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.

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.

Fair Trade farmers confront child labour


In 2015, a report revealed that Belize did too little to eradicate child labour, included its worst forms, even though the country had signed the International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions.
However, the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers’ Association (BSCFA) had already taken action to withdraw children from unacceptable work, jointly with Fairtrade International, FLOCERT, the independent certification body of Fairtrade International, and CLAC, the organisation representing the Fairtrade certified farmers from Latin and Central America. Indeed, BSCFA had funded a programme to prevent child labour in the Belizean sugar cane industry, following the suspension of its Fairtrade certification in 2014 after two auditors found evidence of child labour during school hours on two sugar cane farms.
An important step forward was taken this February by the Belizean government, with the establishment of three bodies dealing with child labour. This measure has been welcomed by BSCFA and by Fairtrade International, which encouraged the European Union, in its joint project partnership with the government of Belize, to implement the Youth Inclusive Community Based Monitoring and Remediation System (YICBMRS).

Fair Trade measures against sexual harassment in Kenyan flower farms


Exploitation of workers at an industrial scale, allegations of low pay, unfair dismissals and cases of sexual harassment. This appears to be the daily life of the female workers on the rose and chrysanthemums fields near Lake Naivasha, 100km north of Nairobi.
Aware of these practices, Fairtrade International, which certifies 39 flower farms in Kenya, has set up gender committees provides also training in each of them to prevent such behaviours and to ensure harassments are reported. One of the interviewees declared in the report feeling more safe working in a Fairtrade certified farm.
On the occasion of the International Women’s Day (8 March), Fairtrade International decided to shine the spotlight on a Kenyan flower picker, working in a Fairtrade certified farm. According to Rosemary Achieng, the working conditions are better now, with women and men now having the same rights. “There are regular working hours, fixed leave days, and significantly improved safety regulations”, she declared.
The gender committees created by Fairtrade International in its certified farms help to foster gender equality. “The gender committee is so important because it ensures everyone is treated equally,” Achieng explains. “That is especially important for the women workers, as they are often not aware of their rights. I organized trainings to equip them with the relevant knowledge. Now they are much stronger than before.”

Farmers are clear: “Sainsbury’s model will bring about disempowerment”

Pictures with copyright

On 23 May 2017, the Fairtrade Foundation announced that it will not be partnering in Sainsbury’s new programme destined to replace the Fairtrade label on its Red Label and Gold Label teas. These brands will no longer be Fairtrade-certified, affecting more than 229,000 small farmers.
The decision of Fairtrade Foundation towards Sainsbury’s own programme comes from Fairtrade certified farmers, consulted by Fairtrade International regarding the decision of Sainsbury’s, who were “extremely unhappy with the move”. In an open letter, they reaffirmed their will to benefit directly from the Fairtrade Premium, unlike what is proposed by Sainsbury’s scheme.

“We have Fairtrade Premium projects which are based on community prioritised needs, and for which we are fully accountable through our governance structures especially the General Assembly. We believe that we are more credible, trustworthy and effective partners towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals than any other development agency or NGO”
- Fairtrade Africa tea farmers and worker

According to Michael Gidney, CEO of the Fairtrade Foundation, the implementation of Sainsbury’s model will not lead to improvements in social, economic and environmental outcomes and will not deliver positive effects for smallholders and workers. Sainsbury’s decision came after years of partnership with Fairtrade International. UK Fair Trade pioneer Traidcraft issued a statement expressing its strong concerns: Whilst Fair Trade Organisations like Traidcraft work to empower the farmers and workers who are most vulnerable in the supply chain they fear that this new scheme from Sainsbury’s may instead consolidate the power of the retailer over the supply chain.


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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 | 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



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