Cooperatives and Fair Trade promote people-centred businesses together

5 June 2013, Brussels - Cooperatives Europe and Fair Trade Advocacy Office join forces to underline the role that people-centred businesses should have in the EU development strategy. To this end they organized the high level conference ‘People-centred businesses: making supply chains work for small producers’, hosted by MEP Gay Mitchell.

While the EU has expressed the wish to work more closely with the local private sector to achieve EU development objectives, Cooperatives and Fair Trade underline the need to enhance an enterprise model putting people and not profit at the heart of business.

Cooperatives and Fair Trade have been important development actors of the private sector for many years. They have contributed to promote a more inclusive people-based enterprise model to the economic system and proving that it is viable and successful.

Harriet Lamb, CEO of Fair Trade International, said: “Businesses alone are not enough to tackle poverty; the EU should foster people-centred businesses. Cooperatives and Fair Trade have shown that they put high standards and strict rules on businesses, that they put people first, and still they are successful.”

Dirk J. Lehnhoff, President of Cooperatives Europe, said: “Cooperatives and Fair Trade are established development actors with long-term oriented business models. By putting people’s needs first, we have proven to be able to respond to sustainable, economic and social needs. We support the Commission initiative announced in the Agenda for Change to work with local private actors and we believe that member-owned businesses, which benefit local communities, should be key partners”.

Download the press-release in PDF here.

Notes to the editors

Cooperatives Europe is the European cross-sectoral organization representing cooperative enterprises. On behalf of its 90 member organizations from 34 European countries across all business sectors it promotes the cooperative business model in Europe. Its members represent 123 million individual member cooperators owning 160,000 cooperative enterprises and providing jobs to 5.4 million European citizens.

A cooperative enterprise is a group of people acting together to meet the common needs and aspirations of its members, sharing ownership and making decisions democratically.

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 Fair Trade 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.


Marc Nöel
Cooperatives Europe
T: +32 2 743 120 33

Hilary Jeune
Fair Trade Advocacy Office
T: +32 2 54 31 92 3

Uniting World Mayors for Fair Trade

27 May 2013 (Rio de Janeiro) – Support from the Mayors of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Seoul (South Korea), Poznan (Poland) and Oxford (United Kingdom), together with other world cities, to the “Fair Trade Beyond 2015” Declaration has been unveiled today. This declaration calls on world leaders to support Fair Trade in the post-2015 global sustainable development framework that will replace the Millennium Development Goals.

The “Fair Trade Beyond 2015” campaign - which kicked-off at the 6th International Fair Trade Towns Conference on 10 November 2012, with the signature of the “Fair Trade Beyond 2015” Declaration by the Mayor of the host city, Poznan - has found support of numerous fellow local authorities’ leaders around the globe. From Malmö (Sweden) in the North via New Koforidua (Ghana) to Rosario (Argentina) in the South, from Milan (Italy) in the West via Cologne (Germany) to Kumamoto (Japan) in the East and from many more cities in between, local leaders are speaking out for the need to reform trade rules and practices in order to overcome inequalities and to empower small producers and marginalised workers. By signing the “Fair Trade Beyond 2015” Declaration, the Mayors of these towns are jointly calling for a new global framework that aims to create a just, equitable and sustainable world and to support Fair Trade as a best-practice partnership for development between governments, local authorities, businesses and citizens. Support by locally elected leaders reinforces even further the recent resolution by the Inter-Parliamentary Union, an International Organisation of Parliaments who asked governments to continue to promote and support Fair Trade and to include it “as an integral component of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will be part of the post-2015 development agenda”.

During the week (26 to 31 May 2013) whenRio de Janeiro holds the title of “Global Fair Trade Capital”, Mayor Eduardo Paes has re-confirmed the sustainability credentials of his city, host of the Earth Summit in 1992 and of the recent follow-up “Rio+20” United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012. At today’s official ceremony to launch the 12th Biennial Conference of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), the signatures of the supporting Mayors have been handed over to the Brazilian government Minister of Labour and Employment, Manoel Dias.

In a video address, Filip Kaczmarek - lead Member of the European Parliament, responsible for the Parliament’s input into the “Beyond 2015” discussions - congratulated the Fair Trade movement on what he regards as a campaign ”of vital importance” to ensure that “Fair Trade is core to the new agenda”. Fair Trade is to him a “key tool for sustainable development”.

In the run-up to the United Nations High-Level meeting on the global sustainable development framework that will replace the Millennium Development Goals, scheduled for 23 September 2013, the signatures of the supporting Mayors will be presented to the participating government leaders, the European Union and the United Nations. “We call on world Mayors to join their fellow colleagues in thinking globally and act locally” stated, Sergi Corbalán, Executive Director of the Fair Trade Advocacy Office.

Download the press release in PDF here. The list of signatories and further information can be found here.


Contact: Hilary Jeune


Tel: +32 (0)2 54 31 92 3

Fair Trade Advocacy Office

Village Partenaire - bureau 12

15 rue Fernand Bernierstraat

1060 Brussels - Belgium


New Global Challenges Need New Global Leadership

Civil society networks identify gaps in the job description of the new WTO Director-General

Brussels 28 January 2013 - On the eve of the job interviews that will be held at the World Trade Organization (WTO) with the candidates to replace the current Director-General, Pascal Lamy, civil society networks point out gaps in the job description. They call on WTO members to appoint a leader with a recognised track-record in making trade serve the wider interests of society.

The term of office of the current Director-General of the World Trade Organization, Pascal Lamy, ends on 31 August 2013. In line with WTO procedures, the candidates have been invited to meet with WTO Members at a formal General Council meeting in Geneva tomorrow, 29 January, where they will be asked to present themselves and their vision for the WTO, followed by a question-and-answer session. The meeting will be followed by discussions amongst WTO Members, held behind closed doors. The selection process is expected to end with the announcement of the new Director-General by the General Council no later than 31 May 2013.

Read more: New Global Challenges Need New Global Leadership

EU’s Snail Pace To Tackling Supply Chain Abuse

Brussels 31 January 2013 - Acknowledging the abusive buying practices which are widely applied in European grocery supply chains, the European Commission has just launched its European Retail Action Plan and a Green Paper on unfair trading practices. While the paper notes widespread supply chain abuses which disadvantage suppliers, it recommends running a ‘twin-track’ approach where one track experiments with a voluntary weak system managed by trade associations operating close to the retail end of the supply chain.

Whilst the paper is a welcome acknowledgement of the bullying practices employed in the industry, experience shows that a voluntary approach is not credible and the EU should not waste time or resources nor should it give such an approach any legitimacy.

Read more: EU’s Snail Pace To Tackling Supply Chain Abuse



INVITATION: Online press briefing, Tuesday June 27, at 10.00, with speakers from a new campaign about rethinking the future EU budget to advance ‘Scenario 6: Sustainable Europe for its Citizens’. More information below.
Brussels, June 20, 2017 – More than 250 non-government organisations from across Europe have today released an alternative vision for a more democratic, just and sustainable Europe. [1]
Intended to influence the debate on the future direction of Europe, this alternative vision is endorsed by organisations representing a multitude of public interest issues, including labour rights, culture, development, environment, health, women’s rights, youth, and anti-discrimination groups.
It comes ahead of a summit of EU leaders this week with the key issues for Europe’s future on the agenda, including migration, security, jobs and Brexit. This week also marks the one year anniversary of the UK’s vote to leave the European Union (June 23) which propelled questions about the future of Europe up the political agenda.
The vision describes a future for Europe in which “sustainability sits firmly at the heart of the European project,” and the EU focuses on “democracy and participation, social and environmental justice, solidarity and sustainability, respect for the rule of law, and human rights both within Europe and around the globe”.
The organisations are putting this scenario for the future forward as an alternative to proposals from European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, including five ‘Future of Europe’ scenarios which are currently being consulted on with member states with first conclusions due at the end of the year. [2]
For SDG Watch Europe and Friends of the Earth Europe, Leida Rijnhout, said: “The five scenarios for the future of Europe put forward by President Juncker are all deeply disappointing and have little connection to the challenges that the European Union faces. Instead we need a bold vision – an alternative sixth scenario – that puts social and environmental wellbeing at the core. The implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development should be absolutely key for a future that serves people and the planet, not vested interests.”
General Secretary of EPSU (European Public Service Union), Jan Willem Goudriaan, said: “Public services and decent work are key ingredients for a fairer, more cohesive and sustainable Europe. Everyone benefits from investment in, for example, high quality public healthcare, social services, education, and environmental services. Rather than liberalising public services for the benefit of the few, Europe should develop a proactive strategy to strengthen public investment and democratic accountability in the provision of quality public services for all.”
Director of CEE Bankwatch Network, Petr Hlobil, added: “There is a crisis of imagination in Brussels. Reforming the EU Budget holds part of the key to unlocking a progressive and inspiring new vision for Europe. Innovating in how we involve citizens and civil society in EU spending to build flourishing, sustainable futures, and designing EU finance to create more equal societies through this great transition to sustainable well-being, hold the highest potential to reconnect people with the European project.”
Secretary General of the European Public Health Alliance , Nina Renshaw, said: “We are all living healthier lives today thanks to the EU, but it is only through their continued action that we can tackle cross-border health challenges like antimicrobial resistance and make sure we have a healthy population to unlock the full potential of social and economic policies. 70% of Europeans want the EU to do more on health – yet their voices go unheard. The debate on the future of Europe is an unmissable opportunity to put better health at the heart of all policies, ensure stronger protection for patients and consumers and better access to healthcare, which will make a huge difference to all of us.”

[1] 256 organisations are supporting ‘Scenario 6: Sustainable Europe for its Citizens’, see:
[2] The European Commission's White Paper on the Future of Europe is available at:
For more information please contact:
Friends of the Earth Europe/SDG Watch Europe: Leida Rijnhout,, +32 494 89 30 52
EPSU: Jan Willem Goudriaan,, +32 475 25 69 12
EPHA: Giulia Vettorem, +32 2 233 38 84
CEE BankWatch Network: David Holyoake,, +32 470 36 98 17

CEE Bankwatch Network, CEEweb for Biodiversity, Friends of the Earth Europe and SDG Watch Europe invite you to an online press briefing: RETHINKING THE FUTURE EU BUDGET TO ADVANCE A SCENARIO SIX FOR EUROPE
When: Tuesday 27 June 10:00-11:00 CET
Where: The briefing will be live-streamed at
Next week the European Commission will release a proposal about the future of the EU’s finances beyond 2020. This reflection paper will be the last piece to Juncker’s White Paper on the Future of Europe, and will provide the first detailed look at the funding arrangements for the five scenarios outlined by the Commission.
A gathering campaign across many Member States is calling for a reformed EU budget to help advance many of the key themes in Scenario Six – the civil society alternative scenario based on sustainability, democracy and social and economic well-being
We invite you to join an online briefing about ‘Scenario Six’ for the Future of Europe, and a fresh approach to the EU’s finances – a People’s Budget – as one of the keys to unlocking a positive future for a new Europe.
For more information about the briefing contact


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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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