EU Cities for Fair and Ethical Trade Award & EU Conference "From local to EU level: Scaling up Fair Trade in Europe"


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

27 June (16:00-18:00) - 28 June (9:30-15:30)

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 happy to invite you to the EU conference "From local to EU level: Scaling up Fair Trade in Europe" which will take place on 27- 28 June at the European Committee of the Regions in Brussels. The conference will start after the EU Cities for Fair and Ethical Trade Award Ceremony and will finish on 28 June at 3:30 PM.

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 conference will also be the opportunity to launch a funding opportunity which is offered by the EU project ‘Live Fair Trade Fair’ to EU local authorities promoting Fair Trade.

A draft programme and registration form will be available soon. For any questions, please email

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

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

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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      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.


      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.


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

      Fair Trade Advocacy Office

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


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