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.


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.

Elba Estrada | | Tel: +32 (0)2 54 31 92 3
Fair Trade Advocacy Office
Village Partenaire - bureau 1 | 15 rue Fernand Bernierstraat | 1060 Brussels – Belgium


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.


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.


The FTAO team

Business Unusual 2006

New book discloses the reasons behind the success of Fair Trade

In response to the growing interest in Fair Trade, the international Fair Trade movement yesterday launched its first joint book about the reasons behind the ongoing success of this alternative business model.

Brussels, 29th November 2006

Read more: Business Unusual 2006

New Research Reveals Success of Fair Trade in Europe

A recent survey, carried out in 25 European countries, shows that Fair Trade sales in Europe have been growing at an average 20% per year since 2000. The annual net retail value of Fair Trade products sold in Europe now exceeds € 660 million. This is more than double the figure five years ago. Fair Trade has thus become one of the fastest growing markets in the world.

Brussels, 20th February 2006

Read more: New Research Reveals Success of Fair Trade in Europe


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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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