WTO Bali package: A giant step for the WTO, a small step for Fair Trade

7 December 2013 (Brussels) - The World Trade Organization (WTO) agreed last night in Bali a package of measures, possibly the most significant achievement of the WTO since its creation in 1995. The package includes decisions to increase market access opportunities for farmers from Least Developed Countries, in particular cotton farmers, and to temporarily allow governments to take measures to guarantee food security, to be re-discussed in two years´ time.

Sergi Corbalán, Executive Director of the Fair Trade Advocacy Office, stated “We welcome the package as a step in the right direction, yet there is a long way to go before WTO rules become a tool to ensure sustainable livelihoods for all”.

The Fair Trade movement was born on the basis of the conviction that trade (not aid) should deliver long-lasting solutions for poverty eradication.

However, for trade to realise its potential, it must be ensured that all actors in the supply chain, in particular small producers and workers, receive a fair share of its benefits, which is still not the case.

The Fair Trade movement joined in October 2013 a wide coalition of Civil Society Organisations calling on the WTO to put “Food, Jobs and Sustainable Development First”. On 26 November 2013, days before the EU trade ministers and the European Commission left for the WTO negotiations in Bali, a European alliance of over 50 civil society organisations, including the Fair Trade Advocacy Office, launched the Alternative Trade Mandate, including proposals to make EU trade and investment policy work for people and the planet.

The Fair Trade movement would like to join people in South-Africa and across the world in paying tribute to Nelson Mandela, which inspired many to join a people’s movement to make trade fairer. “Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings”. Nelson Mandela 1918-2013.

Earlier related statements

Over 50 civil society groups demand a paradigm shift in EU trade and investment policies – Press release November 2013:
 
WTO Turnaround 2013: Food, Jobs and Sustainable Development First – Statement October 2013:
 
New Global Challenges Need New Global Leadership – Press release January 2013:

The Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO) speaks out on behalf of the Fair Trade movement for Fair Trade and Trade Justice with the aim to improve the livelihoods of marginalised producers and workers in the South. The FTAO is a joint initiative of Fairtrade International, the European Fair Trade Association and the World Fair Trade Organization-Europe. Through these three networks the FTAO represents an estimate of 2.5 million Fair Trade producers and workers from 70 countries, 24 labelling initiatives, over 500 specialised Fair Trade importers, 4,000 World Shops and more than 100,000 volunteers.

Contact:  

Sergi Corbalán - Fair Trade Advocacy Office Executive Director
Tel: +32 (0)2 54 31 92 3
Address: 15 rue Fernand Bernierstraat / 1060 Brussels – Belgium

200 Mayors support Fair Trade in new global goals for poverty eradication and sustainable development post-2015

23 September 2013 (New York) – The signers of the “Fair Trade Beyond 2015” Declaration were unveiled today ahead of the United Nations’ event on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This Declaration, which has been signed amongst others by the Mayors of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Seoul (South Korea), Paris (France) and Madrid (Spain), calls on world leaders to support Fair Trade in the post-2015 global sustainable development framework that will replace the MDGs, stressing that any new global framework must also be a fair one.

Today, in the run-up to the United Nations’ Special Event to Follow up Efforts Made Towards Achieving the MDGs, taking place on 25 September in New York, the Fair Trade movement unveiled the broad support for its campaign for a new sustainable development framework that will support Fair Trade and Trade Justice. Following the first signer, the Mayor of Poznan, Poland, 200 Mayors around the world, including those from Rio de Janeiro, Seoul, Paris, and Madrid as well as over 120 elected local authorities and 270 Civil Society Organisations have signed in the last months the “Fair Trade Beyond 2015” Declaration. This Declaration calls for a new global framework that creates a just, equitable and sustainable world and supports Fair Trade as a best-practice partnership for development between governments, local authorities, businesses and citizens.

In the last weeks, the results have also been handed over to various governments. When officially receiving the names of the signatories, EU Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs stated “[b]y bringing together the private sector, civil society and local authorities to empower small producers and agricultural workers, fair trade is an excellent example of the global partnership we are standing for”. He continued to stress that “[t]he EU will continue engaging with its partners to support the uptake of fair trade and sustainable consumption and production practices”.

EU Development Commissioner Supports Fair Trade Beyond 2015 LQ

EU Development Commissioner Supports Fair Trade Beyond 2015. High-quality picture here.

“We would like to thank all the signatory mayors, local leaders and civil society organisations around the world for making such a visible stand for Fair Trade“, stated Sergi Corbalán, Executive Director of the Fair Trade Advocacy Office. “Fair Trade is a best practice on how poverty reduction can meet sustainable development. It would be therefore logical that the future sustainable development framework beyond 2015 promoted the uptake of Fair Trade”, concluded Corbalán.

FTAO hands over signatures

FTAO hands over signatures to the EU Development Commissioner. High-quality picture here

 Download the press-release in PDF here.


Notes to the editors   

The Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO) speaks out for Fair Trade and trade justice with the aim to improve trading conditions for marginalised producers and workers in the South. It is a joint initiative of the European Fair Trade Association (EFTA), Fairtrade International (FLO) and the World Fair Trade Organization-Europe (WFTO-Europe). These networks bring together over 2 million Fair Trade producers from more than 60 countries, 24 labelling initiatives, hundreds of specialized Fair Trade importers, over 3000 Worldshops and more than 100,000 volunteers.


Contact

Peter Möhringer
moehringer@fairtrade-advocacy.org
Tel: +32 (0)2 54 31 92 3
Fair Trade Advocacy Office
Village Partenaire - bureau 12
15 rue Fernand Bernierstraat
1060 Brussels - Belgium 

Uniting World Mayors for Fair Trade

27 May 2013 (Rio de Janeiro) – Support from the Mayors of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Seoul (South Korea), Poznan (Poland) and Oxford (United Kingdom), together with other world cities, to the “Fair Trade Beyond 2015” Declaration has been unveiled today. This declaration calls on world leaders to support Fair Trade in the post-2015 global sustainable development framework that will replace the Millennium Development Goals.

The “Fair Trade Beyond 2015” campaign - which kicked-off at the 6th International Fair Trade Towns Conference on 10 November 2012, with the signature of the “Fair Trade Beyond 2015” Declaration by the Mayor of the host city, Poznan - has found support of numerous fellow local authorities’ leaders around the globe. From Malmö (Sweden) in the North via New Koforidua (Ghana) to Rosario (Argentina) in the South, from Milan (Italy) in the West via Cologne (Germany) to Kumamoto (Japan) in the East and from many more cities in between, local leaders are speaking out for the need to reform trade rules and practices in order to overcome inequalities and to empower small producers and marginalised workers. By signing the “Fair Trade Beyond 2015” Declaration, the Mayors of these towns are jointly calling for a new global framework that aims to create a just, equitable and sustainable world and to support Fair Trade as a best-practice partnership for development between governments, local authorities, businesses and citizens. Support by locally elected leaders reinforces even further the recent resolution by the Inter-Parliamentary Union, an International Organisation of Parliaments who asked governments to continue to promote and support Fair Trade and to include it “as an integral component of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will be part of the post-2015 development agenda”.

During the week (26 to 31 May 2013) whenRio de Janeiro holds the title of “Global Fair Trade Capital”, Mayor Eduardo Paes has re-confirmed the sustainability credentials of his city, host of the Earth Summit in 1992 and of the recent follow-up “Rio+20” United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012. At today’s official ceremony to launch the 12th Biennial Conference of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), the signatures of the supporting Mayors have been handed over to the Brazilian government Minister of Labour and Employment, Manoel Dias.

In a video address, Filip Kaczmarek - lead Member of the European Parliament, responsible for the Parliament’s input into the “Beyond 2015” discussions - congratulated the Fair Trade movement on what he regards as a campaign ”of vital importance” to ensure that “Fair Trade is core to the new agenda”. Fair Trade is to him a “key tool for sustainable development”.

In the run-up to the United Nations High-Level meeting on the global sustainable development framework that will replace the Millennium Development Goals, scheduled for 23 September 2013, the signatures of the supporting Mayors will be presented to the participating government leaders, the European Union and the United Nations. “We call on world Mayors to join their fellow colleagues in thinking globally and act locally” stated, Sergi Corbalán, Executive Director of the Fair Trade Advocacy Office.

Download the press release in PDF here. The list of signatories and further information can be found here.

 

Contact: Hilary Jeune

Email: jeune@fairtrade-advocacy.org

Tel: +32 (0)2 54 31 92 3

Fair Trade Advocacy Office

Village Partenaire - bureau 12

15 rue Fernand Bernierstraat

1060 Brussels - Belgium

 

Cooperatives and Fair Trade promote people-centred businesses together

5 June 2013, Brussels - Cooperatives Europe and Fair Trade Advocacy Office join forces to underline the role that people-centred businesses should have in the EU development strategy. To this end they organized the high level conference ‘People-centred businesses: making supply chains work for small producers’, hosted by MEP Gay Mitchell.

While the EU has expressed the wish to work more closely with the local private sector to achieve EU development objectives, Cooperatives and Fair Trade underline the need to enhance an enterprise model putting people and not profit at the heart of business.

Cooperatives and Fair Trade have been important development actors of the private sector for many years. They have contributed to promote a more inclusive people-based enterprise model to the economic system and proving that it is viable and successful.

Harriet Lamb, CEO of Fair Trade International, said: “Businesses alone are not enough to tackle poverty; the EU should foster people-centred businesses. Cooperatives and Fair Trade have shown that they put high standards and strict rules on businesses, that they put people first, and still they are successful.”

Dirk J. Lehnhoff, President of Cooperatives Europe, said: “Cooperatives and Fair Trade are established development actors with long-term oriented business models. By putting people’s needs first, we have proven to be able to respond to sustainable, economic and social needs. We support the Commission initiative announced in the Agenda for Change to work with local private actors and we believe that member-owned businesses, which benefit local communities, should be key partners”.

Download the press-release in PDF here.


Notes to the editors

Cooperatives Europe is the European cross-sectoral organization representing cooperative enterprises. On behalf of its 90 member organizations from 34 European countries across all business sectors it promotes the cooperative business model in Europe. Its members represent 123 million individual member cooperators owning 160,000 cooperative enterprises and providing jobs to 5.4 million European citizens.

A cooperative enterprise is a group of people acting together to meet the common needs and aspirations of its members, sharing ownership and making decisions democratically.

The Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO) speaks out on behalf of the Fair Trade movement for Fair Trade and Trade Justice with the aim to improve the livelihoods of marginalised producers and workers in the South. The FTAO is a joint initiative of Fair Trade International, the European Fair Trade Association and the World Fair Trade Organization Europe. Through these three networks the FTAO represents an estimate of 2.5 million Fair Trade producers and workers from 70 countries, 24 labelling initiatives, over 500 specialised Fair Trade importers, 4,000 World Shops and more than 100,000 volunteers.


Contacts

Marc Nöel
Cooperatives Europe
T: +32 2 743 120 33
m.noel@coopseurope.coop
www.coopseurope.coop

Hilary Jeune
Fair Trade Advocacy Office
T: +32 2 54 31 92 3
jeune@fairtrade-advocacy.org
www.fairtrade-advocacy.org

EU’s Snail Pace To Tackling Supply Chain Abuse

Brussels 31 January 2013 - Acknowledging the abusive buying practices which are widely applied in European grocery supply chains, the European Commission has just launched its European Retail Action Plan and a Green Paper on unfair trading practices. While the paper notes widespread supply chain abuses which disadvantage suppliers, it recommends running a ‘twin-track’ approach where one track experiments with a voluntary weak system managed by trade associations operating close to the retail end of the supply chain.

Whilst the paper is a welcome acknowledgement of the bullying practices employed in the industry, experience shows that a voluntary approach is not credible and the EU should not waste time or resources nor should it give such an approach any legitimacy.

Read more: EU’s Snail Pace To Tackling Supply Chain Abuse

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