We are happy to send you the third edition of the FLO electronic newsletter. In this issue, you will read about Fairtrade entering the Hong Kong market and will get a more in-depth look at the work of Mr. Binod Mohan, Chairman of the Network of Asian Producers (NAP), one of the three Producer Networks which recently became members of FLO. As always, you will read about the initiatives undertaken by Fairtrade Certified Producers Organizations and the latest promotional campaigns in countries where Fairtrade is active. We hope you will enjoy reading and will recommend our newsletter to your friends and colleagues who are also concerned with Fairtrade issues.
FLO International Editorial Team
Fair trade products, both food as well as non-food products, are slowly entering the Hong Kong market. Many shops in the great Asian city, with a population of over 7 million people, are already offering fair trade products to their consumers. FLO Fairtrade Certified products are also becoming increasingly available in many supermarkets stores and coffee shops. However, the fair trade concept is still very new in Hong Kong and a lot of awareness raising work needs to be done in order to popularize the concept among consumers. Last year, with the objective to raise such awareness, Oxfam Hong Kong initiated the “Make Trade Fair” campaign in the city. As part of the campaign, Oxfam organized at the beginning of August a seminar titled “Fair Trade in Hong Kong: Market Potentials and Challenges”.
The seminar, which took place from 3-4 August, was mostly directed to traders and retailers in Hong Kong. The seminar included the participation of one speaker from the International Fair Trade Association (IFAT), Mr. Lucas Caldeira, Board member of IFAT, and a speaker from Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO), Verónica Pérez, FLO Communications Officer. Besides explaining the history of the Fair Trade movement as well as its developmental impact, both speakers explained to the attendees, over 30 people, the market opportunity that Fair Trade represents in Hong Kong. The Seminar closed with an open session that any one could attend and a panel discussion on Fair Trade.
During FLO's last General Assembly held on 25 May 2007, the three Producer Networks, AFN (African Fairtrade Network), CLAC (Coordinadora Latinoamericana y del Caribe de Comercio Justo), and NAP (Network of Asian Producers) officially became full members of FLO. The task of the Producers Networks is crucial: they represent the interests of Fairtrade producers in their regions within the FLO system. Since September 2006 Mr. Binod Mohan is the Chairman of the Asian Network, NAP. Three months since NAP became part of the decision-making body of FLO, Jennifer Stapper, from the FLO Communications Team, interviewed Mr. Mohan to find out about his experience and views on the future of Fairtrade in Asia.
JS: Since the creation of NAP in 2005 how has the network developed?
BM: The network is developing rapidly and is now registered in the Philippines. We have difficulties due to the diversity of Asia and are establishing regional bodies. The Sri Lanka Consultative Body and the Indian Fair Trade Initiative are now functioning and we hope to have some more in place soon.
JS: As a network you represent producers in Asia. What are your other tasks?
BM: The tasks of NAP are defined in our Mission Statement: as a learning organisation to reinforce mutual learning across various stakeholders within the network; as a facilitating organisation to facilitate pressures by which more producers can join the Fair Trade movement in Asia; as a lobbying organisation to ensure that Asian realities and conditions are taken into account while setting standards and rules.
JS: Since May 2007 your network has become a full member of FLO e.V., how has this changed your work as the Chairman? and as a network?
BM: As a network we are now a legally recognised stakeholder of FLO with a clearly defined role. While this gives more power to the Network, it also requires it to be more actively engaged in raising producer issues and also to ensure information flow to all producers. As Chairman of the Network, this change means more responsibility and more work.
JS: Do you collaborate with the other Fairtrade producer networks on other continents? If so, how?
BM: There is now regular interaction and meetings between the Network Chairpersons which has helped facilitate the resolving of several common issues. The recent strategic review consultation producer workshops for Asia, Africa and Latin America saw producer representatives attending each others workshops. I recall a special moment at the Asian Workshop, which was extremely fulfilling, when a producer from Africa was standing with flipchart and marker in hand conducting a detailed discussion with the Asian producers. The first steps toward the integration of producers from across the world !
JS: In your opinion what is the future of Fairtrade for Asia? Perhaps new products?
BM: Fairtrade in Asia is poised to grow rapidly because of such a large variety of products available. The growing economics of China, India and South East Asia have great potential to throw up new products with sufficient volumes to meet enhanced western demands.
JS: What are the main challenges for producers in Asia?
BM: The main challenges for producers in Asia is the lack of resources. Our network is very young and we are trying to raise resources to enable us to support our programs. There are vast differences amongst our producers based on regional, cultural, social and political factors and to integrate all these is a great challenge.
From 6-8 September the Tanzanian government, along with the European Union, organized a seminar about ways to improve cotton production in the region. Over ninety participants from different parts of the cotton industry in Africa gathered in Arusha, Tanzania for the seminar titled “Cotton in Africa: Trends, Incentives and Institutions: What Works? What doesn’t? And Why?”. One of the themes addressed was “Producing for Niche markets: Opportunities and Constraints.” In this context, Alex Assanvo, Regional Coordinator West Africa and Product Responsibility for Cotton Worldwide, of FLO International spoke about Fairtrade cotton and addressed questions about Fairtrade from the participants.
From 8-13 May, 2007 the Producer Business Unit (PBU) Asia held a team workshop in Thailand. During the workshop the team reviewed its support work with Asian producers over the past year and established plans to continue high quality support in the region. This was the second workshop after the introduction of new liaison officers last June. Over the past year, 4 recently appointed liaison officers in India, Thailand and Vietnam, along with an already established officer in Pakistan, have provided Asian producers with increased access to communication with FLO and a better understanding of Fairtrade. At the workshop the team set objectives to strengthen existing cooperation and further engage all Fairtrade Certified Producers who wish to benefit from their services in the coming year. The officers committed to the development of special training materials to address the most pertinent support requirements of producers in the region. The PBU Asia team thanks all producers for their dedication towards improving their Fairtrade practices, and looks forward to continued close partnerships.
A research study on cotton pricing will be undertaken in the coming months. The price research will be coordinated by the Fairtrade Foundation UK on behalf of the FLO Standards Unit.
Currently the countries for which Fairtrade Minimum Prices and Premiums have been set include: Mali, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Egypt, India, Pakistan, Brazil and Peru. The objective of this research is to extend the number of seed cotton producing countries having access to the Fairtrade market by defining regional prices worldwide.
Expanding Fairtrade certification to more cotton farmers is especially important given the ongoing drop in the world market price for this commodity (minus 20% over the last eight years). It is expected that by entering the Fairtrade market, which is growing very rapidly, thousands of cotton farmers and their communities will be able to benefit and improve their livelihoods.
The following regions will be covered by the review, with a specific focus on the following countries:
Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Paraguay
Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal, Benin
Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi, Madagascar
It is expected that the seed cotton price review will be completed by the end of June 2008.
For more information, please contact Arisbe Mendoza at firstname.lastname@example.org from the FLO Standards Unit and Juergen Mueller at email@example.com from the Fairtrade Foundation UK.
The Network of Fairtrade and Organic Small Banana Producers in Peru (REPEBANCJ-PERÚ in Spanish) organized the first International Conference on Organic Bananas in the Peruvian city of Mallares from 20-22 June 2007.
Speakers from Peru and from all over the world met in Mallares to discuss about technical and productive aspects of the banana culture, Fairtrade banana market and new businesses opportunities for Peruvian organic bananas.
The second day of the Conference was entirely dedicated to the Fairtrade banana market. Three representatives of the Fairtrade labelling system participated in the discussions. Mrs. Tatiana Mateluna, FLO Manager for Latin American, gave an introduction to the International Fairtrade Market, Rebekka Belk, Fresh Fruit Responsible at Max Havelaar France, informed the attendees about the characteristics of the international Fairtrade banana market, and Manuel Aguirre, FLO Liaison Officer for Peru, talked about his experiences with Fairtrade Certified Banana Producer Organizations in Peru. After each presentation panel discussions were hold.
"The organization of the Conference by the banana producers members of REPEBANCJ is evidence of the development degree that they are reaching, development that to a great extent is due to Fairtrade as they themselves recognize. The attendance of the producers was massive and their participation during each of the 3 days the Congress lasted was very good", said Manuel Aguirre.
The representatives of REPEBANCJ-PERU also showed their satisfaction for the high participation in the conference and have already announced that a Second International Conference on Organic Bananas will take place in Peru in 2009.
If you want to know more about the activities of REPEBANCJ-PERÚ, click here.
On July 7th 2007, representatives from joint bodies of Fairtrade Certified flower farms from Ecuador and Colombia met in Rumipamba de las Rosas in Ecuador. A total of 12 joint bodies were represented at the meeting. Every joint body includes workers and a management team from the farms responsible for the use of the Fairtrade Premium, an amount of money to be used to improve the living and working conditions of workers in the flower farmers. At present, there are eleven Fairtrade Certified flower farms in Ecuador and two in Colombia, comprising a total of over 2500 workers who benefit directly from the projects financed by the Fairtrade Premium.
The objective of the meeting was to make a joint assessment of the Fairtrade standards for flower farms, particularly referring to the use of the Fairtrade Premium and of the joint bodies guideline document. This assessment will be used during the review process of the Joint Bodies Guidelines that the FLO Standards Unit is currently carrying out. The importance of this meeting lies in the fact that it’s the first time that joint bodies representatives have the opportunity to transmit directly their feedback and proposals to FLO.
“We learned a lot about the other Fairtrade flower farms. This exchange gave me a lot of ideas to implement new projects in our farm", explained Pilar Rocha, member of the Joint Body of Cotopaxi, one of the Fairtrade Certified flower farms in Ecuador.
The discussions were facilitated by Julia Malquín, FLO Liaison Officer for Flowers in Ecuador and in Colombia. The meeting was also attended by Tatiana Mateluna Estay, FLO Producer Business Unit (PBU) Manager for Latin America.
On 22 August TransFair, FLO Labelling Initiative in Germany, officially launched products made out of Fairtrade Certified Cotton on the German market.
By entering the German market, it is expected that more Fairtrade Certified cotton cooperatives will soon be able to sell a higher proportion of their produce under Fairtrade terms. The first Fairtrade cotton which will be on sale in Germany comes from producers in Mali and Peru. In the future, once the market is more mature, it is not to be excluded that Fairtrade cotton from other countries will also be available in Germany.
The first products made out of Fairtrade cotton which will soon be available to German consumers are Jeans (Gardeur), dresses and skirts (Nanso), t-Shirts (Nanso, Switcher, Social Fashion Company, Milch Fairtrade Shirts, Memo, Better Merchandising and Helvetas), towels and bath mats (Christy Towels, Dömer Clarysse), linens (Frankenstolz) and cotton pads (Hydra).
To find out where to find these products, please check the TransFair website: www.transfair.org
Copenhagen is to be a pioneer for the rest of Denmark in the endeavour to ensure a commitment to Fairtrade. Max Havelaar and the Danish Association for International Co-operation (Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke) have collaborated in drafting an application for Copenhagen to be the first Fairtrade city in Denmark.
Lord Mayor of Cepenhagen, Ritt Bjerregaard states:
We live in a globalised time which for many people in the Western world means an abundance of cheap and good products. But it only makes sense, if the people on the other side of the globe, who are making the things we consume, can work under decent conditions. Therefore we are happy and proud about the invitation from Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke to become Denmark’s firs Fairtrade Town. Our consumption here in Copenhagen has consequences for the living conditions of people on the other side of the globe. As a society we have a responsibility that the things we purchase are made under decent working conditions and that there has been paid decent wages for the job. The capital of the country should lead the way and commit itself as a Fairtrade Town.
At present over 270 Fairtrade Cities exist world-wide. The Fairtrade City Campaign was originally born in the UK. While in the last three years campaigns have been successful in Belgium, Italy, Canada, Finland and Sweden.
The positive announcement from Copenhagen city is the starting signal for a joint campaign between Max Havelaar and Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke which is aiming to have a large number of cities in Denmark approved as Fairtrade Cities. The Fairtrade City campaign was started at Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke’s large “FAIR Fælled” Festival on 25-26 august in Fælledparken in Copenhagen. With a two day programme of open-air entertainment and stands from different fairtrade products, it was a folks festival kick-off.
The director of Max Havelaar Denmark, Judith Kyst, comments on the impact of such a move to Fairtrade:
Copenhagen municipality is a consumer with an enormous purchasing power. The municipality can therefore make a difference when it purchases textiles, coffee, tea and so on.
The next FLO Standards Committee meetings will take place in Bonn on the 26th and 27th of November 2006. The Minutes of the Standard Committee Meetings are published on the FLO website two or three weeks after they take place.
For its third consecutive year FLO will have a stand at the Biofach Latin America, which will take place in Sao Paolo (Brazil) from the 16th to the 18th of October 2007.
http://www.fairtradeaction.netThe first seminar of the International Fairtrade Action Network will take place in Helsinki, Finland from 5-7 October 2007. For more information go to: Fairtrade Action Network.
The first European Fair Trade Fair will be held in Lyon, France, from February 1 to February 3 2008. For more information about the Fair you can visit the website: http://www.salon-europeen-commerce-equitable.org.
Anuga, one of the most important trade fairs for the world of food and beverages will take place in Cologne, Germany, from 13th-17th October 2007. FLO's member Labelling Initiative in Germany, Transfair Germany, will have a stand at Anuga, which will also be attended by FLO staff members.