Fair Trade movement at World Social Forum 2016


The Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO) was part of a Fair Trade delegation that attended the World Social Forum 2016 taking place in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 9 - 13 August.

DAY 1: Opening of the World Social Forum 2016!

The Fair Trade movement delegation made it to Montreal on Tuesday 9 August! Day 1 of the World Social Forum started with a march across Montreal in the evening and an opening concert at the beautiful Places des Arts, where the major museums and university campuses are. [Read more …]

DAY 2: Learning about Fair Trade values and discussing hot topics

Day 2 of the World Social Forum started with an interesting workshop hosted by the Fair Trade Federation (USA) on the origins and values of Fair Trade. Interestingly, we learned that there are three different “historical dates” used when referring when Fair Trade was born. Firstly USA Fair Trade pioneer organisation back in 1946; then Fair Trade started in the Netherlands in 1959; finally the Fairtrade system, often credited to two Dutch men who set up the Max Havelaar label.
The hottest part of the day took place after lunch, when a large room of World Social Forum participants gathered to discuss tricky questions around Fair Trade. First hot topic was around whether Fair Trade is (or should be) a market-driven instrument of a social movement. The second debated question was around the role of government. Last but not least, the impact of Fair Trade was discussed. [Read more…]

DAY 3: Let's join forces for Fair Trade future!

The Fair Trade highlight of the day was Fair Trade 2.0 workshop which took place at the Université de Québec à Montréal. All agreed that the revision of the Charter of Fair Trade principles, seems a great and timely opportunity to identify common values and put forward a political vision on the change that the Fair Trade movement, while recognising that different strategies are complementary. [Read more…]

DAY 4: Beyond Fair Trade certification, convergence assembly, and other workshops

An interesting discussion took place on “beyond certification: examples of Fair Trade of and for the People”, where various panellists concluded that, while third-party certification is a “necessary evil” for certain supply chains, it is by no means the only way to guarantee compliance with Fair Trade principles. The day concluded with a “Convergence Assembly” on Fair Trade, that is, a moment to look back on the various workshops around Fair Trade during the World Social Forum, as well as moment to look forward and identify what next steps the Fair Trade movement could take. Two actions came out of this process. The first is the revision of the Fair Trade Charter, for which WFTO is asking for feedback on an “skeleton” of the new Charter by mid-September 2016. The second is the setting up of a Forum on Fair Trade, to bring together all various global Fair Trade actors, on a regular basis. [Read more…]


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