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

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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.

In the spotlight: The First Buyer Label

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Besides the Product Label, the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO) has another label for organisations which want to show their commitment to Fair Trade products. Indeed, if a company sells product from Guaranteed Fair Trade Organisation under its own brand, the company is considered a First Buyer and can be eligible to the label.
These First Buyers need to meet a set of criteria in their trading relationship with Guaranteed Fair Trade Organisations, sign a contract for the use of the First Buyer Label and pay a licensing fee of 1% of the purchase order with a minimum of €100 per year.
On striking success story of the use of the First Buyer Label is Fundacion Creaciones Miquelina from Colombia which empowers exploited women and girls affected by Colombia’s civil conflict to take their future into their own hands.

World Fair Trade Day 2017: the largest Fair Trade celebration

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On 13 May, the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) invited participants to create human chains during this World Fair Trade Day and to explain how they are Agents for Change in their day-to-day life. During the celebrations, several videos were shot and a video of Agents for Change around the globe is available.
More than 2 million people joined the 4000 Fair Trade celebrations across the world, making it the most important Fair Trade event of the year. 13 universities, 250 communities organised breakfasts with Fair Trade products and enjoyed Fair Trade cakes (a Belgian minister even set the example).
Dario Soto Abril, Global CEO of Fairtrade International, welcomed this popularity: “It’s fantastic to see so many supporters, producers, and politicians coming together around the world to celebrate the successes of Fairtrade, and to encourage more people to join us”.
The FTAO wants to thank every participant and hopes that 2018 will see even more people joining the celebrations!

What are your fair chances at work?

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Gender equity is a crucial element in the 10 Principles of Fair Trade. The World Fair Trade Organistion (WFTO) and Oxfam MdM want to reiterate their commitment to that declaration by supporting women’s rights during that special day. Thus, the organisations created a campaign entitled “What are your fair chances at work?” in order to raise awareness on gender equality at workplaces and invited their network to share it.
As Fair Trade is crucial to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, WFTO and Oxfam MdM take steps to empower women, to fight for their rights and their equal access to economic resources and to promote women as key agents for change and drivers of sustainable development.

New duty of vigilance law in France sets example for Europe

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Under this new law, the largest French companies will have to assess and prevent their adverse human rights and environmental impacts. This includes impacts linked to their own activities and those of their subsidiaries, as well as activities of suppliers and subcontractors, with whom they have an established commercial relationship.
The Constitutional Court gave the green light to the law in March after several senators raised the question of its unconstitutionality. The Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO) had joined others in the Fair Trade movement in signing a statement in support of the law. Find it here. The decision of the Court to keep the majority of the text and thus protecting the environment and human rights in international trade, is welcomed by the Fair Trade movement.
The FTAO calls for similar legislation to be adopted in European countries to make businesses (parent companies and suppliers) more accountable. For more details on the French duty of vigilance law, please check this FAQ by the European Coalition for Corporate Justice (ECCJ).


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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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