Welcome to the June edition of the FLO Newsletter. Two articles included describe events during Rob Cameron's, CEO of FLO, fact finding trip to Peru in April. We are also pleased to present "An Inspiration for Change," FLO's Annual Report for 2007. And for this edition's interview, Raúl del Águila the President of the Coordinadora Latinoamericana y del Caribe de Comercio Justo (CLAC), talks about his vision of FLO for the future.
With kind regards from Bonn,
FLO Editorial Team
Worldwide consumers spent over 2.3 billion euros on Fairtrade certified products in 2007. This represents a 47% increase on the previous year and means that over 1.5 million producers and workers in 58 developing countries now benefit from Fairtrade sales. To read more, please click here.
The FLO Annual Report 2007, An Inspiration for Change, is now out in print and on www.fairtrade.net. The title "An Inspiration for Change" reflexs the theme of this years report; celebrating the past ten years of FLO while also preparing for the future of this growing and dynamic labelling system.
Some achievements outlined in the FLO Annual Report 2007 are:
- Increase in Fairtrade sales
- First South to South Fairtrade products
- Agreements to increase the Fairtrade Minimum Price for coffee
- Introduction of Fairtrade Minimum Prices for tea
- Producer Networks become full members of FLO.
You can download a copy of An Inspiration for Change by clicking here.
Since March 1, 2008, Max Havelaar can be identified by the Mark of the international umbrella organization Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO). According to Max Havelaar Switzerland, "a uniform Fairtrade label throughout Europe will allow us to introduce new products onto the Swiss market faster and more easily and it also means that Fairtrade can continue to grow on an international basis." The new Max Havelaar label is already well known on the European market. The modern design also fits in well with Max Havelaar's news business strategy and offers an excellent basis for attractive advertising and new packaging.
The new label was launched on March 1, 2008. From then, all Max Havelaar certified products will eventually carry the new label as packaging is reprinted. The Max Havelaar name remains both part of the new label and the name of the Foundation.
Raúl del Águila is the President of the Coordinadora Latinoamericana y del Caribe de Comercio Justo (CLAC), the network that represents Fairtrade certified producers from Latin America and the Caribbean. Besides being the President of the CLAC, Mr. del Águila is also the General Manager of COCLA, a Fairtrade certified cooperative in Peru and a member of the Board of FLO. During the last meeting of the FLO board, held from 20-21 May in Bonn, a member of the FLO Communications team had the opportunity to interview Mr. del Águila. The President of CLAC talked about his experience with Fairtrade, his work and shared his views on the current FLO strategic review and the future of Fairtrade.
Mr. del Águila, you are very involved with Fairtrade at different levels. Can you tell us about your work and roles in these organizations?
My first contact with Fairtrade was through my cooperative, COCLA, in the region of Cuzco, South of Peru. The cooperative is comprised of 8,500 small farmers organized in 25 local co-ops, associations and grower committees. Not only does COCLA sell Fairtrade certified coffee, we also have Fairtrade cocoa and tea. However, coffee remains the main source of income for our members. The cooperative has been Fairtrade certified for over ten years. Fairtrade has played a crucial role in the strengthening of the cooperative and the improvement of its members' living conditions. Through Fairtrade, COCLA's members have also been able to carry out development projects from which the whole community has benefited. Besides my work at COCLA, during the second General Assembly of the CLAC in October 2006 I was appointed, through a democratic election, as President of the network. In my role of President of the CLAC and a FLO board member, I have the responsibility to ensure that the interests of small farmers are being taken into account in decisions that will affect their lives.
FLO is currently undertaking a strategic review which aims to shape the future of Fairtrade. How has the CLAC been involved in the consultation process and what is the CLAC position?
CLAC has been involved from the beginning of the strategic review and had the opportunity to feedback at all consultation stages. Our main point is that for Fairtrade to have a brighter future, it is necessary that there is real producer ownership of the Fairtrade system. Fairtrade producers' organizations have developed and are now organized into networks like the CLAC. Producers are now in the position to take greater ownership and responsibility in the development of Fairtrade and act as decision makers and not merely beneficiaries. FLO has already taken important steps to ensure this when producer networks became full members of the association in 2007 and with producer representatives in the FLO Standards Committee. We now want to ensure that this develops further.
From your point of view, what is the future of Fairtrade?
In my opinion, Fairtrade has a great future. Looking back at the past, we realize that so much has been achieved in the last twenty years, when nobody had heard about ethical trade let alone Fair Trade. Nowadays, consumers all over the world are more and more aware of the repercussions of their purchases and want to know if the products they buy have been produced in a social and environmentally responsible way. Fairtrade is a guarantee of this. Those who work on Fairtrade have the responsibility of not jeopardizing the trust of consumers and of ensuring that Fairtrade continues to be a development tool for the producers.
With the help of dedicated volunteers from across the country, Wales has become the world's first Fair Trade Nation. First Minister, Rhodri Morgan congratulated the Wales Fair Trade Forum and the many hundreds of local volunteers for their work in ensuring Wales could achieve this remarkable landmark .
"This is a great honour for Wales and shows how a small country like ours can make a difference. The progress made in two years is a testament to the enthusiasm and passion of the people of Wales," he said.
The announcement follows a two-year campaign by the Wales Fair Trade Forum, funded by the Welsh Assembly Government, to increase the availability of Fairtrade products in towns, cities and counties across Wales, and encouraging schools, businesses and other organisations to switch to Fair Trade.
Fairtrade leaders from developing countries marked the occasion by starting a Fair Trade Wales flag journey. They presented Welsh Assembly Government Minister for Environment, Sustainability and Housing Jane Davidson with the flag at a Fair Trade Conference held in Newport on Saturday (7th June) to celebrate the start of its journey around Wales - the flag will visit every county in Wales over the coming months and finally arriving in Cardiff in time for St David's Day, 2009.
Ms Davidson told the summit: "I am delighted and proud that Wales can now call itself a Fair Trade Nation - which marks a significant increase in the availability and adoption of Fair Trade within organisations, communities and businesses across Wales.
"This has been a truly humbling experience and is all about making a real difference to the lives of some of the world's poorest people. The more countries that take up the Fair Trade Nation challenge, the more people will be able to trade their way out of poverty."
Duncan Rees explained that achieving this first phase - of making Wales a Fair Trade Nation, was just the start of the journey for the campaign.
"In order to maintain and improve Wales' position as a Fair Trade Nation - the awareness and consumption of Fair Trade by the people, organisations and businesses of Wales must continue to grow. Everyone in Wales can help us by switching to Fairtrade. As their awareness of the benefits that Fairtrade brings grows, I'm confident consumers in Wales will be happy to support this campaign and buy more products."
From 17-29 April, Rob Cameron, FLO's Chief Executive Officer (CEO), travelled through Peru to visit Fairtrade certified producer organizations. This was his first trip to a producer country since Rob assumed the position of CEO last November. Rob was accompanied by Martin Rohner, CEO of Max Havelaar Foundation Switzerland, Tatiana Mateluna, Regional Manager for Latin American at FLO's Producer Business Unit (PBU) and Manuel Aguirre, FLO Liaison Officer in Peru.
“Talking to farmers directly was a fantastic opportunity to better understand the challenges they face and the real impact that Fairtrade can make to their lives, their businesses and their communities. I was very impressed by what has been achieved so far and although there is still a lot to do, it was a great experience to see Fairtrade in action. It was also important for me to see the different levels of development of producer organizations within the Fairtrade system” said Rob Cameron.
During the first part of the trip, the group visited Fairtrade certified banana producer organizations in Valle del Chira, in the region of Piura, Northern Peru. Rob Cameron also met with the President of REPEBAN, Red the Pequeños Productores de Banano Organico de Comercio Justo, a network which encompasses different banana producer organizations in Valle del Chira.
In the same region, the group visited a cotton producer organization which is in the process of Fairtrade certification and the cooperative CEPICAFE (Central Piurana de Cafetaleros), which supplies coffee, sugar and cacao to the Fairtrade market.
The trip continued in the region of Cuzco, in the south of the country, where they visited the cooperative COCLA (Central de Cooperativas Agrarias Cafetaleras), one of the first and major Fairtrade cooperatives of Peru. COCLA members supply coffee, cocoa as well as tea to the Fairtrade market.
During his time in Peru, Rob also had the opportunity to meet Raúl del Águila, President of the CLAC as well as COCLA General’s Manager, and Arnaldo Neira, the President of CLAC Peru and José Mejías, CLAC Commissioner. CLAC, Coordinadora Latinoamericana y del Caribe de Comercio Justo, is the organization representing Fairtrade certified producers organizations from Latin American and the Carribean within the FLO system.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank all the people who so warmly welcomed us and took the time to share their knowledge and experiences with us. I feel I now have a much better understanding of producers’ situations and am better placed to address the challenges that Fairtrade faces”, concluded Rob.
FLO International is pleased to present the first FLO commissioned film, "Fairtrade Tea: Building Futures." The film was instigated by 15 Labelling Iniatitives. The production crew were received with the warmest hospitality at the Chamaaj tea estate. Over 1,000 tea pickers and their families of Chamaaj enjoyed seeing the film once it was finished. To watch the film click here.
FLO and the SNV Netherlands Development Organization met in Nairobi, Kenya on 28-30 April 2008. FLO and SNV are involved in a partnership currently covering West and East Africa. The main aim of the joint meeting was to discuss the different aspects of the partnership: the lessons learnt (achievements and challenges); a quarterly review of the activity agreement for 2008 (with clear description of products/commodities); and what the prospects for partnership are beyond 2008. Those working in different regions of Africa were requested to reflect on these key questions taking into account the role of the FLO PBU Liaison Officers. In conclusion of the meeting the two organizations signed a "Memorandum of Understanding" about the collaboration in Africa.
Veronica Pérez, External Communications Coordinator at FLO, reports on her recent trip to a remote Fairtrade producer in Vietnam.
After travelling by motorbike for over an hour through mountains in the north of Vietnam, one finally arrives to a village of Dzao people, Nam Lanh in the region of Yen Bai. It is March 2008, the air is chilly and the view and peace of the place leaves one breathless. The ancestors of the villagers have been populating the northern mountains of Vietnam for thousands of years. Though Vietnam shows signs of modernization everywhere, the village manages to preserve its lifestyle and customs. Men and women dress in the traditional black clothing of their ethnic group and despite the fact that many of them can speak Vietnamese they communicate in their own indigenous language.
Removed from consumer society, the villagers have been scratching out a living from farming (growing rice, wild herbs and chickens) leading to a self subsistent village economy. But a turning point was in 2005 when the villagers started exporting their wild tree tea for export to European markets. The aim is that this new source of income will help them to stay on their land and in their villages; keeping their lifestyles while improving their standard of living.
A small percentage of the teas is being sold under Fairtrade terms and the community has started to receive a small Fairtrade Premium. Mr Ban Thua Chieu, President of the tea cooperative in the Yen Bai region, explains that, "Fairtrade is good- as we have a limited production capacity and have only been selling small quantities of tea under Fairtrade terms, the Premium money we have received is still low. But this small amount is enabling us to carry out a “big” project." Mr Chieu and the villagers are constructing a concrete school structure for over 40 children in the village. Currently in the village there are two schools, a new one made out of concrete and an old wooden hut. With the Premium, the inhabitants of Nam Lanh will build a second concrete school which will not only improve the learning conditions for the children but help support the traditional fabric of the village. Parents are often away for many hours tending to their semi-wild crops in the mountains, assurance that their children are well taken care of and secure while they are gone is important.
As the wild tea pickers in Yen Bai are grasping the first benefits of trading in a sustainable and fair manner, villagers are already planning a second Fairtrade Premium project. As is evident even on a sunny dry day, the access road to the village needs improving. But for this to become reality, they need more buyers to purchase their Fairtrade certified green tea. " Every three months we meet at the village communal house to decide how to use the Fairtrade Premium. All villagers discuss their priorities together", adds Mr Chieu. We leave the village with the hope that their dreams will turn into reality and that FLO can be of assistance along the way.
Back in 2003 when around a hundred farmers founded Asociación de Productores de Saman y Anexos (APPBOSA) they would have never dreamed that only five years later, in April 2008 their association would become the first to have a banana transport cableway in Peru. The installation of the cableway was only possible thanks to the determination of APPBOSA members and the extra money that they have received through the Fairtrade Premium. The Association has been Fairtrade certified since the end of 2003 and has been receiving Fairtrade Premium since April 2004.
APPBOSA members possess small parcels of land, on an average 1.52 hectares per family, which is almost entirely used for banana production. The cableway will help reduce back straining work of farmers, improve efficiency and cut costs. Farmers will no longer need to carry the bunches of bananas on their backs from the tree to the packing station. The cableway will do this for them. The modern transport system will likewise help productivity by increasing the percentage of non-blemished fruit suitable for export.
The installation of the cableway is the last of a series of improvements to strengthen APPBOSA productivity. In December 2007, with the support of FLO Producer Business Unit (PBU) and their exporter, APPBOSA inaugurated a packing plant and started to pack their bananas ready for export. As the support of Fairtrade has been fundamental in the development process of the association, it was during the visit of Rob Cameron, CEO of FLO International, and Tatiana Mateluna, Regional Manager for Latin American at FLO PBU, in April that APPBOSA officially inaugurated the first phase of the banana transport cableway project.
“The inauguration of this system is only the first stage of the project but we are going to install cableways on 300 hectares. This will be possible thanks to Fairtrade, a credit and a project of the Ministry of Agriculture which has not started yet,” explained Mr Santos Escobar Mena, the President of APPBOSA.
APPBOSA is an example for other banana producer organizations located in Valle del Chira, on the northern coast of Peru. “Consumers can be certain that the Fairtrade Premium has been used in a responsible manner to help strengthen our organization. I invite them to come to Peru and see it themselves,” said Valentín Ruíz, a member of APPBOSA.
Other producer organizations are already planning similar projects so that hopefully cableways will become a common sight in Valle del Chira.
On May 10th Fairtrade volunteers all around the world joined together to celebrate Fairtrade and ethical consumption. Different events were planned in more than seven countries where hundreds of Fairtrade breakfasts took place.
”In Warsaw, the Fairtrade breakfast table is a part of our two-day event on ethical consumption. The weekend includes workshops and debates, a movie screening, a second-hand fashion show, bike-fixing and a local food breakfast on Sunday,” explained Kasia Szeniawska from EFTE Poland.
In Finland the breakfast table events focused on ethical standards for public purchases.”1500 billion euros are used every year in Europe in public procurement. In our events we are saying we don't want our tax money to be used for sweatshop products”, said Sonja Vartiala from Pro Fair Trade Finland. The Finnish Fairtrade volunteer organization hosted six Fairtrade Breakfast Table events and challenged local celebrities and politians to join them at the breakfast table.
Fairtrade Breakfast Table takes place on International World Fair Trade Day, that is celebrated every year on the second Saturday of May. The day is endorsed by the International Fair Trade Association IFAT.
In cooperation with the trade journal “Der Handel,” Transfair Germany is organizing a congress, “Fairtrade on the Retail Market.” This event will address German retailers directly. Senior management will be presented with hard figures and best practices on Fairtrade. The event will be taking place on September 22, 2008 in Berlin. The patron of the event is German President Horst Köhler, a long standing supporter of the Fairtrade movement.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan served Fairtrade certified coffee and tea from Africa during the fourth Tokyo International Conference of African Development (TICAD IV), from 28-29 May, 2008.
The government procured the Ethiopian coffee and Tanzanian tea from the Wakachiai Project, a non-governmental organization which is a pioneer of Fairtrade in Japan.This is a great step for the future development of Fairtrade Labelling in Japan.
Just in time for the EURO 2008 Football Championship in Switzerland and Austria, sport balls bearing the Fairtrade Mark are entering the Swiss market. The sport balls have been created in a trendy retro style. Membrane and lamination are made of natural latex. The sport balls are manufactured in stitching centres in Pakistan where more than a thousand women and men are benefitting from the Fairtrade system.
As host to the European Football Championships this summer Transfair Austria has launched a campaign for Fairtrade soccer balls. As well, in preparation for the EURO 2008, Transfair Germany launched a Fairtrade-EM 2008 website to support Fairtrade sport balls: www.fairtrade-em2008.de
Some good news from Finland is that we launched a Fairtrade City campaign on May 9th and on the very first day of the campaign we were able to announce that Tampere became Finlands first Fairtrade City. Before that we had one Fairtrade county in Finland: Utajärvi. We also have more than 50 Fairtrade parishs nowadays in Finland, which is good news as well!
Max Havelaar Switzerland
The most successful products in Switzerland in the last quarter have been Fairtrade certified orange juice, with a 268 percent increase in sales, and textiles made with Fairtrade certified cotton with a 83 percent increase in sales.
TransFair Canada would like to warmly welcome John Young as their new interim executive director.