European Parliament’s report on textile supply chains puts pressure on Commission to act

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On Thursday 27 April, during the Fashion Revolution Week and in remembrance of the deadly 2013 Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, a large majority of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voted in favour of the resolution on the garment sector, led by MEP Lola Sanchez Caldentey (GUE/NGL).
The Fair Trade movement welcomes this report emphatically. Besides the important call for binding due diligence (that could create a precedence for other sectors), the report calls on the European Commission (EC) to promote transparency, ILO core conventions such as union rights and to follow OECD guidelines in implementing due diligence obligations. It features also recognition of the full supply chain including cotton and the informal sector, while calling for support in different EU tools for fairer trade, for tariff preferences for Fair Trade products, and the unlocking of the power of public procurement.
The Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO), signatory of the Clean Clothes Campaign open letter to the EC urging for more transparency in the textile supply chain, welcomes the adoption of the report by the European Parliament as the first step toward a fair global value chain in the textile industry.

European Consensus on Development: recognition of fair and ethical trade as an important asset


On 17 May 2017 the European Union adopted the new Consensus on Development. The document is a new common vision for development policy for the EU and its Member States. It provides the framework for a common approach to development policy that will be applied by the EU Institutions and the Member States and will guide their action in their cooperation with all partner countries, responding to the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development.
The Fair Trade movement welcomes this new consensus, particularly the recognition that “promoting fair, transparent and ethical trade, including with small producers in developing countries, can make a strong contribution to implementation of the 2030 Agenda”. The Fair Trade movement is looking forward to working with the EU on its commitment that the EU’s “[d]evelopment cooperation will help to reinforce the inclusion and implementation of trade and sustainable development chapters in trade agreements, […] and support for fair and ethical trade”.

Furthermore, together with our partners in the cooperative movement, we welcome the EU’s commitment “to promote private sector initiatives and social enterprises, cooperatives, and women and youth entrepreneurs, to boost the provision of local services as well as inclusive and green business models”, acknowledging the democratic and inclusive nature of cooperatives.

Assessing coffee farmer household income

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The social enterprise TruePrice, jointly with Fairtrade International, conducted a study to assess the household income of 450 coffee farmers from Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, India, Indonesia and Vietnam. Indeed, many farmers continue to struggle to make ends meet and this study enables Fairtrade International to help them towards a decent standard of living. Indeed, some Fairtrade farmers are attaining a living income, while others are even making a loss on coffee production.
The report gives lots of useful insights for Fairtrade International’s living income strategy, and for future collaboration with the coffee industry, as it is one of the most detailed to date.

EU process on Unfair Trading Practices (UTPs) must not forget about non-EU producers

Nathalie Bertrams

On 20 June Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan announced an Incept Impact Assessment as the first step of a possible legislative process on Unfair Trading Practices (UTPs). Under the better regulation guidelines this will take 12 weeks and will then be followed by a 12 weeks public consultation, resulting in a possible legislative draft to be expected in the first half of 2018. This announcement follows last year’s report of the European Parliament that called for EU action after years continued delays on this file.

The Fair Trade movement welcomes that the EC is looking at tackling the issue of power in groceries supply chains. To effectively combat UTPs the Fair Trade movement continues its call for fair and credible enforcement from member states that is coordinated at the EU-level. Pivotal for the creation of a level playing field in any new legislation is the inclusion of non-EU producers exporting into the EU under the scope. As proven in many case studies (e.g. for bananas, green beans, mango, cashew, etc.) UTPs in supply chains into the EU negatively impact producers in the Global South and thereby jeopardize the EU’s development efforts and SDG commitments.

Event on linking SMEs to Fair Trade producers in the European Parliament

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On 10 May 2017, the Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO) organized a conference in the European Parliament (EP) titled “Promoting sustainable value chains by linking SMEs to Fair Trade producers in the Global South”. The event was hosted by MEP Bernd Lange (S&D, DE), Chair of the Parliamentary Committee on International Trade (INTA) and by MEP Dita Charanzová (ALDE, CZ), Vice-Chair of the Parliamentary Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO).
The first part of the conference was a workshop during which several perspectives on the sustainable value chains were outlined. Jane Katahwire Mbabazi, a coffee producer from Uganda, explained the initiatives undertaken by her Fairtrade-certified cooperative while Silvia Fontana from GALA Cosmetici represented the SMEs sourcing from sustainable suppliers. Different case studies from Brazil and the Netherlands were examined during this workshop.
The panel debate, moderated by San Bilal from ECDPM, gathered MEP Linda McAvan, Chair of the EP Development Committee and of the EP Fair Trade Working Group, Jolana Mungengová, member of Cabinet of Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström, Leonard Mizzi, Head of Unit at Directorate-General for Development Cooperation (DEVCO) as well as Claudio Cappellini, Head of EU Affairs at CNA, Member of the European Association of Craft, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (UEAPME) and Sergi Corbalán (FTAO).
The debate was followed by a Fair Trade cocktail, during which the attendees had the opportunity to discuss with Dario Soto, CEO of Fairtrade International and Natalia Leal, Chief Executive of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO).
The minutes of the conference are available here.


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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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