to host the first fair trade breakfast of this term in the European Parliament. European trade policies should contribute to the achievement of sustainable development goals worldwide and fair trade is an interesting tool to achieve those goals. It also helps to make people in Europe aware that what we consume here has an impact on the environment and the conditions in which goods are produced elsewhere. We as MEPs have the responsibility to make sure that human rights are protected throughout the whole supply-chain of goods that we import”. For more information, please read the FTAO Press release here.

Fall of Conferences

Autumn is the season of falling leaves and in Brussels it is also the season of conferences. WFTO Europe participated to the European Research and Innovation Days organized by the European Commission, DG Research and Innovation between the 24th and the 26th of September.

The event gathered policymakers, researchers, stakeholders and civil society organizations from all over the world to discuss topics, which range from space engineering to microbiology, from food security to clean energy, from circular economy to health and medicine and so on. The objective of the conference was to identify priorities for the new research and innovation programme to succeed Horizon 2020. The new ambitious programme of the Commission, called Horizon Europe, will provide €100 billion of public investment in R&I and it will be officially launched the 1st of January 2021.

In his opening speech the Research and innovation commissioner, Carlo Moedas addressed the increasing importance of R&I that he witnessed over his five years of office. Moreover, he stressed the importance of communicating scientific discoveries to the public in order to convey the message that science is for all. Finally, aside of the main policy conference the Commission organized also an exhibition called Science is Wonderful, open to the public and above all to younger generations of students. Furthermore, at the beginning of October the European Economic and Social Committee organized a high level panel debate to discuss its reflection paper “Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030”, adopted the 25th of September. The conference focused on the transition towards a greener economy with its opportunities but also its costs. The president of the EESC endorsed the political agenda of the European Commission President-Elect Ursula Von Der Leyen, who spoke of a Green New Deal among her priorities. Nevertheless, he highlighted the necessity to cooperate with civil society, to include social equity in an EU Green and Social Deal. In the following sessions, stakeholders from industry, finance, civil society, youth associations, member states governments, trade unions, consumers associations joined the conversation on the much needed transition towards a more sustainable society and economy, with the goal to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Civil Society Calls for Human Rights and Environmental Due Diligence Legislation

On the 3rd of October WFTO-Europe, alongside a coalition of more than 80 other NGOs and trade unions, signed a call asking for effective EU legislation that establishes a mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence within the EU. Nowadays still too many conducting business, companies and financial institutions in the EU perpetrate serious abuses and violations of human rights, exploiting their workers, forcing them to live in inhuman conditions, evading taxes and lacking attention to the environment. Current EU policy and legislation fails to adequately address this challenge. It is therefore time to take action and enforce the respect of Human Rights along the global value chains!

You can read more about the call and its signers and download the full statement here.

WFTO around the World

15th International Fair Trade Summit in Lima, Peru – Action on the Climate Crisis now enshrined in the Principles

More than 300 people from 42 countries gathered in Lima, Peru from 16th to 19th of September for the 15th International Fair Trade Summit for discussing, sharing experience, and exchanging best practices in their efforts towards a common vision for an alternative global economy, where people and planet have higher priority than growth and profits. The overarching theme was “Innovations for a Fair Future” and during the summit workshops and debates were structured around four thematic tracks: Accessing Markets; Deepening Fair Trade; New Big Ideas; and Food & Farming. Within these four strands, participants could do workshops and discussions on product design and engagement with consumers via social media; Living Wage and the Fair Payment Process, as well as the Guarantee System; the relevance of impact investment for Fair Trade; and the future of coffee along with securing sustainable incomes for farmers/producers.

A particularly lively session was the debate on the question: “Does Fair Trade need a commercial transformation?” While most agree that the market share of Fair Trade needs to grow, some also exhibited reluctance towards engaging too heavily in commercial transformation out of concerns that it would mean giving in to the type of unrestrained market forces which our movement believes have brought about the obsession with profits at the expense of people and planet. Martin Moritz from El Puente here offered sobering words: It is important for a successful Fair Trade business to be present, dynamic and relevant to its customers, which means collaborating closely with producers, workers and artisans on product design to meet the common demands of consumers. However, with strict and professional adherence to the Guarantee System and the Internal Monitoring System of one’s organization it is possible to make Fair Trade a facilitator of success rather than an obstacle to being competitive. Jeremy Piercy also gave the refreshing reminder that consumers today highly demand climate-friendly products and that they want diversity at the same time. He pointed out that they constantly see elephants as the favoured animal symbol on Fair Trade products, and consumers want more than that. In this sense, the discussion on commercial transformation was also linked with one of the key themes going through the workshops and discussions of the summit: Climate change.

Indeed, during the Annual General Meeting of WFTO Global on the 19th of September the membership voted to update one of the ten Fair Trade principles and rename it “Climate Crisis and Protecting our Planet.” This principle will significantly increase efforts of the membership to promote sustainable production patterns by, in particular, reducing CO2 emissions, waste and the use of plastics. Read the official press release here.

As the newly elected president of the WFTO Board, Roopa Mehta, stated afterwards, the global Fair Trade movement has long been showing significant efforts to address the climate crisis, through organic agriculture, upcycling and recycling, use of natural fibres, among other things. These efforts are now being stepped up to handle the escalating crisis and mitigate the negative impacts it is having on the poor and marginalised communities that the Fair Trade movement represents. As such, the 15th International Fair Trade Summit in Lima this year, was a loud, public statement of this fact.

First Anniversary of International Fair Trade Charter

The 25th of September the first anniversary of International Fair Trade Charter was celebrated. The Charter was initiated by Fairtrade International and the World Fair Trade Organization last year to outline a different perspective to the actual global economic model: a world in which justice, equity, and sustainable development are at the heart of trade structures, business models and practices so that everyone, through their work, can maintain a decent and dignified livelihood and develop their full human potential.

In Europe, there are 83 Fair Trade Enterprises who are pioneering business models that put people and planet first trying to benefit workers, farmers, and artisans. The WFTO is the global community of these businesses, verifying and supporting them on their journey of driving inclusive economic development.

The Charter defines this new vision, attentive to environment and people, and enshrines the fundamental values of the Fair Trade movement to put us on the path to realizing the Sustainable Development Goals. You can read the Charter and find an explanatory video about it here.

International Fair Trade Towns Conference 2019 in Cardiff, Wales

On the 18th, 19th and 20th of October the 13th International Fair Trade Towns Campaign was hosted in Cardiff, Wales at the picturesque Cardiff City Hall. Wales is the world’s first Fair Trade Nation and Cardiff the first Fair Trade National Capital, and the commitment from government and policy-makers was evident from the very beginning of the conference. The morning of Saturday the 19th, the first full day of conference, all were welcomed by Deputy Minister and Chief Whip, Jane Hutt, who spoke of the national commitment of Wales to Fair Trade and to the SDGs, which is reflected in “The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015” – the first time a nation has enshrined the SDGs into law.

Erinch Sahan from WFTO Global also delivered a keynote on Alternative Business Models present in the Fair Trade Movement and their importance for achieving both social and environmental sustainability through business. Mike Gidney, CEO of Fairtrade Foundation, then delivered his keynote on Living Income as a key priority in the movement.

The conference, in both plenary debates and workshops, focused heavily on both Living Income and the climate crisis as the key themes for discussion. The latter theme seemed particularly to be on people’s mind, with several raising a common concern for our movement: How can we justify trading products from very far away, considering the CO2 emissions and the negative impact on the climate crisis the transportation of these goods have? As speakers in the panel debate on the Future of Fair Trade reminded all: The people with whom we trade really, truly need the income Fair Trade provides them with; and the issue of emissions is not always so straightforward, since green beans produced in Kenya and imported into the EU has been shown to cause lower total emissions than green beans grown in heated greenhouses within the EU. A comment from the audience also pointed out that we should remind people that Fair Trade is not confined to trade: The movement is also heavily engaged in advocacy efforts towards making companies’ supply chains both fair and sustainable, and that production patterns need to be fair in order to be truly sustainable. Today, many young people do climate marches or demonstrate as part of the Extinction Rebellion Movement, and we need to demonstrate to them Fair Trade is also acting on the climate crisis by putting people and planet before profits.

The conference also featured a dinner party with celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Fairtrade International mark in the evening of the 19th, where all could admire the beautiful halls of the Temple of Peace – build after the end of World War I – where Fairtrade Wales also have their offices. As the conference wrapped up on the 20th, some history of the Fair Trade Towns campaign was shared, new members of the Steering Committee were presented, and the host of the next conference was announced: The Fair Trade Town of Quito, Ecuador, will host the 14th International Fair Trade Towns Conference in October 2020.

A final learning that we at WFTO-Europe have taken from the conference is in the words of Wales’ patron saint, Saint David: “Do all the little things” – and these will lead to bigger change.

Member in the Spotlight: Malongo

The Malongo business started as a small roasting house in a district of Nice in the 1930s and has always remained attached to its roots promoting high-quality coffees and conserving traditional roasting methods. Malongo is nowadays a dynamic and atypical SME on the French market. Our coffees are sold in supermarkets, hotels, restaurants, offices, coffee shops and on the internet and the company is recognized by professionals and individuals alike for the quality of its coffees and the strength of its ethical commitments.

Malongo imports its coffee beans from the best terroir around the world, grown and processed according to traditional farming methods. To guaranty the quality, we follow up all the steps of the production process, from the plantations to the cups.

Traditional roasting is the only method used at the roasting plant, this slow process (20 minutes, 220 °C maximum) is used to roast the beans to the core and reveal the full spectrum of their aromas and flavours.

Malongo has undeniably been one of the pioneers, leaders and promoters of Fair Trade in France since the early 1990s. Today, we continue to put our efforts supporting producers’ initiative and broader awareness of fair trade in France. Malongo maintains intimate ties with the Fair Trade cooperatives. Global, long-term development projects with coffee cooperatives are undertaken in various countries such as Myanmar, Laos, Mexico, Congo or Dominican Republic. About half of Malongo coffees and 100% of Malongo teas are organic certified, applying strict specifications and guaranteeing that the product was produced without any chemical fertilizers or pesticides, among other aspects.

In producing countries, Malongo supports leading cooperatives that are willing to transmit efficient and modern organic farming techniques from producers to producers. Malongo carries on, as well, agronomic research projects to improve productivity while reducing the impact of agriculture on the environment.

In France, three Malongo training centers ensure that company personnel maintains their excellent standards and can transmit the noble knowledge of coffee to both amateurs and professionals. A strong partnership with the National Education allows the training department to organize sessions for culinary schools and manage the highly reputed Young Coffee Professional Contest every year.

Finally, the Malongo Foundation ensures that the relations tied with producing countries cover more than simple trade by highlighting the historical and cultural wealth of coffee. In France and in many regions around the world, the foundation organizes wide-ranging programs for education, creation, solidarity and the protection of material and cultural heritage.

Fair Trade Related News, Publications and Other Tools