European Parliament President speaks out for Fair Trade

Buzek_Fair_Trade_-_9_March_2011__copyrightOn the occasion of the World Fair Trade Day the President of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek stated:

”World Fair Trade Day is a good opportunity for the European Parliament to show its support to the Fair Trade Organization and related stakeholders’ actions. The WFTO volunteers, activists and campaigners shoulder to shoulder strive to raise awareness of the importance of consumer choice in supporting marginalised producers and workers in the South.

The global economic recession, food crisis and climate change affect disproportionally the world’s most vulnerable. With more than a third of the world’s population living in poverty, the global crisis cements the need for a fair and sustainable economy both locally and globally. Fair Trade is not about charity: it is about making trade work for development and fighting against exploitation and exclusion of those whose voices are barely heard - children, women and indigenous peoples.

Europe is the hub of Fair Trade: between 60% and 70% of global fair trade sales take place here. The European Parliament’s support of Fair Trade reflects clearly the attitude of EU citizens. Certificates and labels now enable more and more EU citizens to knowingly choose Fair Trade products.

I am very proud that the European Parliament has been closely involved in the debate through its policy discussions and resolutions. The cross-party Fair Trade Working Group at the European Parliament shows the strong commitment of our institution in this regard. Even our own cafeterias and restaurants offer a wide range of Fairtrade certified products.

Consumer awareness can be a powerful tool for the construction of a more equitable world. Today it should serve as a reminder of the change that our daily actions can bring. Fair trade does not mean that all other trade is "unfair". However, it provides for certain guarantees regarding the production methods and the value chain, thus contributing to empowering both marginalised producers and the consumers.”

Jerzy Buzek



LETTER TO FAIR TRADE SUPPORTERS

Dear Fair Trade supporters,

I would like to congratulate The World Fair Trade Organization on the occasion of the World Fair Trade Day celebrated on 14 May 2011, with the theme “Trade for people – Fair Trade your world”. This initiative is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of Fair Trade worldwide and its contribution to sustainable development.

Having started in the late forties, until today Fair Trade has benefited millions of small producers, artisans, farmers and manufacturers and their families from Asia, Africa, and South America. This shows the potential of Fair Trade as a powerful contributor to poverty reduction, offering economic and social empowerment to small producers.

The Fair Trade movement has unquestionably gained ground. It is impressive how Fairtrade certificates and labels became well-known symbols associated with sustainable development and consumer responsibility. More and more EU citizens vote with their wallets and choose Fair Trade products. It is clear that Europe is Fair Trade's home: between 60% and 70% of global sales take place here. A recent Eurobarometer report shows that “almost 40% of EU citizens are willing to pay more for products if they were produced under certain social and environmental standards or to support a developing country.

I can proudly say that the European Parliament has been closely involved in the debate on Fair Trade through policy discussions and resolutions. The cross-party Fair Trade Working Group at the European Parliament shows there is no political divide when it comes to supporting Fair Trade. Fair Trade is not about charity: it is about making trade work for development, in particular for marginalized producers and workers in the South. You must also be aware that our own cafeterias and restaurants here in the European Parliament offer a wide range of Fairtrade certified products.

Let me also congratulate you on the Fair Trade Towns campaign with almost 1000 towns worldwide involved, the majority being in the EU. This is a perfect example of good cooperation between local authorities, NGOs, volunteers and consumers, all in support of Fair Trade.

I would like to assure you of my full support for the work of the World Fair Trade Organization. Your mission successfully enables small producers to improve their livelihoods and communities. The European Parliament recognizes WFTO's enormous input into the fight against exploitation and exclusion of those whose voice is barely heard - children, women and indigenous peoples. Thanks to growing awareness we as consumers, can actively counteract the poverty and slavery using a shopping cart as our weapon.


Good luck with your future endeavors!

Jerzy Buzek


Full press release found here.

Download the photo here.

Download the letter here.

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