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

14 October 2015 (Brussels) – The European Commission has published today the new EU Trade and Investment Strategy. The EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström has unveiled a series of new initiatives to support uptake of Fair Trade at a Fair Trade breakfast that has taken place earlier in the day at the European Parliament. The Fair Trade movement warmly welcomes the new EC pro-active approach on Fair Trade and looks forward to working together with the European Union towards making all trade fair.

The EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström launched today the new EU Trade and Investment Strategy “Trade for all: Towards a more responsible trade and investment policy” and stated that the new EU trade agenda will “not only project out interests but also our values”.

                                                                                                                Dialogue at breakfast

                       Dialogue amongst participants during the Fair Trade breakfast at the European Parliament (14 October 2015)

                                         For picture with higher resolution click here

The Commission acknowledges in the new EU trade policy blueprint that Fair Trade contributes to developing more sustainable trade opportunities for small producers in third countries. It also identifies a list of new pro-active initiatives the EC will take, such as supporting EU delegations in promoting Fair Trade among small producers in the Global South or putting in place a ‘EU City for Fair and Ethical Trade’ award. The Fair Trade movement welcomes the recognition by the Commission that comprehensive strategy to make trade fair must necessarily involve unlocking the power of citizens, businesses, small producers, local authorities, with a smart combination of top-down and bottom-up approaches.

                                                                                                            DSC 0378

                                            Fair Trade breakfast at the European Parliament (14 October 2015)

                                                                  For picture with higher resolution click here

We thank Commissioner Malmström for the open dialogue with the Fair Trade movement and the various concrete initiatives in support of Fair Trade announced in the new EU Trade Strategy”, stated Sergi Corbalán, Executive Director of the Fair Trade Advocacy Office. The Fair Trade movement welcomes the recognition that “trade should not be an end in itself” and calls on the European Union to implement the new EU trade agenda in a way that puts people and the planet first, as called for by the Alternative Trade Mandate Alliance. It also welcomes the commitment to apply transparency at all stages of the negotiating cycle of all trade negotiations.

                                                                                                                                                                               Lange

Chair of the EP International Trade Committee addressing participants of the the Fair Trade breakfast at the European Parliament (14 October 2015)

                                                                For picture with higher resolution click here

Marginalised producers and workers must have seat at the table when governments negotiate trade deals, which can have positive but also negative consequences on their livelihoods.“Phasing out unfair trade is a finish line that is still far. Let´s run this marathon together” concluded Sergi Corbalán.

Click here to read the FTAO position paper “An innovative EU approach in support of Fair Trade practices in the new EU Trade & Investment Strategy” of July 2015. 

         Linda  Cecilia edited

Chair of the EP Development Committee and Fair Trade Working Group Linda McAvan and EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström keynote speech at the Fair Trade breakfast at the European Parliament (14 October 2015)

                                                                For picture with higher resolution click here

 

                                                                      ENDS

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.

Contact:

Sergi Corbalán | corbalan@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

www.fairtrade-advocacy.org

 

 



Campaigners call on world leaders to ‘light the way’ ahead of key UN Summit

 action2015

BRUSSELS, 24 September 2015. Today, in more than 70 cities around the world, including Brussels, tens of thousands of activists backed by leaders such as Desmond Tutu and Malala Yousafzaicalled on governments to commit to the new Global Goals for Sustainable Development and tackle the most urgent issues of our time – poverty, inequality and climate change.

 

In Brussels, action/2015 Europe has brought together citizens on the Esplanade of the European Parliament to write a message to world leaders with 5000 candles. A light show projected on the European Parliament building added to the call to leaders gathered in New York to “light the way” to a better future for people and the planet.

Tamira Gunzburg, Brussels Director of ONE, said: “Millions of us around the world are uniting because we share a common vision for a better life and demand that our leaders deliver an equal, safe and secure future. Tomorrow those leaders will have a chance to rise to that challenge by adopting a new set of Global Goals to tackle poverty, inequality and climate change. That is why we are here tonight to make sure they know that we are watching, and that we will hold them accountable to delivering on those new goals.

Action/2015 has organised over 100 events across the globe on the eve of the United Nations General Assembly, including:

- Mass demonstrations at the historic Constitutional Hill in South Africa;

- Visual illuminations at the iconic Sydney Opera House

- A concert and torch relay across 15 states in India.

The messages and voices of all those taking action around the world will come together at a spectacular light show `under one sky’ in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, a stone’s throw from the UN building in New York.

The new Global Goals for Sustainable Development are a historic opportunity to accelerate progress towards a better future for everyone. The Global Goals, to be adopted on Friday 25 September, have the potential to shape the next 15 years of global development and create momentum for a long-term climate agreement in December. The commitments in 2015 could achieve:

- An end to extreme poverty by 2030 that condemns millions of people, especially women and girls, to an early death, poor education and ill health.

- A turning point in the soaring levels of inequality and discrimination.

- An accelerated transition to 100% renewable energy, ensuring policies that take care of people and planet.

Sergi Corbalán, co-chair of the EYD2015 Civil Society Alliance and Director of the Fair Trade Advocacy Office, said "For the first time, the United Nations will adopt a series of shared objectives that will apply to all. The universality of the new Sustainable Development Goals’ framework is one of the most important features as it eliminates the old division between North and Southern countries. It makes us all responsible for the planet we inhabit and respectful of all its populations. The European Union must be a strong bearer of its values in this new era, a promoter of human rights, equity and justice, in Europe and globally. The European Year for Development in 2015 is specifically intended to bring citizens closer to those key concepts hoping in their increased involvement, critical thinking and shared responsibility. We call on the European Union and world governments to involve civil society as partners at all levels in the implementation of new Agenda 2030”.

action/2015, one of the world’s largest civil society campaigns made up of over 2000 organisations, networks and coalitions from 150 countries is calling on leaders to commit to implementing these Goals. This includes a commitment to:

- Walk the Talk: have a clear implementation plan, developed with the active participation of citizens - especially marginalized groups and local communities.

- Finance Our Future: ensure sufficient financial flows are made available to deliver all the goals in time. This should include domestic and international funding, meeting existing spending commitments and tackling unfair tax systems.

- Be Accountable & Transparent: Monitor and communicate your progress on implementing the goals. Parliaments, civil society organization and existing human rights and other existing reporting mechanisms should be central to this process.

 

END

 

Notes to editors

Please contact Giada Cicognola from ONE on giada.cicognola@one.org or +32 2 300 90 53 // +32 479 02 78 94 for interview requests, details of EU mobilisation, or for any other questions.

For an overview of the mobilisations taking place around the world and in Belgium, please see here.

EU Trade Commissioner reveals plans for Fair Trade

28 January 2015 (Brussels) – The European office of the city of Gothenburg organized on the 27 of January an event about the local and regional support to Fair Trade and its links with the EU trade agenda.

Cecilia Malmström was invited to present the “Fair Trade agenda” of the new Commission during her mandate as Trade Commissioner. Malmström acknowledged that Fair Trade is increasingly popular in the European Union and that the EU supports Fair Trade because “it delivers actual results”.  Furthermore, she sees the need for the EU to “look beyond a narrow definition of trade policy to address issues of trade fairness”.

DSC 0003Click here for higher resolution picture.

Bernd Lange, who chairs the International Trade Committee of the European Parliament and served as a host of the event, welcomed the participants and introduced the longstanding European Parliament’s support to Fair Trade by this European institution. He referred to the current EU efforts to upgrade social and ecological standards with partner countries. Karin Pleijel, the vice mayor of the city of Gothenburg, explained the various commitments that her city has taken in the area of Fair Trade, especially by raising awareness among citizens and encouraging local establishments to source more Fair Trade products and enlarge the Fair Trade offer of the city. She emphasized the importance of public procurement “in order to push the market into a fair direction”. A regional perspective was brought by Hans-Christoph Boppel from North Rhine-Westphalia. He showcased the different ways in which Fair Trade is supported: through the financing of civil society initiatives on Fair Trade, but also by stimulating Fair Trade businesses in the whole region, for example the city of Dortmund hosts the biggest Fair Trade show in Germany. He also referred to the importance of setting up a regional procurement strategy based on values. At the end of his speech he called on the EU to adopt a “European capital for Fair Trade” award that would encourage cities in Europe to go further in their Fair Trade commitments.

DSC 0012Click here for higher resolution picture.

Sergi Corbalán, Executive Director of the Fair Trade Advocacy Office gave concrete examples of how the EU could support Fair Trade in practice. On behalf of the Fair Trade movement, he asked the Commission to regard Fair Trade as a concept, an economic development strategy, rather than a certification. He furthermore invited Commissioner Malmström to become the Fair Trade ambassador during her mandate and promote concrete actions in favor of Fair Trade, for instance taking advantage of the European Year for Development throughout 2015.

The Commissioner, who declared to be “very encouraged that Goteborg and so many other regions, cities and towns across Europe are actively engaged in the promotion of fair trade” listened very attentively to the interventions and took note of the different proposals. In her words, the event was very timely because the Commission is defining its priorities on trade for her mandate, as well as shaping the trade contribution to the future development framework, for which Fair Trade could be used as a benchmark.

A pdf version of this FTAO statement can be found here.

ENDS

The Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO) speaks out on behalf of the Fair Trade movement 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 European Fair Trade Association and the World Fair Trade Organization-Europe. Through these three networks the FTAO represents an estimate of 2.5 million Fair Trade producers and workers from 70 countries, 24 labelling initiatives, over 500 specialised Fair Trade importers, 4,000 World Shops and more than 100,000 volunteers.

Contact:
Elba Estrada | estrada@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
www.fairtrade-advocacy.org

 

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

4 June 2015 (Brussels) - The Committee of the Regions plenary adopted today an opinion on Fair Trade. This EU advisory body representing local and regional authorities calls again on the European Commission to adopt a more ambitious approach to this topic

In the own-initiative opinion “local and regional support for Fair Trade in Europe”, its author Barbara Duden, Vice-President of the Free and Hanseatic Parliament of the City of Hamburg, expresses the need for a fully-fledged EU Fair Trade Strategy that mainstreams this concept across various EU policy areas: trade, development and sustainable consumption and production. The Committee of the Regions had already called for such a Strategy in an opinion dating from 2010, with no concrete follow-up by the EU.

One of the landmark initiatives that should be put forward is the setup of a European Fair Trade Capital Award. It would not only reward the various modalities of Fair Trade support by cities in Europe, but also help to disseminate the good examples to encourage other cities to take action in this area. In addition, this EU-wide recognition would be an incentive for them to go further in their commitments, besides giving visibility to the topic among citizens.

Local and regional authorities play a relevant role in promoting Fair Trade: by setting the example with their own consumption and by raising awareness among citizens. They can furthermore encourage the supply of Fair Trade products by economic actors in their territory. To date there are more than 1.500 communities in Europe that have been awarded Fair Trade town status.

“The European Commission is the best placed to mainstream Fair Trade, and should use the upcoming new EU Trade Strategy to do so” stated Sergi Corbalán, Executive Director of the Fair Trade Advocacy Office.                                                        

“In my country many of the good practices from the regional and local level are encouraged by the award of the German capital of Fair Trade, this should also be replicated at EU level with a similar scheme” declared Barbara Duden during her speech at the plenary session.

Plenary Room CoR

Further information

The Committee of the Regions press release is available here.

In support of the above mentioned opinion, the Committee of the Regions has issued a publication on “local and regional authorities promoting Fair Trade”.

Fair Trade campaigners and organisations from across the world, predominantly from Europe, meet each year at the International Fair Trade Towns Conference to share Best Practise. The 2015 Conference in Bristol UK focusses on 'Fair Trade for Sustainability' to tie in with Bristol's year as European Green Capital and explore how Fair Trade plays a part in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.


A pdf version of this press release can be found here.
ENDS


The Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO) speaks out on behalf of the Fair Trade movement 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 European Fair Trade Association and the World Fair Trade Organization-Europe. Through these three networks the FTAO represents an estimate of 2.5 million Fair Trade producers and workers from 70 countries, 24 labelling initiatives, over 500 specialised Fair Trade importers, 4,000 World Shops and more than 100,000 volunteers.

Contact:

Elba Estrada
Project Coordinator | estrada@fairtrade-advocacy.org
Tel: +32 (0) 2 543 19 24
Fair Trade Advocacy Office
Village Partenaire - bureau 1 | 15 rue Fernand Bernierstraat | 1060 Brussels – Belgium
www.fairtrade-advocacy.org

Fashion Revolution Day: what is in it for EU policy makers?

24 April 2015 (Brussels) The Fair Trade Advocacy Office is supporting Fashion Revolution Day on this important world-wide call for action to provoke a systemic change in the textile supply chain.

As pioneers in making supply chains work for the most disadvantaged in world trade, the Fair Trade movement welcomes this initiative that involve all parts of the supply chain to work towards concrete improvements in this sector, and that targets particularly consumers to contribute to this change. However, decision makers need to be made aware of their responsibilities towards this intolerable situation and the legislative and policy measures that are needed to address it.

ser

Soloba Mady Keita, Secretary General of the National Union of Cotton Producers’ Cooperative Societies in Mali, Sergi Corbalán, Executive Director of the Fair Trade Advocacy Office and Yousouff Sidibe, from the Association of African Cotton Producers with their clothes inside-out


We deeply deplore the dramatic events that happened in the factories in Bangladesh, Pakistan and other countries where ready-made clothing factories are located where workers don’t earn a decent living income and have to work in a dreadful environment. Unfortunately, these unacceptable conditions are to be felt all across the supply chain: cotton farmers are at the start of a long and complex chain in which they are virtually invisible and wield little power or influence. The current situation of West African countries shows the drastic injustice at the basis of the global trade system, an imbalance that the World Trade Organization (WTO) has so far not been able to address properly. This is why we call on the European Union to use its leverage in trade negotiations within WTO to address urgently cotton within the agriculture negotiations.

Governments are taking some actions towards improving working conditions in global supply chains. The EU, some of its Member States, and the G-7 are discussing different initiatives on cross-cutting issues or a specific value chain like the textile one. These proposals are a welcome step, but they should cover the entire chain: from farmers, including artisans and workers, to end consumers. Priority should be given to ensure that all parts of the chain are guaranteed a living income -in the case of farmers- or wage -in the case of artisans and workers-. The EU should take advantage of these initiatives to actively promote the uptake of Fair Trade schemes. This could be done by European consumers for the clothes they buy, but also by retailers as part of their sourcing policies, and lastly also by public authorities for their purchases. All these pro-active actions are needed for the whole market to shift towards sustainability and equity. 

2015 is a crucial year for the development agenda, not only at European level thanks to the European Year for Development, but also because the international community will be jointly defining the future development framework. It is time to act on all these fronts and bring about the political solutions to prevent these tragedies from happening again.

Read this article on Fashion Revolution website.

fash-rev-ftao-2015

The FTAO team

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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.

       ENDS

      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.

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      Fair Trade Advocacy Office

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

      www.fairtrade-advocacy.org

       

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