Overview of FTAO Press Releases

2016

Fair Trade Village and Workshops at World Social Forum will Address Trade Policy, Economic Justice, Climate Change and Small-Scale Farmers

European Parliament puts pressure on European Commission to act on Unfair Trading Practices 

Fair Trade movement and African farmers call for urgent action to put small-scale cotton farmers on the global agenda on sustainable textiles 

New report from the European Commission is labelled a 'missed opportunity' by campaigners

2015

Fair and transparent fashion and textile supply chains – it’s time for EU action!

Eu takes important step for Fair Trade, but long path ahead for all trade to be fair 

Renewed call by European local and regional authorities for more Fair Trade

EU Trade Commissioner reveals plans for Fair Trade

2014

Report launch event in the European Parliament

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

Fair Trade housewarming at the European Parliament

EU Import duties on Kenyan flowers threaten future of Fairtrade producers

Commission passes on hot potato on Unfair Trading Practices

Fair Trade movement congratulates first Fair Trade-enthusiast European Commission President

Four hundred European Parliament elections candidates and three lead European Commission Presidency candidates commit to Fair Trade

European Youth Event hosts debate on World Fair Trade Day

Your clothes already tell a story about who you are. Now they can tell a better one.

Third candidate for the European Commission Presidency announces support for the Fair Trade Manifesto  

Vote for Fair Trade Manifesto is launched with the endorsement of two European Commission President candidates  

European civil society coalition calls on MEP candidates to support trade and investment rules that work for people and the planet

4 European public authorities rewarded for their Fair Trade cotton commitments

Toast to Fair Trade in Public Procurement

2013

WTO Bali package: A giant step for the WTO, a small step for Fair Trade

200 Mayors support Fair Trade in new global goals for poverty eradication and sustainable development post-2015

Cooperatives and Fair Trade promote people-centred businesses together

Uniting world mayors for Fair Trade

EU’s Snail Pace To Tackling Supply Chain Abuse

New Global Challenges Need New Global Leadership

2012

The Local Goes Global in the Fair Trade Beyond 2015 Campaign

European Parliament Hosts Fair Trade Breakfast on Public Procurement

The European Union should walk the road from Rio + 20 hand in hand with marginalised producers and workers

No more business as usual: activists set Alternative Trade Mandate Alliance Launch

European Court confirms possibility to demand Fair Trade criteria in public procurement 

New report offers ways forward for Europe in tackling supply chain abuse  

Fairtrade Access Fund To Provide Long-Term Loans To Smallholder Farmers

European Commission’s “modern” proposal on trade and development is the same old story

 

2011

European Parliament supports sustainable procurement

European Parliament hosts a Fair Trade Breakfast

European Parliament responds to the new EU trade policy agenda: "We support coordinated policies for Fair Trade" 

Modernising Public Procurement: Key demands for sustainable development in public procurement

EU leaders congratulate 1,000 Fair Trade Towns while the European Commission re-thinks EU policies

New EC "Buying Social" guide: a giant step for the EC, a small step for sustainable procurement

2010

New EU trade policy agenda: “Business as Usual” despite clear message from European citizens  

The European Parliament calls again on the European Commission to encourage Fair Trade Public Procurement

The Fair Trade movement urges the European Commission on World Fair Trade Day 2010 to move from words to action

Committee of the Regions speaks out for Fair Trade

2009

The WTO ministerial in Geneva lacked commitment to address economic, food or climate crisis

European Union Member States recognise Fair Trade as a priority area for Policy Coherence for Development

Aid for Trade: Is the EU helping small producers to trade their way out of poverty?

2008

Fair Trade 2007: new facts and figures from an ongoing success story

2006

European Parliament supports Fair Trade

Business Unusual 2006- New book discloses the reasons behind the success of Fair Trade

New Research Reveals Success of Fair Trade in Europe

EU Import duties on Kenyan flowers threaten future of Fairtrade producers

EU Import duties on Kenyan flowers threaten future of Fairtrade producers

 


Fairtrade urgently calls for the EU and Kenyan government to find a solution which guarantees continued duty-free access for Kenyan cut flower imports, to protect the livelihoods of thousands of Kenyan flower workers and their families, before 1 October deadline.
“On behalf of all workers from Fairtrade certified flower farms in Kenya, we are deeply sad following recent news that from 1st October 2014 import duty exemption for Kenyan cut flower destined for EU market will be expiring. As fundamental stakeholders in the industry, we anticipate that when the new trade conditions become operationalized the market price of the produce will significantly rise. Consequently, the competitive demand for the Kenyan flowers will drastically drop favoring other sector players who will continue enjoying preferential trade terms and access. Therefore the sustainability of the business and livelihood of many workers, their siblings and members of the various communities deriving their dependency from this sector will be drawn into jeopardy.
“Surprisingly, the main social-economic gains so far achieved ranging from improved health care, education and enhanced standards of living among workers and the community attributed to Fairtrade business will begin to disintegrate. We feel so sad watching helplessly as the scenario push us to unemployment status and hopelessness
“As we look forward for the fruitful and meaningful EPA negotiations, it is our humble submission that the Kenyan flowers sector is permitted to continue enjoying its previous import duty exemption status beyond 1st October 2014. We guarantee EU member states that as workers we will continue supporting the industry sustainably and it is our sincere prayer that our plight is keenly reviewed taking cognizant of the negative impacts that will arise with the changes.”
– Grace Cherotich Mwangi, Fairtrade Africa Workers Representative

 

A new duty on cut flowers could have a devastating impact on Kenya's flower industry, including 32 Fairtrade certified flower farms that together employ 32,000 workers.

At present, there is no duty on cut flowers exported from Kenya to Europe, but from 1 October a duty ranging from 5% - 8.5% is set to be introduced.
The tariff is being imposed because, despite long-running negotiations on an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) since 2002, the EU and East African Community (EAC) have failed to find a way to secure a continuation of the zero tariffs for cut flowers from Kenya.

Livelihoods of thousands at stake
More than 500,000 people, including 90,000 direct flower employees, depend on the flower industry for their livelihoods. The cut flower industry has become Kenya’s second most important foreign exchange earner, producing exports worth almost €360 million annually.
If introduced, the duty will increase the price of Kenyan cut flowers considerably, threatening farms’ ability to compete with cheaper alternatives. It could also mean potentially devastating job losses for workers in Kenya’s flower industry. The majority of these workers are women, and for many it is their only source of income to support their families.

Fairtrade flower farms also face devastating consequences
Over the past ten years Fairtrade has worked to establish fair trading relationships between European businesses and Kenyan flower producers. 44% of all cut roses produced in Kenya now come from Fairtrade certified farms, with the EU being the chief export market. Producers have diligently built up their organizations, meeting the Fairtrade Standards and investing the Fairtrade Premium in education, better housing, healthcare and infrastructure such as roads. Workers have benefitted from better working conditions, more knowledge about their rights and more autonomy through workers’ committees.
If Fairtrade flower farms suffer a drastic loss of sales, or in worst case go out of business, all their hard work and achievements over the past decade would be undermined. Workers on Fairtrade farms could lose their jobs and their livelihood.

Fairtrade calls for swift and fair solutions
We are calling on the EU and Kenyan government to urgently find a just and fair solution which ensures that cut flowers from Fairtrade farms continue to have tariff-free access to European markets, to protect the livelihoods of thousands of Kenyan flower workers and their families.

Q&A

What are EPAs?
Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) are trade agreements meant to safeguard ACP countries’ preferential access to EU markets, which had previously been granted through the Lomé Convention. However, EPAs are changing this preferential access from non-reciprocal to reciprocal access, meaning that ACP countries who sign have to open their markets to EU imports, and liberalize in other areas too.

Negotiations on EPAs have been happening since 2002. Some regions have already signed EPAs; in others, such as East Africa, the negotiations are ongoing.

Why are the negotiations taking so long?
The issues surrounding EPAs are quite complex. One of the main concerns is around the reciprocal nature of the agreement – developing countries must lower taxes (tariffs) on goods coming from the EU. Many developing countries are concerned that this will have negative consequences for the country’s development.
In Kenya, outstanding issues in the negotiations are export taxes, domestic and export support to agriculture, and human rights.

What do NGOs and civil society think about EPAs?
EPAs are very controversial and have been highly criticized by NGOs and wider civil society. This is also the case in Kenya, where many civil society groups have welcomed the fact that the government has not signed the EPA.
100% Fair Trade organization Traidcraft has detailed information on EPAs on their website. http://www.traidcraft.co.uk/get_involved/campaign/trade_rules/stop_epas/faq/

What products will be affected by the tariffs?
In Kenya, the main products which will be affected are cut flowers, fruits and vegetables.

What can I do?
You can express your concern by sending a letter to your Head of Government, asking them to raise this issue at EU level. You can download an example letter here.

 

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.

PR

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.

 

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. 

GreetingCardFTAO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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