CELEBRATIONS MARK 25 YEARS OF FAIRTRADE
14 November 2013, Amsterdam, Netherlands – Today marks the historic moment 25 years ago when a handful of Dutch pioneers and Mexican coffee farmers decided to go against the tide and make a fair exchange for the fruits of their labour. This drive to “make trade fair” has become a nearly 5 billion euro-a-year global movement touching the lives of millions of growers and shoppers.
To mark Fairtrade’s jubilee,Max Havelaar Netherlands, the founding Dutch organization, has invited smallholders from across the world to ‘Max Havelaar Celebrates 25 Years of Fairtrade’, a day-long celebration in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
At the event, farmers will share how they are changing their communities through Fairtrade and Peter d’Angremond, Executive Director of the Max Havelaar Foundation, will present the first-ever, carbon-neutral coffee to help coffee farmers combat climate change. Efforts to make Fairtrade more successful and sustainable are central to the development of a movement that has snowballed from its Dutch origins.
In 1988 Frans van der Hoff, a Dutch missionary, along with a Dutch economist named Nico Roozen the development agency Solidaridad launched the Max Havelaar label, named after a fictional character who opposed the exploitation of coffee pickers in Indonesia.
“Twenty-five years ago the principled pragmatism of Dutch founders together with the vision of the Mexican coffee farmers put a mark on a product to ensure the consumer knew the farmers were receiving a fair price. We should pay credit to the genius of the simplicity of their idea and that they had the guts to go and do it when people said it wouldn’t work; that the public didn’t care. They have proved the optimists right,” said Molly Harriss Olsen, Chair of Fairtrade International
From those first sales of coffee from Mexico, the Fairtrade label can now be found on more than 30,000 products, including tea, bananas, sugar and chocolate. Its benefits reach more than 1.35 million farmers and workers around the world. Over the past 25 years, the Fairtrade Mark has become the most recognized ethical mark in the world, with over €4.8 billion in annual sales and tremendous strides in some countries, for example:
- In Switzerland, more than half of all bananas are Fairtrade
- Over 40 percent of bagged sugar in the UK is carries the Fairtrade Mark
- Every fifth bunch of flowers sold in Germany is Fairtrade certified
But even for all of the success, fairly traded goods still represent less than one percent of global trade in most products. Fairtrade intends to boost its impact for poor farmers and workers with its new three-year strategic framework, ‘Unlocking the Power of the Many’.
“Changing trade is the challenge of the century, so we need big bold ambitions coupled with a willingness to move forward just one step at a time,” says Harriet Lamb, Chief Executive of Fairtrade International. “The key is getting all of the players around the table, farmers and traders, companies and workers jointly pursuing a better way of doing things – with the public playing their part.
“It’s an uncomfortable truth that for poor farmers and workers in supply chains, including Fairtrade supply chains, to earn a living wage, we must be prepared to pay more for goods such as tea and bananas. It’s one of Fairtrade’s radically conservative propositions: a little less profit at one end of the supply chain can mean a lot more dignity for people at the other. The time to rebalance the scales is long overdue so we have to pick up the pace of change.”
Marike de Pena, Manager of BANELINO, a Fairtrade cooperative in the Dominican Republic, and Vice Chair of Fairtrade International, adds: “Fairtrade is one of the most effective approaches to achieve economic, social and environmental progress for small farmers, their families and their communities. The strength of the Fairtrade approach is that people take control of their lives through their work and can invest in a better future.”
FOR FURTHER DETAILS CONTACT:
Liaison Manager, Fairtrade International
+49 228 94923 277
African producers set to increase their bargaining power
Nairobi, 11th November 2013 — The Africa Fairtrade Convention, will be taking place in Stellenbosch, South Africa, from the 25th to the 29th of November 2013 with the aim of developing partnerships for sustainable enterprise growth.
Africa Fairtrade Convention (AFC) is Fairtrade Africa’s annual convention that was initiated in 2010 as a platform for African producers (not limited to Fairtrade), traders, policy makers, partner organisations and other stakeholders to discuss how to improve value chains, trade relations and conditions to improve livelihoods for farmers and workers across Africa.
“The AFC is unique as it is organised by producers and workers themselves to address their needs for sharing and increasing knowledge,” says James Mwai, the Acting Executive Director for Fairtrade Africa. “We look forward to exciting engagements that will influence the way we and others do business regionally and globally with the objective of ensuring sustainability and transformation that can be achieved through trade for development. Join us as we embark upon our journey to unlock the Power of Many in Africa,” he concludes.
The key note speaker will be the Chief Director Department of Trade and Industry for the South African government Mr. Jeffrey Ndumo. Other speakers include Lauren Hirst the Business Director for Ogilvy Earth, and Sikhumbuzo Sabelo Dlamini, an economist representing the Swaziland Sugar Association amongst others.
Participants will take part in producer workshops, Fairtrade business networking forum, general assembly, Fairtrade wine tasting and coffee cupping. Field visits to wine plantations will also be open to participants.
Following successful editions in Zimbabwe, Ghana and Ethiopia, AFC is becoming key to the agricultural development agenda. Today, Fairtrade Africa supports over 700,000 farmers and workers through 410 producer organisations in 29 countries across the continent.
Due to South Africa’s large wine estates, its rapid economic growth rate and its significance in several Fairtrade supply chains, South Africa was selected as the conference city of this year’s edition.
South Africa was the first market to promote Fairtrade products in Africa. In 2012 South Africans spent R 243 million on Fairtrade products and consumed 410,000 bottles of wine, 17 million cups (120 tons) of Fairtrade coffee and 2117 tons of Fairtrade chocolate.
For more information, please visit our convention website www.africafairtradeconvention.net.
Fairtrade is a strategy for poverty alleviation and sustainable development which connects consumers and producers. Fairtrade offers agricultural producers a better financial deal and improved terms of trade. This allows them the opportunity to improve their lives and plan for their future. Through buying products displaying the international FAIRTRADE Mark, Fairtrade offers consumers a powerful way to reduce poverty through their everyday shopping.
About Fairtrade Africa
Fairtrade Africa (formerly known as Africa Fairtrade Network) is the independent non-profit umbrella organisation representing all Fairtrade certified producers in Africa with regional offices in Eastern Africa, West Africa, Southern Africa and its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.