EU Conference: 'From local to EU level: Scaling up Fair Trade in Europe'

 27 June (16:30-18:00) - 28 June (9:00-16:00)

European Committee of the Regions (Brussels, Van Maerlant Building)


Back-to-back to the first EU Cities for Fair and Ethical Trade Award Ceremony on 27 June, the Fair Trade Advocacy Office is organising the EU conference;´From local to EU level: Scaling up Fair Trade in Europe´. 

Hosted by the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), the conference wants to seize the Award Ceremony as an opportunity to facilitate an exchange among EU local authorities on how they are supporting Fair Trade and how the EU could support the upscale of their local Fair Trade projects. The discussions will feed a list of policy recommendations that the Fair Trade Advocacy Office will present to the upcoming European Commission in order to further support local authorities’ work on Fair Trade. These recommendations will be also summarised in a publication which will be released by the end of 2018.


27 June 2018

16.30 – 16.40    Welcome speech

Helmut Scholz, Member of the European Parliament (MEP) and the European Parliament Fair Trade Working Group (EP FTWG)

16.40 – 17.40    High-level panel with mayors from EU cities committed to Fair Trade: Unlocking the potential of local authorities to promote Fair Trade 

Moderator: Elen Jones, Policy Adviser - Globally Responsible Wales Office of the Future Generations Commissioner

17.40 – 17.50    Concluding remarks by MEP McAvan, Chair of the EP FTWG

17.50 – 18.00    Joint photo opportunity for mayors and MEPs committed to Fair Trade

18:00 – 18:15    Fair Trade cocktail 

28 June 2018

9.00 – 9.20        Welcome coffee

9.20 – 9.25        Opening by Ms. Micaela Fanelli, Member of the European Committee of the Regions and of the jury of the EU Cities for Fair and Ethical Trade Award

9.25 – 9.40        Preliminary findings of the research “Scaling up Fair Trade in Europe: barriers and opportunities for local authorities”, Alice Sinigaglia, Consultant for the Fair Trade Advocacy Office

9.40 – 11.30      Looking forward: how can the next EU Commission further support local authorities’ work on Fair Trade? (first part) 

Participants join one of the two conference’s workshops below. During the workshops, participants will contribute to develop specific recommendations to the EU on what could be done to further support local authorities’ work on Fair Trade. 

  • Workshop 1a: Public procurement and Fair Trade

The workshop aims to discuss the legal and other obstacles or questions that contracting authorities that want to buy Fair Trade products face in Europe. 

Moderator: Sergi Corbalán, Executive Director - Fair Trade Advocacy Office

Rapporteur: MEP Judith Sargentini 

  • Workshop 1b: National and EU awards for local authorities promoting Fair Trade

The workshop aims to discuss about the current national and EU awards aiming at rewarding local authorities promoting Fair Trade and the possible synergies among them. 

Moderator: Lothar Boeykens, Coordinator - Fair Trade Towns Campaign Flanders, Belgium

 Rapporteur: MEP Helmut Scholz 

11.30 – 11.45    Coffee break

11.45 – 13.00    Looking forward: how can the next EU Commission further support local authorities’ work on Fair Trade? (second part)

  • Workshop 2a: Fair Textile Public Procurement

The workshop aims to feature some good practice on fair textiles public procurement from local authorities and networks in Europe. It also aims to discuss about the obstacles that contracting authorities and the private sector face, as well as what the EU could do to facilitate a better matching of supply and demand in this area.

Moderator: Peter Möhringer, Project Coordinator, Fair Trade Advocacy Office

 Rapporteur: MEP Lola Sánchez 

  • Workshop 2b: Capacity building and funding opportunities to support the uptake and the upscale of local Fair Trade initiatives

The workshop aims to identify the current capacity building needs of local authorities that aim to promote Fair Trade and the funding opportunities that are currently available to help them implement and upscale local Fair Trade initiatives. 

Moderator: Lisa Hermann, Head of Campaigning, Fairtrade Germany

Rapporteur: MEP Arne Lietz 

13:00 – 14:00    Networking lunch

14.00 – 14.30    Workshops wrap-up session 

In plenary, the rapporteurs of the workshops will summarise the main recommendations raised by the participants of the conference. Conclusions will be summarised in a publication which will be released by the end of 2018.

14.30 – 15:00    Q&A & debate 

In plenary, participants will have the opportunity to react to the main recommendations presented by the rapporteurs.

15.00 – 15.30   'Trade Fair Live Fair' : Presentation of future small grants opportunity for small cross-border actions by local authorities and Civil Society Organisations promoting Fair Trade by Sergi Corbalán, Executive Director of the Fair Trade Advocacy Office 

15.30 – 15:45    “Trade Fair Live Fair” future small grants opportunity: Q&A 

Participants will have the opportunity to ask more details on the small grant opportunity grant and how to take part in the initiative. 

15.45- 16.00   Concluding remarks by Wangeci Gitata, Resource Mobilisation & Partnerships Manager, Fairtrade Africa, and Felicitas Schuldes, Fair Trade and Public Procurement Officer, Engagement Global  

In order to register to the conference and the workshops, please click the link here by 18 June 2018. For any questions, please email



The World Fair Trade Organization Announces New Chief Executive

The Board of Directors of the World Fair Trade Organization has announced the appointment of Erinch Sahan as Chief Executive effective 1 April 2018.

Erinch Sahan is the founder and head of the Future Business Initiative at Oxfam International. He led Oxfam's work on promoting fairer models of business and a range of campaigning and advocacy teams. He has a bachelor’s degrees in Finance and International Business and in Law, and a Master’s Degree in International Law and International Relations.

Erinch Sahan stated that he "is immensely excited to join the WFTO at a time when the Fair Trade movement will be a critical force in shaping a new economic vision for our planet - one based on the values of Fair Trade.”

He will be the successor of Natalia Leal who has resigned from her position as WFTO Chief Executive to pursue other endeavors.

Read WFTO’s announcement here

Positive impact of Make Fruit Fair! on the life of consumers and producers

The DEAR Support Team presented recent positive developments for both producers and consumers from the Make Fruit Fair! project. The Make Fruit Fair! campaign, a project funded by the Development Education Awareness Raising Programme, enables European shoppers to make some simple, informed choices that have improved the lives of countless people in the developing world. Make Fruit Fair! promotes advocacy for more fair and sustainable global supply chains for tropical fruit, especially bananas and pineapples. The project has engaged tens of thousands of European consumers in their three-year quest for change.

By informing European consumers about the human and environmental cost of cheap tropical fruit, encouraging them to change buying habits and by shedding some light on how supermarkets abuse their market power against marginalised producers with Unfair Trading Practices (UTPs), Make Fruit Fair! resulted in better and more permanent employment conditions on plantations supported by the campaign.

Learn more about the lessons learned from the implementation of the project here

Brighter future for Ecuadorian banana workers, thanks to ILO recommendation

The Agricultural Workers and Peasants Trade Union Association ASTAC, one of Oxfam’s partner in Ecuador, was created in 2014 by a constitutive assembly of banana workers. The banana sector is a driver of Ecuadorian economy, representing 22 percent of the country’s total world export, even though several flaws have been reported in the industry.

During the next 4 years, ASTAC unsuccessfully tried to register as a trade union but the Ministry of Labour repeatedly rejected the application, claiming that ASTAC workers do not have a single employer. Moreover, they have been harassed and they have faced legal accusations, especially after they denounced illegal aerial fumigations on plantations belonging to the Manobal group in November 2016.

The labour law in Ecuador prescribes that a trade union must have a minimum of 30 workers although the banana sector in Ecuador is mostly composed of a large number of small (0 – 30 hectares) and medium-size (30 – 100 hectares) plantations and 79 percent of them employ less than 30 workers. As indicated in the 2017 Report of the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations, Ecuadorian law requires an excessive number of workers for the establishment of workers’ associations, enterprise committees or assemblies.

In order to raise this issue, ASTAC filed a complaint to the ILO in 2015 and, on Thursday 8 June 2017, the ILO Conference’ Committee on the Application of the Standards (CAS) discussed the lack of compliance, by the Government of Ecuador, of ILO Convention 87 on Freedom of Association. Silvana Cappuccio from the Italian Trade Union Confederation (CGIL) intervened during the discussion and urged the Ecuadorian government to take the necessary measures to amend its Labour Code in order to reduce the minimum number of members required to establish workers' associations and enterprise committees and to set up an independent inquiry into the many anti-union actions which have taken place in Ecuador around the establishment of company trade unions and to undertake remedial action without delay, including those in relation to applications to register trade unions. ASTAC was supported by many other associations during this discussion (the Austrian Trade Union Federation (OGB) the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Luxembourg (OGBL), the Belgian Trade Unions FGTB and CSC and FESTAGRO).

Following the hearing, the ILO clearly gave a recommendation to Ecuador to register ASTAC and to change their laws and make sectorial unions possible. This result is encouraging for the improvement of banana workers’ rights in Ecuador and shows that cooperation between unions is crucial to achieve such victory.


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