Celebrating 25 Years of Pioneering Fair Trade Work
All of us here at Fairtrade International congratulate the European Fair Trade Association (EFTA) on reaching its 25th anniversary.
EFTA is an association of 100% Fair Trade organizations, with ten members in nine different European countries. Long before Fairtrade certified products were widely available in supermarkets and cafes, these organizations were working hand-in-hand with small producers in developing countries, helping them to develop their businesses and to access new markets that had previously been completely shut off to them.
Now many of these Fair Trade pioneers are well known brands in their respective countries –Traidcraft in the UK, Gepa in Germany, or Fair Trade Original in the Netherlands, to name but a few.
EFTA was born in 1987, to help these organizations to coordinate their activities and support the spread of Fair Trade across Europe. EFTA gained formal status in 1990 and is based in the Netherlands. EFTA is also one of the founding members of the Fair Trade Advocacy Office, along with Fairtrade International and WFTO-Europe.
To mark the anniversary, EFTA members and invited guests, including Harriet Lamb and Andreas Kratz of Fairtrade International, gathered last week to celebrate what has been achieved so far, and to reflect on what still needs to be done.
Gerd Nickoleit, one of the inspiring pioneers of the Fair Trade movement, gave a speech, recognizing the progress so far, but also calling for much more to happen.
“We have proven that Fair Trade is possible, that it can finance itself, can grow and and be an example to commercial businesses. We should be proud of what we have achieved...But as a movement we have not yet tackled the roots of injustice in trade. We must re-commit ourselves to the original aims of Fair Trade and once again be the pioneers that develop them and push them forward.”
EFTA also published a “Statement to the Movement”, reconfirming their commitment to small scale, disadvantaged farmers and stating its ambition to find new strategies to change the way business works.
We are proud of our collaboration with EFTA and its members, and look forward to continued success and collaboration in the next 25 years and beyond!