The FTAO wishes you Happy New Year

5 January 2015 (Brussels) – We wish you very happy New Year. Let´s make #EYD2015 work for small producers and workers. 

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Report launch event in the European Parliament

18 November 2014 (Brussels) – At the event “Solutions to tackle imbalances of power in agricultural supply chains”, hosted by MEP Catherine Stihler, in the European Parliament the Fair Trade movement officially launched its report “Who’s got the power? Tackling imbalances in agricultural supply chains”. Eminent speakers underlined the importance of the issue and discussed the suggestions made in the report.

The Fair Trade movement hands over the new report “Who’s got the power? Tackling imbalances in agricultural supply chains” (available here: abstract and full version) before the debate to EU representatives.

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Left to right: Florence Sonntag (PFCE), MEP Paul Brennan (S&D, UK), Sergi Corbalán (FTAO), MEP Dennis de Jong (GUE, NL), host MEP Catherine Stihler (S&D, UK), Claire Bury (DG Internal Market). Click here for higher resolution picture.

MEP Catherine Stihler, Vice-chair of Internal Market and Consumers Committee of the European Parliament (IMCO) hosted and chaired the event that featured a list of eminent speakers from various backgrounds. Ms Stihler gave her opening speech that was followed by the input from MEP Mairead McGuinness (EPP, IE), Vice-President of the EP and chair of an MEP informal working group on the issues in supply chains, expressed that the level of progress made so far by the EU on the topic was not enough and demanded more focus on this issue. The following speaker was Claire Bury (Director of Directorate E – Service of DG Internal Market and Services of European Commission), who explained what the Commission has been doing on the topic of Unfair Trading Practices in the past years and what is to be done regarding the evaluation of Member States’ enforcement mechanisms.

The results of the report about the repercussions that result from imbalances of power in supply chains were presented by the drafter Christophe Alliot of BASIC, who then passed the word onto Sergi Corbalán of the Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO)  that put forward possible solutions that the EU can take. “Policy-makers should not tolerate strong supply chain actors squeezing out weaker ones, both upstream and downstream. Turning a blind eye to abuses of power in supply chain is not only unethical, it also a main obstacle to the sustainability of supply chains and the interest of future consumers” he said.

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Panel left to right: Olivier De Schutter, Dennis de Jong, Sergi Corbalán, Catherine Stihler, Claire Bury, Mairead McGuinness, Adam Bedford. Click here for higher resolution picture.

Olivier De Schutter, former United Nations Rapporteur on the right to food, was the first one to be given a word after the presentation. In his reaction he stated that governance in the supply chains is something that is never discussed by governments. It is still a taboo.

The similarity of the problems faced by farmers in and outside of Europe and the change that the Grocery Code Adjudicator made in the UK were highlighted by Adam Bedford representing UK (National Farmers Union) and European farmers (COPA-COGECA). The last speaker on the panel was MEP Dennis de Jong (GUE, NL), rapporteur of the European Retail Action Plan who in his speech called for a more nuanced approach towards regulation.

MEP Catherine Stihler then invited the audience to join the debate. The last part of the event was filled with interesting questions and lively exchange of views.

More pictures of the event can be found here.

*END*

Notes to Editors:

For more information about the organizations commissioning this study, please follow these links: Fairtrade International www.fairtrade.net; World Fair Trade Organization www.wfto.com; Fair Trade Advocacy Office www.fairtrade-advocacy.org; Traidcraft www.traidcraft.org.uk; Plate-forme pour le Commerce Equitable www.commercequitable.org; Fair Trade Germany www.fairtrade-deutschland.de.

For further information please contact Peter Möhringer at moehringer@fairtrade-advocacy.org.

 

Fair Trade housewarming at the European Parliament

8 October 2014 (Brussels) – The European Parliament Fair Trade Working Group hosted a Fair Trade Breakfast todayLarge numbers of renowned and new Members of the European Parliament attended in support of Fair Trade, marking a successful start to the new legislative term.

Linda McAvan, Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Development and of the Fair Trade Working Group, welcomed the 50 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from all major political groups, officials from Permanent Representations of European Union Member States, as well as Fair Trade movement actors and network representatives. Linda McAvan went on to introduce the new Vice Chairs of this cross-party group of MEPs working together for EU policies in support of Fair Trade: Sirpa Pietikäinen, Judith Sargentini, Charles Goerens and Helmut Scholz. She highlighted the work that the Fair Trade Working Group had done in the last legislature and the challenges that now lay ahead for Fair Trade in the European Parliament.

    Educating the audience about various aspects of Fair Trade (from left to right): Sergi Corbalán, Nyagoy Nyong’o, Linda                                         McAvan and Giorgio Dal Fiume. For picture with higher resolution click here. 

Amongst the speakers addressing the crowd was Bernd Lange, the Chair of the Committee on International Trade in the European Parliament, who spoke about the importance of fairness in international trade. In her keynote speech Nyagoy Nyong’o, Executive Director of Fairtrade Africa presented the work of her organisation for Fairtrade certified producers in Africa. Giorgio Dal Fiume, President of the World Fair Trade Organization–Europe presented in his speech what Fair Trade Organisations in Europe are doing to raise awareness and support small producers in the South.

 While listening to the speeches MEPs and Fair Trade actors enjoyed breakfast with Fair Trade ingredients. For picture with higher resolution click here.

The event took place during Fair Trade week in Belgium - an initiative of the Belgium Development Cooperation – and the Vote for Fair Trade campaign which is funded by the European Commission and includes Fair Trade organisations from around Europe to advocate together for Fair Trade.
 
“It is time for the EU to give prominence to this topic by putting forward a European Strategy for Fair Trade which will contribute to giving much needed coherence to EU policies in trade and development, especially taking opportunity of the upcoming European Year for Development in 2015.” concluded Sergi Corbalán, Executive Director of the Fair Trade Advocacy Office.
A pdf version of this press release can be found here.
A video about this event can be found here:
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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:
Peter Möhringer | moehringer@fairtrade-advocacy.org | Tel: +32 (0)2 54 31 92 3

Fair Trade Advocacy Office | Village Partenaire - bureau 1 | 15 rue Fernand Bernierstraat | 1060 Brussels – Belgium www.fairtrade-advocacy.org

Who’s got the power? New study confirms imbalances in agricultural supply chains

18 November 2014 (Brussels) – Have you ever wondered how come those local apples in season remain more expensive than bananas all year long? Why do poor farmers get poorer just as the international price of their products rise non-stop? Why is environmental damage increasing even as large companies prove they are implementing sustainability programmes? With city dwellers increasing and rural population dwindling, who will produce the food the hungry urbanites will demand?

The new study opens the door to the answers. “Who’s got the power? Tackling imbalances in agricultural supply chains”, released today in Brussels by the Fair Trade movement[1] reveals how the growing integration –and concentration of power- in the supply chain of agricultural products is having a serious effect not only on producers far away from the supermarket shelves, but all along the supply chain, the environment and onto the choices available to consumers. Unfair trading practices (UTPs)[2] appear, and they are not accidental but structural.

Olivier De Schutter, co-chair of the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems and former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, says in the foreword to the study that “the need to improve the governance of food systems, in order to avoid instances of excessive domination by a small number of major agrifood companies, is hardly ever referred to in international summits that seek to provide answers to the challenges of hunger and malnutrition. This report helps to fill that gap”.

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Click here for higher resolution picture.

The study identifies common patterns of concentration involving the main elements of the supply chain, the one exerting pressure on the other all the way down to the producers. The more these elements are integrated with one another, the stronger is the pressure exerted onto the next link in the supply chain:

  • Consumers
  • Retailers (supermarket chains)
  • Branded products manufacturers
  • Traders of produce
  • Processors/Refiners
  • Producers/Farmers
  • Input producers (seeds, fertilizers, etc.)

In sheer size, the Consumers (7 billion) and the Producers/Farmers (2.5 billion) are by far the most numerous. However, most of the value share of the transaction (up to 86%) stays with numbers two to five. But trying to present the problem as one between consumers on one side, and farmers and workers on the other, is meaningless. The degradation of the trading and living conditions of farmers and workers, whether inside or outside Europe, creates important risks of unavailability and unaffordability of products for consumers in the midterm, reducing their welfare in the end.

Addressing concretely the global nature of the problem and its consequences, the study emits no less than 16 practical recommendations to policy-makers, businesses and workers all over the world. The European Union has a clear responsibility to prevent and punish UTPs, considering the superior purchase power of its 550 million inhabitants, as well as the numerous trade agreements it has with produce exporting countries. Transactions do not occur in a legal vacuum but national legislation needs to be adapted to counter the power concentration trend, and it is clear that no solution will be found in isolation, which is why the study includes action proposals to all seven links of the supply chain as well as to multilateral instances such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

BUYER POWER

Click here for higher resolution picture.

 

  • In order to address and resolve the issues the study recommends actions to adopt a comprehensive strategy based on:
  • A vision of consumer welfare that goes beyond purchasing power and recalls its inherent link with farmers’ and workers’ welfare.
  • Measures to rebalance business power in agricultural chains in the short term, currently the law of the strongest has the upper hand.
  • Mechanisms to enhance transparency in agricultural chains so that stakeholders can better identify the risks of abuse of buyer power and unfair trading practices.
  • A renewed European competition policy framework capable of better regulating such abuses.
  • Enforcement mechanisms to stop Unfair Trading Practices (UTPs) within food supply chains serving the EU market, with authorities able to investigate claims and punish abuses.
  • Initiatives to promote and widely spread fair trading practices in the mid to long run.

 

*END*

Notes to Editors:

[1]The report was commissioned by the Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO), Traidcraft, the Plate-forme pour le Commerce Equitable and Fairtrade Deutschland, with the support of the European Commission, the Belgian Development cooperation, the Agence Française de Développement and the region Île-de-France.

[2] Practices that grossly deviate from good commercial conduct, are contrary to good faith and fair dealing and are unilaterally imposed by one trading partner on another.

Commission passes on hot potato on Unfair Trading Practices

15 July 2014 (Brussels)The European Commission has missed the chance today to push for a level playing-field and robust enforcement mechanism on Unfair Trading Practices. Instead, it calls on industry and EU Member States to take action and delays its decision to end 2015. The Fair Trade movement regrets the negative impact this non-decision will have on workers and farmers supplying the EU market.

The European Commission issued today a Communication Tackling unfair trading practices in the business-to-business food supply chain1 as a follow-up to the Green Paper on Unfair Trading Practices of 31 January 20132. In this policy document, the European Commission has decided, for the moment, neither to legislate nor to put in place a robust enforcement mechanism against Unfair Trading Practices.

The Fair Trade Movement is satisfied that the European Commission recognises that Unfair Trading Practices have a negative impact on “weaker parties in third countries, including in developing countries" and the existing “fear factor” amongst suppliers. It is also satisfied that the Commission realises that the “Voluntary Supply Chain” initiative, set up by a number of industry trade associations, does not guarantee sufficient confidentiality for suppliers and that, without independent enforcement mechanism, the initiative is not sufficient to be effective.

In light of the pertinent analysis by the European Commission services, the Fair Trade movement is therefore all the more disappointed by the lack of political courage to put in place a level-playing field on Unfair Trading Practices and a robust enforcement mechanism at EU level, which would be the logical consequence of the serious issues identified by the Commission services.

Over 43,000 signers from Europe and Latin America had called earlier this year on the European Commission to put in place a robust EU enforcement mechanism against the abuse of power in supply chains3. Unfair Trading Practices affect millions of producers in and outside of the EU but also the quality and range of the food which we are able to buy in Europe. The failure to act by the EC will result in a continuation and increase of short-notice forced overtime being required of farmers and workers as well as poverty incomes on precarious contracts. It will also continue creating food waste4.

Voluntary codes with inappropriate enforcement had already been tried in the UK with the clear result that a system that does not guarantee anonymity is not equipped to overcome the “climate of fear”. This situation prevents suppliers from complaining in the first place because it would jeopardise their economic existence if they were delisted as a retaliation for a complaint they raised against their abusive buyers.

The announcement by the Commission coincides with the appointment of its new Head, Jean-Claude Juncker, who stated in his programmatic agenda presented today to the European Parliament “We need more fairness in our internal market5”.

Sergi Corbalán, Fair Trade Advocacy Office Executive Director stated  “We welcome the commitment to fairness by the new European Commission President and ask him to put in place as soon as possible a level playing field and robust enforcement mechanism against Unfair Trading Practices”.

A pdf version of this press release can be found here.

ENDS

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:

Peter Möhringer | moehringer@fairtrade-advocacy.org | Tel: +32 (0)2 54 31 92 3

Fair Trade Advocacy Office

Village Partenaire - bureau 1 | 15 rue Fernand Bernierstraat | 1060 Brussels – Belgium

www.fairtrade-advocacy.org



1 Press release and memo issued today can be found under: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-14-831_en.htm

2 Green Paper available from: http://eur-lex.europa.eu

3 The British Institute of International and Comparative Law recently issued a report setting out how European Enforcement mechanism should be set up to stop Unfair Trading practices (UTPs) within food supply chains serving the EU market. Please see here - http://www.biicl.org/newsitem/6070  and http://www.biicl.org/files/6952_biicl_enforcement_mechanisms_report_-_final.pdf  for more information.

4 “Catalyst for change” National Farmers Union 2012 report www.nfuonline.com/assets/6106

Subcategories

  • Annual Reports
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  • FTAO´s Position Papers

    Please find below the position papers of the Fair Trade movement on European and international policies from the last years.

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    Find all the previous publications here.

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      The first EU Cities for Fair and Ethical Trade Award is officially launched!

       

      08 December 2017 (Brussels)Yesterday, the European Commission officially launched the first EU Cities for Fair and Ethical Trade Award. The Fair Trade movement warmly encourage local authorities to give the necessary visibility to their key contributors to make trade Fair by joining the competition.

      The long-awaited EU Cities for Fair and Ethical Trade Award has been officially launched yesterday. This was a commitment that the Commission took in October 2014, when the current EU Trade strategy was launched.

      The purpose of the award is to:

      • Recognize and celebrate cities’ achievements and positive impact in the areas of social, economic and environmental sustainability in international trade. 
      • Emphasize Fair and ethical trade schemes, as well as other non-governmental sustainability schemes, which may bring more sustainable opportunities to small producers in third countries and thus support sustainable and inclusive development.

      The call for applications is now open and EU local authorities can apply until April 2018. The winner is expected to be announced in Brussels in June 2018.

      “The launch of this award has been strongly requested by the Fair Trade movement and the more than 2000 Fair Trade Towns. Therefore, we welcome this initiative which gives the necessary visibility to the contribution of local authorities in promoting sustainable consumption and production models.”

      Sergi Corbalán, FTAO Executive Director

      The Fair Trade movement looks forward to supporting the European Commission and the International Trade Centre, appointed to set-up the award, to make this initiative a real success! The Fair Trade movement will mobilise its network to ensure a high participation of EU local authorities in the award. It will also seize the opportunity to raise awareness on the role of local policy makers in promoting sustainable development through trade.

      You can learn more about the award and how to apply here

      You can read FTAO’s toolkit on localising the SDGs through Fair Trade here

      A pdf version of this press release can be found here.

       ENDS

      The Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO) speaks out 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 World Fair Trade Organization-Global and the World Fair Trade Organization-Europe.

      Contact:

      Peter Möhringer | moehringer@fairtrade-advocacy.org | Tel: +32 (0)2 54 31 92 3

      Fair Trade Advocacy Office

      Village Partenaire - bureau 1 | 15 rue Fernand Bernierstraat | 1060 Brussels – Belgium

      www.fairtrade-advocacy.org

       

      Article Count:
      2

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