In this Issue:

Last chance to register to the WFTO-Europe Biennial Conference and Annual General Meeting, 7-9th June, Brussels

Fact-sheet on “Northern producers within WFTO”!

WFTO European members: first advocates for a stronger network

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

Latest updates on Trade Fair Live Fair project

Good news from Brussels : the European Commission takes action against unfair trading practices in the food supply chain

Looking back at the IWD and forward to the WFTDay!

Slow Fashion Fair by Oxfam Belgium – May 5, 2018 in Brussels

ACP-EU relations in the Post-Cotonou: what role for civil society and fair trade in upcoming negotiations

Update on WFTO-Europe membership and GS status

News from the Regions

News from the Board

Member in the Spotlight

Fair Trade Related News, Publications & Other tools

 

Agenda:

 

23th-29th April:
Fashion Revolution Week, Worldwide

5th May:
Oxfam Day – Slow fashion event, Brussels, Belgium

12th May:
World Fair Trade Day, Worldwide

12th-27th May:
La Quinzaine du Commerce Equitable, France

5th-6th June:
European Development Days 2018 (EDD 2018), Brussels, Belgium

27th June:
EU Cities for Fair and Ethical Trade Award Ceremony and FTAO Conference about “Upscaling Fair Trade: from local to EU level, Brussels, Belgium

26th-29th June:
The Fair Trade International Symposium, Portsmouth, UK

 

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

Last chance to register to the WFTO-Europe Biennial Conference and Annual General Meeting, 7-9th June, Brussels!

Dear European members,

As previously communicated to you by email, this year we have the pleasure to invite you to the WFTO-Europe Biennial Conference and Annual General Meeting (AGM), taking place from the 7th to the 9th of June 2018 in Brussels!

This Conference is organised back to back to the European Development Days (EDD), organised by the European Commission on the 5-6 June 2018 around the theme ‘Women and Girls at the Forefront of Sustainable Development: protect, empower, invest’. WFTO-Europe, FTAO, Fairtrade International will attend the event and facilitate most likely some sessions.  The EDDs are not included in our Conference programme but registration is free and should be done by the 18th of May.

WFTO-Europe Biennial  Conference, including the Annual General Meeting (AGM) will last three days from Thursday, 7th June to Saturday, 9th June 2018 in Brussels. The draft programme of the three-day Conference is here. More specifically:

  • Day 1, 7th June, is organized in cooperation with the Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO) and is open to the public. In the context of the “Trade Fair Live Fair” EC project, we organize a morning session focused on “Universalising Fair Trade principles through a European Union sustainable – and fair- production and consumption agenda” as well as two workshop sessions in the afternoon. The morning session aims to engage and seek input from European Civil Society networks and movements in a debate on how we can “universalise” the principles of Fair Trade, in light of the new approach to Northern producers and of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The afternoon is focused on a capacity building workshop on “How to build a successful pan-European EP elections campaign”, followed by a workshop session on “Shaping together the advocacy demands through the EP manifesto and beyond”.
  • Day 2, 8th June, is hosted by Oxfam Magasins du Monde. Thanks to the participation of external guests, such as Rain Morgan (Chair of the WFTO Global Working Group on fair payment), Pieter Swart (WFTO Global Board member) and Eduoardo Cuoco (Director of IFOAM-EU) we could trigger fruitful discussions on key Fair Trade related topics, such as gender, fair payment policy and the new concept of Northern producers within WFTO.
  • Day 3, 9th June, is mainly dedicated to the Annual General Meeting (AGM). As a membership organisation, this is the time where you can really contribute to the future of our network, by expressing your opinion and using your right to vote.

This year, in addition to the normal legal requirements, you will be particularly asked to take part in:

  • Discussion and approval of the next WFTO-Europe Strategic plan 2018-2020
  • Election of 2 new Board members
  • Discussion on WFTO activities and possible resolutions.

As you know, your participation is extremely important to reach the quorum needed to validate the AGM, and even more to achieve decisions that are more participatory and representative of the entire network. Therefore, we do hope we could count on your participation and contribution.

The registration for the Conference and AGM can be done by clicking here!  The Conference package which includes detailed information on registration and logistics can be downloaded here​.

Please note that the deadline for registration is on Monday, the 30th of April 2018, at 12:00 CET. In order to help us out with logistics, we do encourage you to do it as soon as possible and to not miss this opportunity!

Should you have any problems or need additional information, please do not hesitate to get in contact with Francesca Giubilo, coordination[at]wfto-europe.org or Veronika Miklikova at administration[at]wfto-europe.org.

We look forward to meeting you in Brussels!

WFTO-Europe team.

 

Fact-sheet on “Northern producers within WFTO” !

Northern producers factsheetOur network has gone through pivotal changes leading to a broader recognition of Fair Trade Producers. Therefore, WFTO-Europe has recently produced a fact-sheet titled Fact-sheet on Northern Producers Within WFTO to better clarify and sum up this recent evolution.

Main contents come from the resolution approved by the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Delhi in November 2017, where new concepts of northern producers and economically marginalised producers were introduced.

Delhi’s resolution marks a paramount change on how Fair Trade is conceived within WFTO, as until 2017 only organizations based in the Global South or in countries identified as producers’ countries (e.g. Romania and Bosnia-Herzegovina) were considered as Fair Trade Producers. Now, small-scale producers, artisans or farmers from the Global North can join our network if they comply with basic membership requirements AND additional criteria set in Delhi (a detailed description is contained in the fact-sheet).

This fact-sheet wants to be a handy tool allowing members to fully familiarize with these new changes. For this reason, we do encourage you to raise all questions and doubt you might have. All remarks are more than welcome as they will help this fact-sheet to fully meet its purpose.

 

WFTO European members : first advocates for a stronger network

Untitled design(6)European members has always played a key role in the governance of WFTO, by strongly advocating for WFTO to be back to the FTAO governance, ensuring WFTO applies higher criteria for first buyer to be able to use the WFTO first buyer label, pushing forward crucial topics such as the domestic Fair Trade within the network.

Over the past 2 months, 3 new requests were advanced by European members and put on the table of the WFTO Global board for discussion.

2 letters were directly addressed to WFTO Global by the WFTO Europe Board, while the last one was an initiative of one individual member “EZA Fairer Handel”.

After a long internal discussion, in January 2018 WFTO-Europe agreed to draw the attention of WFTO Global Board to the following 2 topics:

  1. Improvement of the Guarantee System (GS) Standard. Taking into account the increase of national legislations dealing with Fair Trade labels, and more specifically the French situation[1], WFTO-Europe Board asked WFTO Global to update the Fair Trade Standard, by including the 2 following criteria:
  • The long-term commitment in the trading relationships of minimum 3 years: Although all our members are already applying these 3 years, this is not specifically set as a requirement in our Standard.
  • Ban on GMOs and highly hazardous pesticides. Though the GS promotes « organic or low pesticide use production methods », there is no list of prohibited hazardous substances and no ban on GMOs.
  1. Translation of the WFTO Product label into different languages. WFTO-Europe Board endorsed the position of WFTO members in France[2] and kindly asked WFTO Global Board to make the WFTO product label much more understandable and readable by the consumers in the market.

Both letters got a positive feedback from WFTO Global Board who officially answered to the European Board by expressing its decision to further discuss these points within the GS Committee and with the support of an external consultant with regard to the translation of the label.

Last request to the WFTO Global Board was sent by EZA Fairer Handel, WFTO Europe member in Austria, who in a very constructive way, clearly stated its concerns regarding the new graphic of the WFTO product label[3]. More specifically the organisation stated that the new brand mainly:

  • Change WFTO main message: As stated in its official email, EZA Fairer Handel affirms that “ The old WFTO product label (with the name of the WFTO member) had a very clear message: The WFTO member organization XY is guaranteed Fair Trade. This was the message and label we – the WFTO members and FAIR TRADE ORGANIZATIONS – wanted to label our products (mainly handcrafted products but not only). The intention was to make a clear distinction between the common FT product labels (such as FLO) and an organizational label that was thought to strengthen our brand and organizational profile as a “guaranteed FT ORGANIZATION”. With the new label this distinction and unique feature is completely lost!
  • Create confusion with other product labels especially the FLO product label: According to EZA:With the new graphic, the WFTO product label becomes very similar to the FLO label…. Both labels – the FLO and the WFTO label – use the same colors, same shape AND same terminology – Fair Trade. The last with a different writing but this is something only insiders will recognize and understand. The new WFTO product label not only looks like a PRODUCT label, its message is confusing for consumers.”

In addition to the above, EZA Fairer Handel complained that the WFTO Board did not discuss the decision regarding the new label with its members during the last AGM and for having heard about this change only at the last moment through the WFTO newsletter when the decision was already taken at WFTO Board level.

The organisation, a big supporter of WFTO from its beginning, decided early last year to finally use the WFTO Product label as integral part of its new handicraft branding. In order to keep doing it and as a final recommendation to WFTO, EZA suggested to use the previous WFTO product label “EZA Fairer Handel guaranteed Fair Trade” or, as stated in the email if harmonization of the label is the main aspect and argument to develop a new product label – propose to create a new label with the claim “guaranteed Fair Trade Organization”. This would be the same label for every member organization but at the same time the message becomes clearer.”

This concern has been taken into serious consideration by the WFTO Global Board, who is now discussing this topic and will get back soon to the organization (and WFTO membership) with a clear clarification and reaction.

Be sure we will keep you posted on the evolution in this topic. The success of our network relies on the transparency and on the key role each of you plays in making WFTO stronger. Therefore we strongly encourage you to take an active role in the organization and not to miss any opportunity, such as the Annual General Meeting and the Conference, to exchange your ideas and raise up your possible concerns, if necessary!

If you want to know more about the aforementioned letters please contact Francesca Giubilo at coordination[at]wfto-europe.org.

Read more about the upcoming WFTO-Europe Biennial Conference and Annual General Meeting here.

[1] the French government has recently taken a step forward in the implementation of the public recognition of the Fair Trade private labels, by asking the labels to apply for the public recognition. Despite the fact that this process is based on a voluntary basis, all the Fair Trade labels existing on the French markets are planning to apply for the public recognition as soon as the recognition system will be effective. Commerce Equitable France, a member of WFTO, sent a letter to WFTO Global in December 2017 concerning the legal framework for Fair Trade in France and the position of WFTO in this new national context.

[2] According to a consumers’ survey commissioned by Commerce Equitable France in partnership with some researchers of the FAIRNESS network, 68% of participants admits that the English word “Fair Trade” is not associated with the French word “commerce equitable” and 94% of the people interviewed think that using the French word could definitely help them identify better Fair Trade products.

[3] WFTO Global decided to slightly modify the WFTO product label, by replacing the mention “Guaranteed Fair Trade organization”, with “Guaranteed Fair Trade”, in order to make it more readable on small packaging.

 

Europe in a nutshell

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

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Next 27 of June will be an important date for local authorities committed to fair and sustainable trade. The first Award Ceremony of the EU Cities for Fair and Ethical Trade Award will take place in Brussels, followed by FTAO’s conference about “Upscaling Fair Trade: from local to EU level”.

The EU Cities for Fair and Ethical Trade Award, whose application deadline was extended until the 20th of April, has landed to his evaluation and assessment phase. As already stressed in the previous issues, this project is an initiative of the European Commission and International Trade Center (ITC). It aims to highlight cities’ engagement and positive impact in the areas of economic and environmental sustainability in international trade, with a particular eye on fair and ethical trade schemes. At present, this award is the only initiative at the EU level recognizing EU cities’ efforts in the area of fair and sustainable trade.

How the winner will be assessed and what is going on on the 27th of June?

After the first screening of all applications received, the Evaluation Committee – a multi-stakeholder group of experts coming from different backgrounds – will go through them and select the most outstanding ones. The final decision will be taken by the Jury on the basis of the Evaluation Committee’ shortlist. The Jury will consist of seven representatives from EU institutions, the private sector, NGO/third sector, as well as a non-voting representative from the Technical Committee.

During the ceremony of the 27th of June, applicant cities on the shortlist will be invited and the winner announced. Despite the result, it would be a great opportunity for participants to network with kindred cities, exchange ideas and good practices. For this purpose, a workshop where finalists present their accomplishments is also planned.

The winner will receive support from the ITC and the European Commission for a city-led sustainable development cooperation project valued at 100.000 EUR. Moreover, the winning city will receive extra media coverage and promotion support.

Alongside the overall Award, several ‘Special Mention’ awards will be assigned on the 27th, such as “Best procurement policy”, “Most innovative”, “Best external cooperation”, “Best small city” if the Award Winner has more than 100,000 inhabitants. Number and topic of the ‘Special mention’ could change during the assessment phase.

What is the FTAO event about?

After the Award ceremony, the Fair trade Advocacy Office organizes a conference titled “Upscaling Fair Trade: from local to EU level”.

The purpose of the conference is to exchange good practices on how local, regional and national authorities are supporting the uptake of Fair Trade practices by local authorities, take stock of what the EU has done so far and discuss what else could the EU do in this area in the next EU term (2019-2024). The draft program of the conference is available here .

 

Latest updates on Trade Fair Live Fair project

Research on Fair Price launched

WFTO-Europe published a call for services to hire a consultant for the research work on Fair Price and Living Wage. The consultant is expected to present the research plan during the WFTO-Europe conference in June 2018 and to submit the report in November 2018 which will focus on the WFTO Fair Payment Process, how it works and what are the first results of its implemenTrade fair live fairtation. The report will be published together with recommendations and infographics. It will also contribute to the other research done on this theme within the Trade Fair Live Fair project.

Fair Trade as best practice

In the context of the Trade Fair Live Fair project, Fair Trade is promoted as a best practice to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To better show the impact of Fair Trade, WFTO-Europe intends to publish a yearly review report showing the achievements of the WFTO-Europe network achievements. WFTO-Europe will stress the importance of the 10 Fair Trade principles and show their links to SDGs. The yearly review report will draw on existing data available in the network as well as new data which will be collected.

Fashion Revolution Week 23-29 April 2018

Fashion Revolution is a global movement calling for greater transparency, sustainability and ethics in the fashion industry. It takes part in the Trade Fair Live Fair project. On the 5th anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse, which killed 1,138 people and injured many more in 2013, Fashion Revolution encourages millions of people to ask brands #whomademyclothes and demand greater transparency in the fashion supply chain. Join the campaign!

 

Good news from Brussels: the European Commission takes action against unfair trading practices in the food supply chain

bananaOn the 12th April 2018 the European Commission (EC) officially launched a legislative process on Unfair Trading Practices in the food supply chain. The proposed Directive is a relevant step in preventing large buyers from misusing their dominant bargaining power to impose unfair trade practices to other small operators.

The proposal aims at empowering small and medium-sized food suppliers, who are often the most vulnerable actors in the value chain. In fact, when dealing with supermarkets, they have little bargain power and are often subject to heavy economic pressure to keep prices at low level.

The designed legislation prohibits certain unfair trade practices such as late payments and cancelling of orders of perishable food products at short notice. Moreover, it requires Member State to nominate a public authority to monitor that this ban will be respected.

As can be read in EC’s fact-sheet, “the proposal applies to anyone involved in the food supply chain, be it a retailer, a food processor, a wholesaler, a cooperative or producers’ organisation, or a single producer who would be engaging in any of the unfair trade practices identified”.

What is also relevant about this Directive is that also NON-EU producers can anonymously complain whether they are suffering from unfair trade practices.

WFTO-Europe congratulates FTAO (Fair Trade Advocacy Office) for its work as this has been the successful outcome of more than 4 years of advocacy on this topic.

What is next now? In the upcoming months the proposal will be discussed and amended by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers.

FTAO with Oxfam, IFOAM-EU and FOE Europe welcomed Commission’s initiative and ask the European Parliament and the Council to strengthen it. Even though we are moving in the good direction, nothing to tackle transnational unfair trade practices is foreseen. Furthermore, national authorities should be empowered and concrete criteria to determine “effective, proportionate and dissuasive” fines must be set up.

More about FTAO, Oxfam, IFOAM-EU and FOE Europe joint reaction can be found on FTAO press release page, as well as the joint press release titled Unfair Trading Practices: New Proposal Is A Step Forward But Promoting Fairness In The Whole Chain Remains A Challenge issued by a coalition composed by AIM, CEJA, Copa and Cogeca, EFFAT, FTAO, FoodDrinksEurope, and UAPME.

 

WFTO around the World

Looking back at the IWD and forward to the WFTDay!

iwd

In the occasion of the International Women‘s Day, 8th of March 2018, WFTO-Europe teamed up with six of its members – SeeMe, Mifuko, Dece Clothing, Esgii, Dassie Artisan and Traidcraft Exchange – featuring their work, stories and testimonials of their women artisans in a booklet called “Women & Fair Trade” (access here).

World Fair Trade Organization engaged with other members (not only European), giving them the chance for their voices to be heard too.

Preliminary results of WFTO’s ongoing study on gender equality in Fair Trade provides a glimpse of women’s leadership in Fair Trade Organisation. Fair Trade is leading the way to gender equality and women’s empowerment through encouraging women to take up decision-making and leadership positions in their organisations. WFTO members are showing a vision of a future where women’s leadership is a reality.

iwd3

World Fair Trade Day – 12th May 2018

For this year’s celebration of World Fair Trade Day, WFTO adopted the theme “Live fair, one Fair Trade product at a time”, as a reaction to the ongoing trend of growing number of consumers who are willing to pay for a product that helps people and the environment.

At WFTO-Europe, we are preparing something special! For now, please be sure to stay tuned and tIFTDo join our action.  Have a look at the WFTO materials prepared for you and be creative! We do encourage you to promote this special day as much as possible, mainly on your social media, by making posts, sharing photos and using the hashtags #LiveFair and #FairTradeDay !

 

Slow Fashion Fair by Oxfam Belgium – May 5, 2018 in Brussels

by Patrick Veillard

oxfam day

Tired of all those fast fashion clothes that pollute and exploit? Then come to Oxfam’s Slow Fashion Fair next May 5th in Brussels (Tour&Taxis)!

Organized in the framework of Oxfam’s campaign “Une autre mode est possible”, this festive and informative event has the ambition to show that another fashion is possible, more respectful of social rights and of the environment.

Throughout the day, the public will be able to enjoy various activities: a slow fashion market with many Belgian exhibitors ; “Do It Yourself” workshops to (re)discover sewing, knitting, weaving, repairing, etc. ; various debates with Fair Trade partners on regulation of textile supply chains, inequalities at work and alternative textile businesses ; a theater play denouncing overconsumption and fast fashion, etc.

An upcycling fashion show, organized by the associations Defil’Eco and ‘Assistance à l’enfance’, will close the day. All info on www.oxfam.be/oxfamday/.

 

ACP-EU relations in the Post-Cotonou: what role for civil society and fair trade in upcoming negotiations

By Vanessa Comand (WFTO-Europe intern)

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The Cotonou Partnership Agreement, a legally binding treaty between the 28 EU Member States and 78 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP), will expire on 29 February 2020 and negotiations on its renewal are expected to begin officially by the 1 September 2018.

Negotiation is not a trivial issue: the Cotonou Agreement represents the broadest EU partnership with developing countries and future outcomes of negotiation will directly affect one in five people in the world[1].

The Cotonou treaty is composed by three main pillars – trade, development cooperation and political dialogue – where several crucial topics shaping ACP-EU relations are addressed. As regards trade cooperation, the treaty prescribed the negotiation of the Economic partnership agreements (EPAs), free trade agreements compatible with World Trade Organisation’s rules[2]. These arrangements, meant to be signed between EU and ACP gathered into 7 regions, want to achieve a gradual liberalization of ACP markets through opening up to EU imports in 15 up to 25 years (for exceptional cases), while EU markets are immediately and fully opened to ACP products.[3] At present, only 28 ACP countries are implementing an EPA[4]. These partnership agreements have been often criticized for promoting only EU interests instead of ACP’s ones.

In December 2017, the European Commission (EC) published its Recommendation for the Council decision on the negotiation mandate. In there, EC proposes one single agreement, articulated into a common binding foundation with the ACP countries and three comprehensive regional compacts (one for Africa, one for Caribbean and one for Pacific). The new structure intend to be more tailored to different regional characteristics and the common foundation should focus on common principles and comprehensive objectives. Moreover, the recommendation foresees a wider cooperation with North African countries.

On 20 March 2018 the Parliament’s Committee on Development hosted a public hearing to discuss European Commission’s recommendation. I had the opportunity to be present on behalf of WFTO-Europe. Main topics were the state of play of preparation of the Post-Cotonou negotiations and how to develop a real multi actor partnership.

Karine Sohet, Senior Policy Officer at ACT Alliance EU and Chair of the CONCORD (Confederation of European Development NGOs) working group on ACP-EU relations, presented CONCORD’s recommendation on how negotiations should be conducted to successfully include Civil Society Organisation (CSOs).

Despite that civil society is specifically enshrined as an actor in Cotonou Partnership Agreement and many provisions about CSOs’ inclusion in political dialogue are present, these have not been translated into reality. In fact, according to Mme Sohet, no effective and structured mechanisms have been set-up to secure CS participation at all levels of EU-ACP relations and this is particularly true for CSOs from ACP countries.

Karine Sohet interviewOn Thursday the 12th of April 2018 I had the opportunity to meet and ask her few questions to better explore what role civil society could play in the negotiation and if fair trade has been targeted as a possible tool to implement SDGs.

How do you think that CSOs as well as producer’s representative organizations from ACP countries could be included in the negotiations?

CONCORD wants all civil societies to be enabled to concretely participate in negotiations. We have seen so far that some African governments or EU Delegations tend to organize formal meetings with CSOs only once decisions have already been taken or when this is required by the EU. In many cases, no real dialogue was undertaken and civil society was left aside.

The participation of civil society as an actor of the partnership should be established in the common foundation through a specific article. Explicit reference to accountability, monitoring and review mechanisms must also be included. In particular, accountability mechanism should foresee formal spaces where citizens can complain if a project undermines human rights.

CSOs involvement can be achieved by putting in place more transparent systems where all information are easily understandable and available to all stakeholders. Transparency can foster accountability at all levels, not only financially.

Moreover, people directly affected by an ACP-EU project should be involved even before the implementation of the project starts, as it might be too late to correct negative outcomes. What we ask is that local population must be consulted even during the impact assessment phase.

More generally, we think that whenever CSOs have an added value to the discussion – not only when directly impacted – , they must participate to it. For example, this should happen for issues such as respect of human rights, workers’ rights, gender equality, social protection in the framework of development cooperation or trade negotiations and all actors should be involved including trade unions, women’s and youth organisations or small trading organizations, such as the ones belonging to fair trade movement.

What place should be given to trade and private sector in the new agreement?

The CONCORD working group on Cotonou agreement addresses different issues concerning civil society involvement and we do not focus on private sector and trade so much. However, we have sorted a document about our position on this two topics[5].

As regards trade, we found that the principles mentioned in the Art. 34-35 of the Cotonou Agreement are overall good and we want the future agreement to stress them again. According to these principles, trade should integrate ACP States into the world economy while promoting sustainable development and contributing to poverty eradication; it should give due regard to political choices and development priorities of the ACP countries, building on regional integration initiatives of ACP states, taking into account different needs and levels of development.

At this early stage of the negotiation process, we do not known yet where and how the two parts (EU and ACP) intend respectively to address the trade issue. However, all these principles should be reflected in the common binding foundation and no ACP country should be forced through the future agreement to conclude or deepen free trade agreements with the EU.

Concerning private sector, we recognize that it plays a key role in economic development of ACP countries. For this reason, public financial support to EU and ACP private enterprises should be granted only if principles such as transparency, accountability and regular assessment of impacts are respected.

Our vision is that private companies should be supported only if this contributes in the fight against poverty, injustice, inequalities and promoting decent work, dignity and sustainable development. Moreover the support should focus on local and small scale entrepreneurs in ACP countries which encompass different types of actors including cooperatives and small scale farmers.

Fair Trade core principles go definitely in this direction. Are some talks around Fair Trade already ongoing or not Which role do you think that it could play within this agreement?

We certainly recognize the positive impact of Fair Trade and what we want is trade to be fair. However, our vision of fair trade is a broad one that should apply to all trade agreements. In our position papers on the future EU-ACP agreement we do not refer to any Fair-Trade scheme in particular and we do not go into a detailed prescription of requirements to meet; what we call for is respecting ACP countries policy space and interests and implementing the transversal principles mentioned above (such as gender equality, respect of human rights, no discrimination) in trading relations or when negotiating trade agreements. The EU should not use the future agreement to impose its trade and investment agenda on its ACP partners.

At this stage of negotiations, it is important for CONCORD to quickly react on main and more general topics addressed in EC proposal (released in December). We will go into further details when assessing the EU strategic priorities at a later stage; I don’t exclude that Fair Trade could be taken into account among possible solutions and I am expecting that Fair Trade organisations will advocate for it.

What we could ask is that, for instance, the EU sets some criteria that private companies should meet, so that enterprises with bad environmental or social performances won’t be supported with EU public resources. And why not, this criteria could be also Fair Trade ones.

[1] European Parliament train schedule, Towards Post-Cotonou, www.europarl.europa.eu

[2] Before EPAs, economic non-reciprocal preferential treatment was granted to ACP countries under the Lomè Conventions. This means that ACP countries could export almost all of their products to the EU market without having to pay customs duties, and without having to open up their own markets in return. The preferential regime was convinced by WTO as it was said to undermine equal concurrence from countries not participating the ACP-EU agreement. However, an exception is made with least developed countries and the preferences regime is still applied towards them.

[3]What are the Economic Partnership Agreements? , trade.ec.europa.eu

[4] State of play of Economic Partnership Agreements in here

[5] CONCORD’s position on trade and private sector is available here.

 

The WFTO Guarantee System

Update on WFTO-Europe membership and GS status

wfto_label_dropshadow_small-188x300

Dear members,

At present our network counts 94 members in total, among which 68 have gone through our Guarantee System. At the regional level we are currently processing 3 new membership requests.

This quarter, we are pleased to welcome two new provisional members: Tropical Mountains and Dardenne and we congratulate on En Gry og Sif for having become our new Guaranteed Member!

News from the Regions

Lately WFTO-Asia Deputy Director Patwira had the pleasure to participate to the Asia Pacific Peoples’ Forum on Sustainable Development 2018 and the Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development 2018. A great opportunity to present Fair Trade as a tool to implement SDGs!

Again from WFTO-Asia : Armenia’s first Guaranteed Fair Trade member opened its first Fair Trade retail shop on 11 April 2018. Congratulations to the Homeland Development Initiative Foundation (HDIF) for pioneering Fair Trade in Armenia. The opening coincides with the 5th anniversary of HDIF.

WTO-Europe staff attended the following conferences :

  • Monday 12th March 2018 , Trends in organic agriculture and sustainability standards in low income countries: outlook and development challenge – DEVCO InfoPoint Conferences – DG Cooperation Internationale et developpement
  • Tuesday 20TH March 2018, Negotiating change: the future of ACP-EU relations, Public Hearing – Committee on Development of the European Parliament (here the agenda)
  • Wednesday 18th of April 2018, InfoPoint Lunchtime conference: Global Report on Food Crises 2018 – by External Cooperation Infopoint – European Commission (here the link)

We took also part to the following webinars:

  • 22th January, Webinar on Retailer Standard
  • 15th March, Fair Payment, hosted by Rain Morgan (WFTO Global)
  • 16th April, Fair Trade Advocacy Network Call – advocacy plans at EU level (2018-2024)

News from the Board

Please log in here if you want to access all the Board Meetings held by WFTO-Europe. The last one took place on the 19th of December.

 

Member in the Spotlight: 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.

 

 

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