The FTAO advocacy in practice

How we work?

The office carries out advocacy in a number of ways. Here are a few examples, which can also be found in more detail throughout the website: 

● Follow policy developments on a number of issues that could affect Fair Trade and Trade Justice
● Liaise with European Commission officials, Members of the European Parliament, other EU Institution officials and Global South representations in Brussels 
● Present the Fair Trade movement and its positions on different policy areas to International Organisations, the European Union institutions, and civil society
● Write position papers, briefing documents, press releases, research, and newsletters

Why the European Union matters for Fair Trade?

The European Union (EU) is perceived as being technocratic and far-away from citizens. However, the EU Institutions and EU policy and legal competences have a great potential to contribute to the achievement of the Fair Trade movement vision. The EU has exclusive competence in the EU for Trade policy and important powers in key policy areas such as Development and Internal Market. The EU is also at the origin of 70% of legislation in the 27 EU Member States, such as Public Procurement rules. It is the largest Fair Trade market (around 60 to 70% of the world´s Fair Trade market) and largest provider of Overseas Development Assistance worldwide. In its bilateral and multilateral relations, it plays a leading role in setting global policies that have an impact on International Trade. 

Espresso with Anna Maria

Sergi Corbalán, the Executive Director of Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO) was invited to meet and have an “espresso” Fair Trade coffee with Anna Maria Darmanin, the Vice President of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) part of the “espresso with Anna Maria” video interview series. The FTAO was the first civil society actor (not a member of the EESC) to have been invited to participate in this series.

Sergi Corbalán explained that Fair Trade is acknowledged as an engine of sustainable development but the FTAO believes that European Union policies should mainstream Fair Trade principles across EU policies. He welcomed that the EESC has repeatedly supported the Fair Trade principles in several policy papers but also does so practically - all coffee, juice, bananas and chocolate served in the cafeterias are Fair Trade products. This is an important acknowledgement of how public authorities can make a difference for small producers with their own procurement policies.



What We Do

FTAO mission: to speak 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.

FTAO vision: a world in which justice and sustainable development are at the heart of trade structures and practices so that everyone, through their work, can maintain a decent and dignified livelihood and develop their full human potential

FTAO Scope of work: the FTAO is a joint political advocacy office by and for the Fair Trade movement. It is part of the Fair Trade movement political advocacy work, yet it does not aim however at coordinating all global Fair Trade movement advocacy activities.

The FTAO focuses its coordination on the Fair Trade movement´s political advocacy work on EU policies and EU input into global policies linked to the achievement of the goals and objectives laid down in the present strategic plan.

To learn more about our work and objectives, you can watch our introduction video or go to the FTAO 2020 Strategic Framework, visit our other section about Fair Trade and the EU, Trade Justice and the EU or our publications.

The FTAO advocacy in practice

FTAO in action (2016-2020)

The FTAO Annual Reports

To learn more visit the other sections of the website.

FTAO Board of Directors

The Board of Directors is the body with ultimate responsibility for the FTAO. It oversees the management and gives strategic advice to the FTAO. It meets three or four times a year. Its current members are:

  • Paul Spray (independent Chair)
  • Christian Bruns (independent member) 
  • Marco Coscione (representing Fairtrade International)
  • Barbara Crowther (representing Fairtrade International)
  • Rudi Dalvai (representing the World Fair Trade Organization–Global)
  • Sophie Tack (representing the World Fair Trade Organization – Europe)

FTAO Networks

The FTAO is supported by and cooperates in a number of ways with the members of the Fair Trade movement and external experts.

FTAO Expert Groups

The FTAO has three expert networks on Fair Trade, Fair Trade Public Procurement and Trade Justice. These groups give advice to the FTAO and serve as information exchange networks on relevant advocacy and policy developments. There are also specific project teams which are groups of experts set up for time-limited advocacy.

EU Fair Trade Advocacy Network

The EU Fair Trade Advocacy Network works with members on advocacy in the EU and gives input to and advises the FTAO in designing and setting up campaigns that brings together citizens and Fair Trade actors in the EU to achieve changes in EU and Global policies in support of Fair Trade and Trade Justice.

To see who participated in these groups in 2014 and 2015 please follow our Annual Report 2014-2015.

FTAO team


Executive Director: Sergi Corbalan        Tel: +32 (0) 2 543 19 23  sd


 Project Coordinator: Fabienne Yver     Tel:+32 (0) 2 543 19 24  sd


Project Coordinator: Peter Möhringer      Tel:+32 (0) 2 543 19 23  sd


Finance & HR Consultant: Michael Fivet Tel: +32 475 51 69 18

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Communication Assistant: Angelos Athanasopoulos          Tel:+32 (0) 2 543 19 23  sd


Advocacy Assistant: Farah Altaher                  Tel:+32 (0) 2 543 19 23  sd




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    {mosmap |text='Fair Trade Advocacy Office
    Bureau 9A – Village Partenaire, 15 rue Fernand Bernierstraat
    1060 Brussels - Belgium'|tooltip='xxxxxxx'}

    Fair Trade Advocacy Office

    Village Partenaire - bureau 9A
    Rue Fernand Bernierstraat, 15
    1060 - Brussels - Belgium
    Tel: +32 (0) 2 543 19 23
    Fax : +32 (0) 2 543 44 81
    e-mail: info[at]
    Skype: ftaobrussels

    The Fair Trade Advocacy Office is a joint initiative of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO) and the European Fair Trade Association (EFTA).

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