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July-August 2009

 
Fairtrade Label South Africa creates new Fairtrade opportunity

Fairtrade Label South Africa has joined the Fairtrade family as the first organization promoting the Mark in a developing country.  By building a national market, Fairtrade Label South Africa’s work means South African farmers can sell their products directly on the local market under the Fairtrade label.

The new agreement will be a model for other groups looking to introduce Fairtrade in their countries.  In new Fairtrade markets, FLO licenses the Mark on products while local organizations will be responsible for marketing and promotion.  Groups in Latin America, Asia, and Eastern Europe are already working with FLO to build Fairtrade sales in their countries.


Fairtrade Label South Africa’s signing ceremony in Bonn on Freedom Day, a South African national holiday commemorating the end of apartheid.
Thousands feast on world’s first international Fairtrade Breakfast

Tens of thousands woke up to Fairtrade in the world’s first international Fairtrade breakfast.  On World Fair Trade Day (May 9th), new converts discovered Fairtrade’s timely message via the sweet taste of certified sugar, coffee, tea, juices, biscuits and jam.

Besides boosting products in already established Fairtrade markets, breakfasts in Eastern Europe introduced Fairtade to an entirely new audience.  Breakfast events in seven Polish cities introduced Fairtrade certified products to hundreds of consumers for the first time. The Polish Coalition for Fair Trade also hosted a major press conference.  Thanks, in part, to their dedicated campaigning, Fairtrade in Poland is now taking off.  At Stop Café, a major coffee outlet in gas stations across the country, all coffee sold is Fairtrade certified.

Elsewhere in Europe, nearly 22 000 people in Switzerland indulged at participating restaurants, hotels, youth hostels, coffee shops, canteens, and at private events. The Fairtrade breakfasts were promoted by Swiss newspapers and radio stations and in an online contest held by Max Havelaar Switzerland.

More than 30 French cities held free Fairtrade brunches for the public. In Paris around 3000 enjoyed the Fairtrade brunch at Jardin des Halles, including the Mayor Bertrand Delanoë, singer Emma Daumas, and federal minister Michel Barnier.  Max Havelaar France distributed an additional 500 “brunch kits”.

More than 200 breakfasters were crowned kings and queens in Madrid, Spain.  “You have royal power” a banner proclaimed – a message to all consumers that the power to change international trade is in their hands.

Preparations are already underway for an even bigger international Fairtrade Breakfast campaign next year.


At a Fairtrade Breakfast event in France
Consumers boost Fairtrade sales by 22% in 2008

Despite the economic downturn, consumers are increasingly seeking out Fairtrade certified products.  FLO’s latest figures reveal that sales grew by an impressive 22% in 2008, as shoppers spent an estimated 2.9 billion Euros on Fairtrade products globally.

“We are very happy that consumers are supporting Fairtrade in ever increasing numbers,” says Ruth Simba, Coordinator of the African Fairtrade Network, the representative body of Fairtrade producers in Africa. “These Fairtrade sales make a real difference to the farmers and workers I represent. As the global recession hits us, the income and stability that Fairtrade brings is all the more important.”

FLO expects Fairtrade sales will continue to grow.  “It is very encouraging that consumer commitment to Fairtrade remains strong in these challenging times,” says Rob Cameron, FLO’s CEO. “We are indebted to the grassroots movement who have built up solid support for Fairtrade. As a result of their efforts, global brands see Fairtrade as an important part of their strategy for the future. We are working with both the grassroots movement and companies to increase the market, so that more producers will benefit from the better deal that Fairtrade offers.”

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Windward Islands farmers: doing it for themselves

In the remote island nations of the southern Caribbean, members of the Windward Islands Farmers Association (WINFA) have won a decades-long struggle for the right to sell their bananas directly to export.  By regaining control of their own supply chain, WINFA farmers have transformed their lives and their communities.

EU reforms in the 1990s ended favorable trade deals for Caribbean bananas.  This caused a major crisis in the island nations of St Vincent, St Lucia and Dominica, where bananas are a main source of income.  The number of banana farmers dropped from 25 000 to 4000 with a drastic impact on livelihoods, employment and national economies.  Local banana law brought additional challenges.  WINFA’s 3000 farmer members were stuck selling to companies who bought the bananas and resold to an exporter, reducing the income flow back to farmers.  So, even when WINFA became Fairtrade certified in 2000, the farmers were unable to reap the full benefits of their work.

Last year WINFA won the right to control their supply chain from production up to export.  Their direct relationship with the exporter has brought increased income as WINFA receives directly the Fairtrade minimum price and the Premium for social development projects.  WINFA farmers have used the additional funds to improve farming with new tools and materials, renovate community centres, purchase education and leisure equipment for their nurseries and schools, and fund health insurance and education projects.

“WINFA and Fairtrade have seized the opportunity for producers to control their destiny and their business,” says Marcella Harris, President of WINFA. “For us in the movement, there can be no greater challenge than that of fighting for the right to work, the dignity of earning a livelihood, providing for our families and contributing to the development of our communities, and by extension our countries."

450 European Parliament candidates pledge for Fair Trade

Fair Trade supporters across Europe successfully lobbied over 450 European Parliament candidates to pledge their support for Fair Trade.

The candidates agreed that if elected they will work to ensure that European Union (EU) institutions support Fair Trade, and that the needs of marginalized producers and workers in the South are reflected in all EU policy.

A complete list of candidates who made the pledge, including photos and personal statements, is available at: www.fairtrade-advocacy.org/pledge.  The Fair Trade Advocacy Office organized the campaign on behalf of the FINE network, which includes FLO and its partners.

 


The Pledge
Fairtrade@Work: Companies compete

Which company can make the biggest workplace commitment to Fairtrade? Over 200 companies competed for this prestige in Belgium’s high-profile Fairtrade@Work competition.

On May 7th, participating businesses launched creative activities to promote Fairtrade among their workforces, reaching an estimated 150 000 people. The national television group SBS-Belgium – one of the award winners – featured the Fairtrade@Work campaign throughout the day’s programming, reaching an additional 300 to 450 thousand people. Other winners included Sodexo, which served over 20 000 Fairtrade meals in over 80 companies. Details and pictures of the participating companies’ Fairtrade@Work programs are available at: http://www.maxhavelaar.be/work/


Presenter Roos Van Acker shows off SBS-Belgium’s Fairtrade@Work award
Fairtrade named “hottest brand” in Sweden

Two of Sweden’s biggest PR agencies awarded Fairtrade Sweden the title of “hottest” and “strongest” brand in the country. 

The designation came after a week of heated political campaigning at the annual Almedalen event –  a gathering of politicians, NGOs, businesses and decision makers from across the country.  Fairtrade Sweden set up a printing press and printed personalized t-shirts on the spot for over 300 Fairtrade supporters.  Famous politicians, singers, union activists, and ordinary supporters then roamed the streets of Almedalen proudly wearing the t-shirts with the slogan “I am ___ and I choose Fairtrade”.  The blank space was filled with self-given titles: “elected”, “sister”, “Muslim”, “enthusiast”, etc.  When they gave Fairtrade Sweden the award, PR agency Westander declared, “No-one in Almedalen has missed the hundreds of people wearing their own personal t-shirt messages of why they choose Fairtrade.”

 


Fairtrade Sweden’s “hottest brand” and “strongest brand” awards

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Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO)
Phone +49.228.94 92 30 – Email ¬ info@fairtrade.net ¬ www.fairtrade.net