In this Issue:
Rencontre Internationale de l’Education au Commerce Equitable, Paris, France
Ambiente (WFTO will be hosting a stall at the event), Frankfurt, Germany
International Women’s Day, Worldwide
Deadline: EU Cities Fair and Ethical Trade Award, European Union
World Fair Trade Day, Worldwide
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
Wishing you a Happy New Year alongside our first Newsletter of 2018!
We are happy to announce you that the next WFTO-Europe Biennial Conference will take place from the 7th to the 9th of June in Brussels.
During the first face-to-face Board meeting held last week in Brussels, Board members confirmed their willingness to organise for the first time the Biennial Conference in conjunction with an international event. The main purpose of this choice is to make our meeting much more interesting for you, by giving you the opportunity to meet other actors at European level and to network.
Towards this aim, we have identified the European Development Days (EDD), which will take place on the 5th and 6th of June in Brussels, as a good occasion. EDD usually gathers around 40,000 participants from all over the world, including private sector actors, CSOs and European institutions representatives. In the past 3 years, WFTO-Europe, together with Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO), WFTO and Fairtrade international has organised two workshop sessions and held a stand in order to give visibility to the Fair Trade movement. Despite the uncertainty around the Fair Trade actors’ activities for this yearly edition, we do still believe that this is an interesting opportunity for you to get closer to the European community while deepening your understanding of some development issues.
Moreover, EDD will be also a good occasion to give more visibility to our Biennial Conference and to let other key Fair trade actors join our meeting in Brussels. In the framework of the Trade Fair Live Fair project and with the valuable support of Fair Trade Advocacy Office, we will organise a public event and two workshop sessions, which will be open to Fair Trade project partners.
Programme and Fees
As usual the Biennial conference will start on Thursday, the 7th of June in the morning and last until Saturday the 9th of June. The last afternoon session will be dedicated to the Annual General Meeting (for members only).
Apart from the specific relevant sessions linked to the project, our Conference will be also focused as usual on our own strategical and internal topics, including our next Biannual Strategic Plan, Retailer Standards, WFTO Global issues, migration, advocacy, etc.
Thanks to the EDD conjunction, Brussels’ easy connection to other main European airports, as well as to the available cheap accommodation options, we do hope to see many of you around.
Hence, please pencil these dates into your diary and stay tuned! In the next weeks, you will receive more information regarding the specific venue, draft programme and fees (which for the first time will not include accommodation).
Looking forward to welcoming you here in Brussels,
On October 20th 2017, WFTO-Europe hosted a webinar titled Worldshops in Europe: what is the trend? focusing on the European environment for worldshops both across the continent and within specific countries. Participants represented worldshops and Fair Trade networks from Italy, Spain, the UK, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands. Each participant shared their experiences and hardships in regards to their country, the common themes being competition between worldshops and large chain retailers as well as with online shops, poor public awareness of Fair Trade and WFTO in particular, and outdated products and business practices. There was then an opportunity to suss out synergies between countries as well as next steps.
From this webinar, one next step formulated was to organize a workshop on the Retailers Standard together with all the regions of WFTO in Delhi during the Biennial Conference as well as to host a further webinar specifically on the topic of the Retailer Standard. This took place January 22nd, the first webinar of the New Year. First, WFTO-Europe’s Regional Coordinator, Francesca Giubilo, presented the Standard generally, as it was approved in 2013, then representatives from Equo Garantito and Weltladen-Dachverband, who each currently utilise the Retailer Standard, gave their experiences with the tool. Both had unique perspectives from one another and gave participants a strong understanding of how different implementations can play out. For more detailed information regarding the webinars, please see here.
Based also on the above information, the Committee on Worldshops and Retailers is currently undergoing a revitalisation. Gabriella D’Amico, alongside Stefan Nijsen who has recently joined her as chair of the committee, held a long meeting last week with Board representatives aimed at identifying the way forward for the committee. Everyone agreed on the need to update the Terms of Reference for the committee and to relaunch it. As part of this project, they have drafted a detailed action plan for the next 4 months allowing them to present the new ToR and relaunch the committee at the Biennial Conference in June 2018.
For more detailed information regarding the webinars , please see visit the internal section of our website, where all PPT presentations and minutes are available. The recorded videos of both the aforementioned webinars are available under request. For those interested, please send an email to communication[at]wfto-europe.org.here.
Migration has become a hot topic in the minds of European citizens. Daily, the distress of migrants within the European Union are brought up in media, as well as the tensions around managing their insertion into European societies. However, there is less attention on the real root causes of migration, and what can be done in order to avoid forced and unwanted migration. Here at World Fair Trade Organization-Europe (WFTO-Europe), as a key player within the international Fair Trade movement, we find this issue closely tied with our development goals and core values- such as solidarity, openness, poverty reduction – and as such this issue is important to us as well. In fact, in a survey completed amongst our network, 100% of participants believed there is a strong link between Fair Trade and migration.
Fair Trade works as an effective tool in creating opportunities which allow people to live with dignity within their homeland, rather than being forced out in search of economic and social opportunities. This is because it betters the economic and social conditions of the area, and allows young people to obtain opportunities in which they can see a future for themselves and work towards it without leaving their families and homes to search for this elsewhere. Moreover, a key part of the Fair Trade movement is a focus on human rights and solidarity, and the universal application of the principles, which means better conditions for marginalised people all over the world, both in the Global South and in the North.
Given the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO)’s value that trade must benefit the most vulnerable and deliver sustainable livelihoods by developing opportunities for disadvantaged producers, Given World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO)’s value that trade must benefit the most vulnerable and deliver sustainable livelihoods by developing opportunities for disadvantaged producers, we also believe we have a social responsibility as a progressive movement in Europe to manage the migrants arriving every day in Europe by finding innovative yet practical ways to aid them in their integration including providing safe and decent work.. In fact, we have already undertaken some actions addressing this issue in a number of ways.
As part of the 14th Biennial WFTO Conference in Delhi this December, there was a workshop entitled Including Refugees in Fair Trade in which we discussed ways that Fair Trade can get involved in migration. This served as an introduction for MADE51: an initiative WFTO has partnered with in collaboration with the UNHCR. MADE51 which aims to connect refugee artisans with in-demand international markets. It does this by commercially developing traditional skills, building the artisans’ business acumen, and connecting them with international brands and buyers. As WFTO-Europe, in order to increase our understanding, we conducted extensive secondary research as well as a survey among our members in order to learn how migration has impacted them, and how they have reacted to this impact. For example, some have implemented activities targeting migrants, such as hiring and training programs, donating towards organisations which work with migrants, and specifically creating job opportunities in areas where people may be at risk of unwanted migration[P1] . To read more on this, please see our previous newsletters.
As a progressive movement, we do not wish for migrant people and their situation to be seen as an issue with which to spread values of self-withdrawal, insularity, and fear of those other than oneself, rather one of solidarity, communication, and cooperation between peoples. As part of this, WFTO-Europe would like to deepen our understanding of the reasons behind why migrants leave their homeland and to further promote Fair Trade actions which can prevent unwanted economic migration. We hope that with this statement and actions within we can continue to move forward working to ease the issue of migration as the topics of Fair Trade and migration are inherently tied.
Europe in a nutshell
WFTO-Europe started the « Trade Fair Live Fair » (TFLF) project near the end of 2017. The TFLF project is funded by the European Commission for 3 years and is aiming at increasing awareness on sustainable consumption and production, in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The European Fair Trade movement together with the Ethical Fashion movement
This project brings together most of the European Fair Trade movement, including its two biggest families: Fairtrade International and World Fair Trade Organization, as well as partners such as the Fair Trade Advocacy Office, the Fairtrade Foundation, Commerce Equitable France and their affiliates organizations Equo Guarantito, Weltladen-Dachverband, Forum Fairer Handel, Commercio Justo and many more. The project also includes Fashion Revolution, the Fair Trade Town campaign and other civil society partners. In total, 31 organizations will take part in the project. WFTO-Europe will play a key role in coordinating the input of the WFTO affiliate organizations.
Sustainable Development Goals
The relevance of Fair Trade in order to achieve the SDGs is clear- many SDGs match the 10 Fair Trade Principles. The ambition of this project is to address the topics of Responsible Consumption and Production (SDG12) as the transversal focus of the project, as well as specific attention to Climate Action (SDG13), Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG8) and Gender Equality (SDG5).
Research, campaign, advocacy and capacity building
The TFLF project will allow WFTO-Europe to complete research on the issue of Living Wage. Publications and policy recommendations will be published and shared with the network. Key moments such as World Fair Trade Day and the WFTO-Europe Biennial Conference will allow the presentation and dissemination of the project work. Advocacy efforts will concentrate mostly on the 2019 European elections and capacity-building activities will benefit from the pre-existing FairShare platform.
If your organization is interested in participating in this project, please contact Sebastien Leclef at projects[at]wfto-europe.org.
The deadline for cities to apply for the EU Cities for Fair and Ethical Trade Award has now been officially set for the 13th of April. The initiative is part of the European Commission’s commitment to “Trade for All” trade and investment policy. Cities are selected based on four primary criteria: leadership & vision, impact, initiatives undertaken, and engagement. Applications are open now and can be done via an online portal. The ceremony for the overall Award, alongside a range of ‘Special Mention’ awards for other recognised performers/runners-up in approximately 2-3 categories will take place on the 27th of June 2018 in Brussels.
We are happy to see our partners and members being active in the Fair Trade community and to support the various initiatives they found. Below we have featured two initiatives from Oxfam Magasins du Monde and Gebana.
The Fair Trade Young Ambassadors Program started in the Spring of 2015 when the Lycée Technique Bel-Orme de Bordeaux took the initiative to partner with two other schools, one from Belgium and another from Portugal, on an Erasmus+ project on the topic of Fair Trade. The aim for the three-year program was to educate the students on Fair Trade and to get them actively involved in its promotion. This was done with the aid of Fair Trade NGOs local to the schools’ areas: Artisans du Monde, Centro de Intervenção para o Desenvolvimento Amílcar Cabral (CIDAC), as well as Oxfam Magasins du Monde. The program involved many different activities both nationally and within the EU with the aim to not just discover Fair Trade and its products, organisations, and impacts, but also to deeply understand the topic and to spread this information. This included the creation of a variety of educational tools for everyone from youths to business people. The program culminated in a trip to Peru for a small group of students who were able to experience and view Fair Trade cooperatives with their own eyes in order to give life to their understanding.
Currently, our member Gebana is working to raise money to save their subsidiary company in Burkina Faso. Here, they process and export their Fair Trade and organic mangos and cashews, as well as support 457 employees and 3,250 farming families by giving them long-term security, fair prices, and trainings. This is especially important for the area, as the country was ranked by the UN’s Human Development Index at 185 out of 188 due to factors such as life expectancy, income, and education. However, Gebana Afrique suffered a huge loss last year due to the rise in cost or cashews, a poor mago harvest, and an increase in costs due to hiring a professional management team. The company aims to rehabilitate itself by partnering with Pakka who specialises in sustainable value chains for nuts and will be supporting Gebana Afrique with their expertise and funds. However, further money is needed, and as such the company is searching for further investors. Their promise is that if consumers invest now, purchasing cashews and mangos which will be received in 5 years time, that these investors will also receive a portion of the profits. However, if the project fails, then there will be neither products nor profits to hand out at the end of 5 years, making it both a shared boon and shared risk. They have already reached their minimum target of 500,000 CHF, however any additional money will now be used to lessen the company’s reliance on bank loans and thus saving in interest costs.
WFTO around the World
This November, WFTO held its Biennial Conference in New Delhi, India. This conference was bigger than it has ever been, with more than 300 participants from 60 different countries. The theme of the conference was ‘Fair Trade- a path to sustainable development’ and more than 25 topics within this theme were presented, including the improved WFTO Guarantee System.
From this conference, several resolutions went forth. The key resolutions affecting our European members were on the topics of Northern Producers, the Fair Payment Policy, and the New Governance Structure. To read into more detail on these, please see the EGM minutes.
Though some were wary of welcoming Northern Producers (NPs) into our network, finally the resolution was passed. Main arguments in support of this resolution were the current global economy, the increase level of poverty in the North and the need to universalise the concept of Fair Trade, moving away from referring to two separate geographical dimensions: the North and the South. In addition, the point was brought up that Northern retailers are already free to purchase from NPs, therefore allowing Northern Producers to join WFTO would only improve their monitoring, especially since both Fair Trade producers and retailers in both the North and South already frequently trade locally. Though WFTO will continue to concentrate primarily on Southern Producers, it would truly be counterproductive to ignore the development currently occurring in the North. In order to facilitate this addition of NPs into the network, the term ‘Northern Producers’ will no longer be used, rather WFTO will discuss ‘Global Producers’ as a whole, lessening the focus on North versus South and creating equality between the regions. This is because the economical spread of marginalised peoples does not follow directly the North/South divide, as mentioned above, and as such it no longer makes sense to discuss producers in this way. However, WFTO has also considered the different situation of marginalized people in the North and in the South and then agreed to add additional requirement for NPs to be considered Fair Trade.
The new Fair Payment Policy has now been officially unveiled! This was developed by the WFTO working group on Fair Prices Fair Wages in conjunction with member organisations as well as consultants over the past three years. The aim was to form a policy for WFTO that would reflect its values on Fair Prices, Fair Wages and Living Wages and – perhaps most importantly – work out the process: the way to make the policy work. Fair Payment is made up of Fair Prices, Fair Wages and Local Living Wages. A fair payment is one that has been mutually negotiated and agreed by all through on-going dialogue and participation, which provides fair pay to the producers and can also be sustained by the market, taking into account the principle of equal pay for equal work by women and men. The aim is always the payment of a Local Living Wage. This policy has been developed with all the worries, mainly linked to the complexity of the calculation for the living wage, in mind and WFTO is certain that it is feasible for everyone.
Finally, the New Governance Structure was presented and approved at the AGM as well, after two years of drafting and many consultations. Pieter Swart, WFTO Board member, stated, “The main aim of the renewal of the Governance Structure is to, based on our shared beliefs, further develop our decision making process in an effective and accountable way so that it can leverage all the potential within our organisation.” The aim is to create better consistency across regions. The structure of WFTO will not change overnight but rather take around 2 years to be put in place. More on the implementation of the aforementioned resolutions and on the others will come out from the next WFTO Global Board meeting in February 2018.
Each year on the second Saturday of May, World Fair Trade Day is an opportunity to share information and to spread the presence of Fair Trade internationally. It is important for as many organisations to participate as possible, as this amplifies our impact and allows us to not only reach more of the public but also to deepen the influence. WFTO, alongside many of our members as well as external organisations, organises events and campaigns as part of a global festival celebrating Fair Trade. For further information on what you can do in honor of this day, as well as information on previous campaigns by WFTO, please see here. This year, WFTDay will occur on the 12th and its celebration will be linked to the promotion of Fair trade as a tool to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Another important day within the WFTO network is International Women’s Day, which occurs on the 8th of March. This is a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Within the context of Fair Trade, it is a day to recognise the challenges women still face internationally and to help refocus the movement in order to help empower those who are disadvantaged within global supply chains and to increase gender equity- #6 of the 10 Fair Trade Principles.
More information on both these events will come in the next weeks. Be sure to watch out for how you can get involved and help spread our message!
WFTO is proud to announce that it will be participating one of the largest trade fairs in the world: Ambiente. The fair attracts 140,000 visitors from all over the world and will occur in Frankfurt February 9-13th. WFTO will be hosting a both alongside 34 of its members, where they will be exhibiting fresh and new product lines. From the network, a diverse range of products in innovative designs will be exhibited. Download the product brochure and use the booth locator to find WFTO members at Ambiente. From within WFTO-Europe, there will be several participatory members. At the event, the WFTO stall in the foyer of hall 10 level 1 can also be used as an information point to help guide towards participating members and to inform the public on the Fair Trade movement. It will also be exhibiting Made51, a collaborative project with UNHCR in support of refugee artisans.
The WFTO Guarantee System
We are proud to announce that as of right now we have 70 organisations who have passed through the WFTO Guaranteed System, and 95 members total. At the regional level we are currently processing 2 new membership requests.
This quarter, we are happy to welcome our new provisional members: Les Mouettes Vertes, Scottish Fair Trade Forum, and Zimba-Arts. In addition, these members are newly Guaranteed: Traidcraft Plc, IDEAS, Fair Trade Scotland, Tampereen Kehitysmaakauppa, Fair Seeds, Sarana, and Mifuko. Unfortunately, we’re sorry to see La Maison Afrique and Stitchting Vhufuli Art terminate their memberships. However, we are currently fielding quite a few inquiries so keep an eye out for new announcements!
WFTO-Asia is busy with events this quarter! Recently, they have set the dates for their Asia Fair Trade Summit and Biennial Conference in Nepal: the 22nd-25th of November. This will be ran in conjunction with Fair Trade Group Nepal. In addition, in December the region hosted the WFTO Asia Workshop in Malaysia. The event was a success in engaging with trading organisations wishing to develop their sustainable and ethical agenda.
On Friday January 19th, WFTO Guarantee System Manager and Acting Chief Executive Tamara Cobussen joined WFTO-Europe’s Regional Coordinator, Francesca Giubilo, at the Brussels office. Together with Fabienne Yver from FTAO, they met with representatives from the European Commission in Development and Cooperation in order to present WFTO and its Guarantee System.
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.
S.C. NetWorks Trading Srl, is a new Provisional Member of WFTO and one of the two WFTO producers in Europe and is now working hard towards becoming a Guaranteed Member.
NetWorks Trading is the wholly owned trading company of the Non-Profit Organisation NetWorks based in Siria in the County of Arad in North West Romania and was established specifically as part of a holistic community development program developed over many years, helping the poor, many of whom are Roma.
They emphasise the importance of taking the time to build relationships, out of which they work to empower and encourage families living in poverty to help themselves. This means intentionally spending time in a community, getting to know the people and how they live, talking to them about their lives and the problems they face, listening, and only then seeing how, or if, they can engage. They have developed a stepped program (including crisis help, education, and a range of self-help programmes) which has now been accredited as a social service.
DECE (pronounced “DE-TCHE” meaning “WHY” in Romanian) is the Registered Trademark of their fastest growing microenterprise which is designed as an integrated and essential part of this holistic program, to help people escape from generational cycles of poverty.
The first DECE product was a simple crochet hat. Crocheting needs little equipment and enabled our employees to work from home which meant that they could build their work schedule around caring for their family. In 2013 DECE began to produce simple leather products that created work opportunities for men in the community and has become a significant part of the DECE story.
Since then DECE has had a growing team of skilled artisans, working both from home and in their production hubs selling into markets in Sweden, Norway, France, the U.K., the U.S.A. and most recently New Zealand.
They are producing high quality clothing accessories including hand crocheted and knitted beanies and scarves, organic cotton beanies and leather goods including wallets, handbags, messenger bags and briefcases.
The vision is not just for people to survive but to thrive. Where people find dignity and self-esteem, confidence and security, where through their own work people are able to provide more than just food, but a home and a future for their children.
For more information or to visit their web store go to www.dececlothing.com.
General news on Fair Trade:
- Four Steps Towards a More Sustainable Global Economy from UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs
- Moving Beyond “Root Causes:” The Complicated Relationship between Development and Migration from Migration Policy Institute
- Businesses still not meaningfully engaging with SDGs from Edie
- Gender and the informal economy: Key challenges and policy response from International Labour Office
- Workers held captive in Indian mills supplying Hugo Boss from The Guardian
About/From the Network:
- La Plate-Forme pour le Commerce Équitable évolue et devient Commerce Équitable France from Commerce Équitable France