World Fair Trade Day 2015 Press Release: Be an Agent for Change

The World Fair Trade Organization celebrates the World Fair Trade Day on 9 May 2015 with Agents for Change worldwide! Everyone who is making a difference, supports change and is interested in becoming an Agent for Change is welcome to participate in our celebration. In fact, we want you to be part of our change-making mission.
Fair Trade is change. Fair Trade products and the people in the Fair Trade supply chain are making a difference every minute, every time a Fair Trade product is purchased. Backed by consumers who believe in their purchasing power, Fair Trade makes positive change every day.

“Fair Trade is unstoppable. It’s a growing solution to fight poverty, social injustices and climate change. Many companies and organisation worldwide are embracing Fair Trade and sustainable practices because of the growing demand for a sustainable future for all of us. At WFTO alone, Fair Trade Organisations are growing with an overall sales turnover of over €430 million for 2014. And every month we are expanding as more and more organisations are joining the Fair Trade movement and the WFTO network.” – Rudi Dalvai, President of WFTO.

This year and the coming years of 2016 and 2017, WFTO will embark on a mission to invite more people, products, brands and organisations to be ‘Agents for Change.'

“We are going to expose and uncover people, products or other initiatives that are making positive change through Fair Trade. The world is a diverse place, with countless initiatives for change taking place on the ground. We want to hear your stories. And we want other people to emulate your stories of change. Join us in our ‘Be an Agent for Change’ campaign and we will celebrate World Fair Trade Day with you on 9 May 2015.” – Natália Leal, Chief Executive of WFTO.

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We call on change makers worldwide to come out and tell us your stories. Bring along your friends and family in our campaign ‘Agents for Change!’ 

We have a webapp to help you bring in your Agents out in the open. It’s a fun app (click here) that you can use to publicise your own Agents for Change. The social media ‘Share’ buttons can help you disseminate the information of your Agents to your own social network. It’s an easy and simple process:

• select an image of your Agent,
• upload it with a brief information about your Agent, and
• share it among your social media network!

How people can support this World Fair Trade Day:

• Use our web app and BE an Agent for Change;
• Share your photos on all your social media channels using hashtags #AgentChange #FairTrade and #WFTD2015
• Ask your friends and family to support Fair Trade and be Agents for Change;
• Organise a World Fair Trade Day event in your community and publicise your event on our website
• Be a Fair Trade consumer for life;
• Help us spread the word of Fair Trade by following our social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube

You can find the officiale Press Release on WFTO website.

Notes to Editor:
The World Fair Trade Day is an initiative of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) that takes place on the second Saturday of May of each year. It is an inclusive worldwide festival of events celebrating Fair Trade as a tangible contribution to the fight against poverty and exploitation, climate change and the economic crisis that has the greatest impact on the world’s most vulnerable populations. The global crisis confirms the need for a fair and sustainable economy locally and globally. Trade must benefit the most vulnerable and deliver sustainable livelihoods by developing opportunities for small and disadvantaged producers. Millions of producers and traders, businesses and policy makers, supporting organizations and volunteers have contributed to the substantial growth of Fair Trade globally.
For high resolution images, interviews and other queries, please contact Michael Sarcauga through email or give us a call +31345536487.

Over 50 civil society groups demand a paradigm shift in EU trade and investment policies

Over 50 civil society groups demand a paradigm shift in EU trade and investment policies

On 26 November 2013, a European alliance of over 50 civil society organisations launched the Alternative Trade Mandate, a proposal to make EU trade and investment policy work for people and the planet, not just the profit interests of a few. The launch took place as EU trade ministers and the European Commission are leaving for the World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations in Bali next week.

“The current trade and investment regime, imposed by the EU and the WTO, isn’t working. Prising markets open for global agri-business is wiping out small farmers and is a major cause of hunger. The deregulation of financial services through free trade agreements impedes tough regulation of the financial sector, paving the way for the next disastrous financial crisis. We need to break away from this corporate driven agenda,” says Charles Santiago, a member of the Malaysian parliament, who is in Brussels to support the launch of the Alternative Trade Mandate.

The new 20-page mandate proposes that core principles such as human and labour rights and environmental protection should drive EU trade policy. On several areas, such as food, work, money and raw materials, detailed proposals for change are outlined. One proposal is for the EU to become more self-sufficient in protein and oil crops as alternatives to imports of (genetically-modified) soybeans, palm oil and agrofuels, which are devastating for the environment and small farmers in the global south. The mandate also calls on the EU to hold European corporations accountable for human rights violations, environmental destruction, tax avoidance and tax evasion elsewhere.

The mandate also proposes a new process for initiating, negotiating and finalising trade and investment agreements, giving national Parliaments and civil society a stronger role and thereby rolling back policy-capture by big business.

“EU trade deals are negotiated behind closed doors in the interests of a few rich corporations. The people who are affected by these deals have never been asked what they really need. We want an open and democratic process, controlled by the people of Europe and their elected representatives, rather than unelected technocrats and corporate lobby groups,” says Pia Eberhardt from Corporate Europe Observatory, a member of the Alternative Trade Mandate Alliance.

The proposals outlined in the Alternative Trade Mandate were developed in a four-year process, with public workshops held all over Europe and which engaged a wide range of civil society groups from both within and outside the EU.

A series of papers with more detailed proposals on several pressing issues accompanies the main text. The proposals will form the basis of an EU-wide campaign to make trade and investment work for people and the environment, which will first focus on the European elections next May, asking parliamentary candidates to pledge support for the Alternative Trade Mandate.

“At a time of multiple global crises, the European Parliament needs MEPs who will stand up for trade rules that work for people and the planet. We need MEPs who will bring trade deals out of the shadows and into the light. We call on MEP candidates to stand up for democratic trade and investment rules that serve people, the economy and the environment at large – not just the profit interests of a few,” says Amélie Canonne, co-ordinator of the Alternative Trade Mandate Alliance.

During the launch of the Alternative Trade speakers from the global south, crisis-struck countries in Europe, trade unions, migrant groups and the European Parliament commented on the proposals. Also, on 27 November, a “walk of resistance and alternatives” took place through the EU quarter.

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon commends Fair Trade Beyond 2015

Following the transmission of the signatories of the Fair Trade Beyond 2015 Declaration the FTAO received in October post from New York. In the letter UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon states that he had taken note of our call for a new global framework that enables fair trade as a part of the renewed global partnership and commends the work of our vast network.

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Reiterating that it is his “firm conviction that the international community, including the United Nations system and the Member States, must devote due attention to the principles of fairness and the contribution of trade and investment to the sustainable eradication of poverty” Mr Ban Ki-moon expressed that he counted on the Fair Trade movement’s “strong and continued support to our overarching objective of advancing sustainable development and creating a just world where all people live with dignity and hope”.

Making supply chains work for small producers

jointpaper coverTogether with Cooperatives Europe the Fair Trade Advocacy Office released a joint contribution to the future EU strategy on “Strengthening the Role of the Private Sector in Achieving Inclusive and Sustainable Development”. This topic is a key issue within the implementation of the EU development policy ‘Agenda for Change’ and the discussions on the future global sustainable development framework once the United Nations Millennium Development Goals come to an end.

The joint paper highlights which opportunities the EU could gain from supporting and partnering with Fair Trade actors and cooperative enterprises to empower small producers in supply chains in order to achieve the EU poverty reduction and sustainable supply chains to satisfy also the EU market demand.

The document is a direct follow-up to the high-level conference that was organized at the European Parliament last June. It features the main ideas expressed during the event and the different contributions gathered from speakers and CSO organizations and gives suggestions on how EU policies can make supply chains work for small producers, for example by empowering small producers in the value chain, creating an enabling environment, adapting trade and trade-related policies and driving consumption through demand.

The cooperative and Fair Trade business models are market-based and put people at the very core of their businesses. Both apply a people-centred business model where profit is simply a means to serve people, not an end in itself.

Read the whole joint paper here

The ”Davos of Central and Eastern Europe” discusses Fair Trade beyond 2015

The ”Davos of Central and Eastern Europe” discusses Fair Trade beyond 2015

The 23rd edition of the Economic Forum was held in the first week of September in Krynica (Poland), also known as the “Davos of Central and Eastern Europe”.

For the very first time, Fair Trade appeared on the Forum’s official programme. A panel session “Fair Trade in the future UN Sustainable Development Goals Beyond 2015: what’s the role for companies and governments?” was held on 4 September 2013, organised by the World Fair Trade Organization-Europe, in cooperation with the Polish Fair Trade Association and the Fair Trade Advocacy Office.

The panellists were Ulrike Lunacek (Member of the European Parliament from Austria and Vice President of the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament), Pawel Zalewski (Member of the European Parliament from Poland [EPP] and member of the EP International Trade Committee), Xinquan Tu (Deputy Director of the China Institute for WTO Studies, University of International Business and Economics), Marion Lieser (Executive Director of Oxfam Germany), Giorgio Dal Fiume (President of the World Fair Trade Organization-Europe) and Bernhard Herold (Member of the Board of Directors of Fairtrade International). The panel was moderated by Sergi Corbalán (Executive Director of the Fair Trade Advocacy Office).

The discussion, which was organised in the context of the upcoming United Nations General Assembly (New York, 23-27 September 2013) on the future Sustainable Development Goals Post-2015, served to exchange views on Fair Trade and on what companies, local authorities and governments can do at their level to promote trade that upholds high sustainable development standards.

The panel also served to present the results of the “Fair Trade beyond 2015” declaration. This campaign, calling on world leaders to support Fair Trade and Trade Justice in the sustainable development framework beyond 2015, is so far supported by more than 150 mayors, 120 local leaders, 250 Civil Society Organisations from 32 countries around the world.

 Fair Trade panel Economic Forum debate                                photo Fair Trade panel Economic Forum 4 Sept 2013

More information:

On the Economic Forum                     

On Fair Trade                                    

On the Fair Trade beyond 2015 declaration



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