EESC underlines the importance of a comprehensive EU food policy

On December 6, the EESC adopted an own-initiative opinion calling for a comprehensive European food policy. The goal of this initiative is to provide healthy diets from sustainable food systems and to link agriculture to nutrition and ecosystem services, while at the same time ensuring supply chains which safeguard public health for all people in Europe.

Peter Schmidt, rapporteur of the opinion said: "We need to bring more fairness into the market and we need to make people understand the value of food."

Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, welcomed the EESC opinion and highlighted the importance of civil society's support in food policy, especially when it comes to tackling food waste and health issues.

Among the important steps needed, EESC mentioned that it is crucial to maintain and promote a culture that values the nutritional and cultural importance of food, while establishing closer links between producers and consumers and ensuring fair prices for producers so that farming remains viable, something that the Fair Trade movement finds very encouraging.

Read the full press release here.

Biennial WFTO Conference in New Delhi

From 9 to 13 November 2017, the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) conference took place in New Delhi, India. With over 300 participants from 60 countries, who arrived to debate and network at the largest biennial Fair Trade gathering, the conference was attended by representatives from the Fair Trade supply chain, policy makers, and other professionals. Over 25 topics under the theme ‘Fair Trade - a path to sustainable development’ were discussed and presented, including the improved WFTO Guarantee System, which is not only a Fair Trade compliance tool but also a development tool for sustainable development. Conference participants were very satisfied with the outcomes of the conference and found it extremely useful to their work or business.

In his welcoming message, WFTO President Rudi Dalvai welcomed the participants and introduced the conference title ‘Fair Trade, a Path to Sustainable Development’. He said that the WFTO Conference has become one of the most important international Fair Trade meetings, where issues are debated and ideas exchanged and that the title was chosen to reflect the current aims of Fair Trade, which are congruent with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

During the conference, several keynote presentations took place. Among them, Devinder Sharma, distinguished food and trade policy analyst, gave an inspirational keynote speech calling Fair Trade organisations to work towards mainstreaming Fair Trade. Tomasz Kozlowski, current Ambassador of the European Union to India, delivered an informative speech about Fair Trade and EU policies and initiatives in the framework of the SDGs. Vandana Shiva Scientist, philosopher, feminist, author, environmentalist, and activist for peace, sustainability, and social justice, criticized free trade and global cartels, and Nicolette Naumann, Vice-President of the trade fairs Ambiente and Tendence at Messe Frankfurt, focused on “how the changing market environment affects trade fairs and how Fair Trade can be part of the response”. Finally, Geoff White, CEO of Trade Aid Importers Ltd, highlighted how dynamic marketing strategies are needed to be able to make Fair Trade a successful business model.

The following days of the Conference were filled with multiple, multifaceted, interactive and extremely informative workshops. Under the banner of “Fair Trade change makers”, the workshops centred on subjects like market strategy and fashion industry, tourism as a new instrument to promote Fair Trade, Fair Payment, the WFTO Updated Guarantee System, sustainable development through Fair Trade approaches and entrepreneurships. Finally, a workshop under the title of “Fair Trade textiles: practices and public policy demands” took place, by Sophie Tack (Oxfam-Magasins du monde) and Sergi Corbalan (Fair Trade Advocacy Office) in the framework of the 2017-18 campaign on textile supply chains and of the EU funded project “Trade Fair, Live Fair.” The workshop started with an introduction on the situation and the challenges in the textile supply chains, as well as the problems and main findings from an ongoing project of Oxfam-Magasins du monde.

11th WTO Ministerial – Letter from Global Civil Society about the WTO Agenda

300 member organisations of global civil society from more than 150 countries, representing tens of millions of people from around the world, signed and sent a letter to WTO regarding the ongoing negotiations towards the 11th Ministerial meeting (MC11) in Buenos Aires, December 10-13, 2017. The organisations, among which also the Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO), include in their letter their concerns about the press reports indicating that some WTO members are pushing a dangerous and inappropriate new agenda under the disguising rubric of “e-commerce” and the potential blocking of the urgent need to change existing WTO rules which are constraining governments’ policy space for job creation and development, including achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Read the full letter here.

Banana Link’s exciting news from the World Banana Forum

Banana Link recently published news reports on various interesting topics. Firstly, the World Banana Forum consolidated and celebrated the achievements of industry cooperation, from the recent third conference of the World Banana Forum, which attracted over 300 delegates from 42 countries across all continents to Geneva. The conference was very successful, with a good balance regarding its participants. The conference also celebrated the achievements that have resulted from the collaborative approach fostered by the WBF. Banana Link’s reaction was very positive, as they find that there is now enough collective energy to raise the level of cooperation between the diverse players. Now, more pragmatic changes are possible which could turn the sector into a model for others. Learn more here

Banana Link also reported on the Gender Equity Meeting of the Third Conference of the World Banana Forum, that had close to 100 participants. During the key note presentations, the International Labour Organisation noted the very low levels of women’s employment and very low wage levels in the banana industry, which is also supported by Banana Link’s own research. Learn more here or access the resources of the Gender Equity Meeting here.

As a final piece of news about the WBF, Banana Link reported that small scale farmers and trade unions representing plantation workers are warning that without fundamental changes around banana production, the fruit itself is in danger of disappearing from shelves. Banana production is based on low-paid, large-scale monoculture that is destroying the workers’ health, as well as the natural environment and local communities. Banana Link commented that they are fully committed to helping develop an environment of cooperation between all stakeholders in the banana trade to work towards achieving the goals of a sustainable industry that provides decent work and healthy working conditions for the banana producers. Learn more here

Fairtrade Asia Pacific encouraged to implement Fair Trade in China


With the aim to raise awareness in China concerning Fair Trade, the workshop has gathered around 60 participants including Central government representatives from Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Agriculture and National Poverty Reduction Office, Beijing Municipal government, local producer groups and federations, agribusiness companies and media. The Central and Municipal governments encouraged Fairtrade Asia Pacific in providing access to value chains for marginalized farmers. An encouraging conclusion has been reached during this workshop, since the participants suggested the creation of a collective to better implement Fair Trade at a local level after representatives of Fairtrade certified Small Producers Organisations in China narrated their experience of engagement with Fairtrade International and its impact on their livelihood.


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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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