Trade Fair, Live Fair

Raising Awareness and Mobilizing the European Public to Advance Consumption patterns that Nurture the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

This project is co-funded by the European Commission's Development Education and Awareness Raising (DEAR) Programme.

Timeline of grant: 2017 to 2020

Main project objective: The European public increases awareness of sustainable consumption and engages in driving changes in public policies and private sector practices that contribute to the achievement of SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production), and other correlated SDGs (1, 2, 5, 8, 13 & 15).

Target group: EU citizens, private companies, policy-makers

Project description

The EU-funded pan-European project, Trade Fair Live Fair (TFLF) was the ambitious project of the Fair Trade and Ethical Fashion movements to join forces to foster more resilient livelihoods for the producers and workers behind the products that many European citizens consume.

Fairtrade International has led the consortium of 20 partner organizations who have successfully completed the project, ensuring a greater awareness of citizens, policy makers, businesses and civil society organization (CSO) actors about sustainable consumption and production (SDG 12) in 19 EU countries.

The project also comprised research and case studies to dig deeper into the many challenges that producers and workers are facing. The evidence based data was used in our public communication, and suggested practical ways forward for policymakers in government and business.

As part of the Trade Fair Live Fair, two sub-grants were completed, which resulted in 14 projects. Collaboration was key and 19 civil society organisations and eight local authorities partnered to achieve them. Projects aimed to expand awareness in eastern and central Europe, as well as build partnerships to drive long-lastin change towards sustainable consumption at local and regional levels.

A Major Shift – Project Results

The Trade Fair Live Fair project consortium exceeded its targets set for most of its key performance indicators. It achieved major impact, including:

  • Engaged with more than 1.26 million EU citizens, 4,721 policy makers and 2,010 business representatives while raising awareness of sustainable consumption and production.
  • Its stakeholder outreach involved more than 50 million EU citizens
  • Developed 16 large-scale European-wide campaigns (Fairtrade Fortnight, International Women’s Day, Fashion Revolution Week, World Fair Trade Day, the European Parliament Elections, Anti-Poverty Week, Coffee and Climate Campaigns)
  • Numerous social media campaigns (In total, 17,562 posts using the #TradeFairLiveFair hashtag were shared on social media)
  • 175 advocacy events and 226 private sector events.

The project drove a major shift in increasing the transparency of the tea and fashion supply chains; a number of policy changes at EU, national and local level and has left a legacy which will ensure many more commitments and signs of positive changes in the future. We are confident that this 3.5 year-project equipped project members with the knowledge and tools necessary to further influence policy makers and companies towards achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and, in particular, SDG12 on responsible production and consumption. Moreover, the TFLF project facilitated stronger alliance within and between the Fair Trade and Ethical Fashion movements, who now count on clearer visions and joint priorities, enabled by partnerships strengthened during the project’s implementation.

Adjusting to a changing reality

However, the project also had to overcome big challenges. Intensive Brexit negotiations in 2019 created uncertainties for UK partners and posed a threat to successful project implementation. Additional efforts had to be made by the lead applicant and the UK partners to secure support from the UK government’s Assurance Fund in the case of a ‘no-deal’ scenario. Furthermore, a few weeks after the Brexit deal was finally signed in January 2020, the global COVID-19 pandemic hit Europe in February-March 2020.

The pandemic arrived just before our annual major pan-European campaigns were due to take place from February to May 2020. Transferring more than 600 in-person activities online within a very short timeframe was a massive undertaking for the project partners. With business-as-usual collapsing across global supply chains, resulting in millions of workers losing their incomes, the project consortium members had to react to the global crisis and, at the same time, focus on delivering the final outputs and results for this Action.

State of Progress

The State of Progress report, captures the project impact, highlights how the Fair Trade movement has made an important contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and suggests practical ways forward for policy makers in government and business. We will continue to use this research to raise awareness among European consumers, policy makers, civil society actors and private sector organizations and to encourage them to take action.

Key documents and reports:

  • Fairtrade Foundation’s Living Incomes report “Craving a Change in Chocolate” focuses on the low incomes earned by cocoa farmers in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. The report highlights the priority of cocoa farmers, especially women who carry the greatest burden, to secure living incomes and fairer prices and for chocolate consumption to be sustainable. As the living incomes topic gained traction among politicians and companies in the UK, Fairtrade Foundation decided to conduct more in-depth research into the overlap between living incomes and gender issues and use the increased spotlight on the challenges facing women cocoa farmers to show governments and the chocolate industry what they need to do to help them achieve living incomes. The Invisible Women Behind our Chocolate and the Fairtrade Research Paper: Cocoa and the Invisible Women are the two complementary reports that were produced and received significant media coverage, including ‘The ‘invisible’ women at the heart of the chocolate industry’ article on the BBC website.
  • Traidcraft Exchange completed a research report entitled “The Estate They're In” about working conditions on tea plantations in Assam, India and developed recommendations targeting tea brands and consumers. The report directly links to SDGs 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10 and 12. It informed the project’s “Who Picked My Tea” campaign, which prompted much greater transparency by some of the biggest tea supply chains.
  • The World Fair Trade Organization delivered two reports on Gender Equity in the Workplace and Business Models that Empower Women, linked to SDGs 5 and 12. One report focuses on how gender equity is reflected in Fair Trade Organizations and showcases best practices for replication. The second report highlights how Fair Trade enterprises empower women and are a more inclusive model compared to conventional business. These two reports formed the basis of the TFLF project’s International Women’s Day campaigns in March 2018 and 2019.
  • Blooming Back Better: towards living wages and resilience in the flower industry is a Fairtrade Foundation report summarizing the challenges facing workers in the flower and plant industry, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the role Fairtrade is playing to address both, and the ways in which the flower industry and governments can work together to build back fairer. The report looks at the importance of living wages in particular.
  • The Oxfam-Magasins du Monde (OMM) report on “Fair Trade Textile and Decent Work” focuses on the impact of Fair Trade on the sustainability of textile supply chains. It includes case studies with four Indian Fair Trade organizations and links to SDGs 8 and 12. The report was presented during the WFTO conference and at the debate with different stakeholders in New Delhi in November 2017. In addition, OMM in collaboration with FTAO and WFTO-EU, released a discussion paper entitled Sewing the pieces together – Towards an EU strategy for fair and sustainable textiles, which looks at the EU’s regulatory options for a strategy on fair and sustainable textile supply chains. The paper formed the basis of a larger collaborative work (coordinated by FTAO) to develop a non-official “shadow” strategy for an ambitious and integrated EU strategy in support of fair and sustainable textile, garment, leather and footwear (TGLF) value chains. This coalition – which includes a diverse range of civil society organizations – is jointly lobbying EU institutions to adopt such a strategy at EU level.
  • Coffee: the success story hiding the crisis” is a report jointly produced by the French Fair Trade Platform (PFCE) and Max Havelaar France in Year 1 highlighting the imbalances in coffee supply chains in three countries (Colombia, Ethiopia and Peru). It argues that Fair Trade is the alternative model that can achieve greater improvements in producer livelihoods due to the higher prices secured (through the Fairtrade Minimum Price and Premium) and fewer hidden costs. The report’s key recommendations were presented at the DG DEVCO Info-Point conference in December 2018.
  • FTAO’s study Towards sustainable cocoa supply chains: regulatory options for the EU informs the debate about a potential European Union-wide regulation for cocoa products, including chocolate, entering the EU market. It has a range of recommendations for the EU, producer countries and businesses.
  • The World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) in collaboration with Traidcraft Exchange developed an alternative business report, entitled ‘Creating the new economy: business models that put people and planet first’. It was launched in Geneva during the World Economic Forum in Davos. The report challenges leaders to foster business models that prioritize people and the environment. It details the key features of mission-led business models and provides a direct contrast with profit-primacy businesses. The report challenges government, business and finance leaders to encourage mission-primacy business models in order to kick-start the ‘new economy’.
  • Fairtrade Foundation’s report A Climate of Crisis: Farmers, Our Food and the Fight for Justice is linked to the COVID-19 crisis and explores how climate change can trap farmers in a cycle of low production leading to further environmental degradation. The report will advise governments, businesses and consumers on how they can support farmers producing a range of commodities (including bananas, coffee, cocoa and cotton) to embed climate resilience and adaptation in their practices. This report should have been launched at COP26 in Glasgow in December 2020, which was postponed for a year due to the global pandemic.
  • The Supply Chain Transparency Guide was designed drawing on lessons learnt from the campaigning work of this project. This resource provides step-by-step guidance for ethical business and lists the benefits of transparency in supply chains. The publication, which is available in English and Spanish, was promoted by project members in a number of webinars and presented to Ethical Trading Initiative members. We consider this publication to be a great project legacy that will help our work in advocating for more transparent supply chains in the private sector in the future.
  • The Final evaluation report assessed the project’s overall results, analysed the project’s sustainability and gave recommendations on continued cooperation of the actors of the Fair Trade movement.