Close to one billion people suffer from hunger. Too many of them are small farmers and workers in the Global South, facing challenges such as volatile prices and climate change.
As a global grassroots movement and the owner of the most trusted ethical mark, we seek to be at the cutting edge of reforming global trade in favour of justice, unlocking the power of disadvantaged producers and workers.
For the past 25 years, we have taken the vision of the pioneering fair traders to the wider public, directly reaching over 1.2 million smallholders and workers. The model has been shown to work; now we need to take it wider.
For 2013-15, the whole Fairtrade system is uniting behind this common framework.
We will focus on building our unique strengths, and delivering in the following four areas:
- World-class work with smallholders
- Driving real change for workers
- Growing the grassroots social movement and the market
- Strengthening the global Fairtrade system
Unlocking the power of smallholders
Our work with smallholders will be world class, supporting them to organize, to build thriving businesses and communities.
- In coffee, cocoa, cotton and sugar, we will only work with smallholders.
- We will focus on developing farmers' organizational capacity, their ability to run businesses and to trade.
- Many Fairtrade smallholders groups are beacons of best practice, showing how smallholders can engage in trade. We will support them in their work.
- We will support groups to add value to their crops, for example through improving quality or processing, and we will create more access to markets and finance.
Case study: Manduvira Moves up the Value Chain
When we started we didn't have anything, and here Fairtrade helped us connect with the market. In Paraguay people said, 'You are poor. You are crazy. You will never be able to sell or export your sugar directly or think about having your own sugar mill.' Today we have more than 28 different clients and we are selling our sugar to all parts of the world", said Andrés González Aguilera, General Manager of Manduvira.
Manduvira sugar cooperative is a shining example of producers moving up of the value chain through Fairtrade. The cooperative has laid the foundations for a unique, producer-owned sugar mill, set to open in May this year. Andrés has been invited around the world to tell his cooperative's story. Other sugar cooperatives in Paraguay are inspired and want to follow suit.
Small farmers represent more than 80 percent of all producers
Unlocking the Power of Workers
We have made much progress in our work to support and empower workers but there is still much to be done.
- We will clarify and re-focus our efforts to make Fairtrade deliver change for workers, in particular in bananas, tea and flowers.
- We will make progress towards empowering workers on plantations, through implementing our Hired Labour Strategy, including progressing towards a living wage.
- We will continue to work closely with our Workers' Rights Advisory Committee, and will further deepen our collaboration with trade unions.
In South Africa, workers from Fairtrade farms are learning valuable skills and exchanging best practices through regular training and workshops with Fairtrade staff and our partner, the Association of Fairness in Trade. The highlight of the year is the "Spring School", an annual gathering of over workers from Fairtrade wine, fruit and tea farm across South Africa. Last October 55 farm workers travelled to Cape Town for the event. They returned with new ideas for dealing with disputes and grievances, practical tools to improve their negotiation skills, tips on planning and running their annual meeting, as well as great exchanges with workers from other farms. We want to learn from this success and seek to adapt it for other countries.
Unlocking the power of citizens and companies
The Fairtrade system is an incredibly large and diverse global movement, with thousands of relationships in over 100 countries. We will strengthen the grassroots social movement further, so we can increase sales and more importantly, ensure even greater impact.
- We will build mature markets, such as Europe, and develop relatively new markets, especially USA, India, Brazil and Kenya.
- We will focus on the seven core products (bananas, cocoa, coffee, cotton, flowers, sugar, and tea) but we will also nurture new sectors such as gold.
- We will continue to be innovative and find new ways of working. For example, we will lobby governments for action on trade. We will find a new way to work with 100% Fair Trade Organizations, recognizing their unique contributions. And we will develop new models in cotton, cocoa and sugar where producers are pressing for sales that the current model cannot deliver.
Case study: Fairtrade Towns
"This is a perfect example of good cooperation between local authorities, NGOs, volunteers and consumers, all in support of Fair Trade (...) Fair Trade is not about charity: it is about making trade work for development, in particular marginalized producers and workers in the South". Mr Jerzy Buzek, President of the European Parliament.
From humble beginnings in a British market town, the Fair Trade Towns campaign has grown beyond all expectations. There are now over 1110 Fairtrade Towns in 22 countries, including producer communities such as New Koforidua in Ghana and Poco de Caldas in the heart of Brazil's coffee-growing country. This year the Towns will be urging their civil leaders and mayors to sign the "Fair Trade Beyond 2015" campaign, which calls for fair and ethical trade rules to be part of the new development framework when the United Nations Millennium Development Goals expire in 2015.
There are over 1100 Fairtrade Towns in 22 countries
Unlocking the power of the people in the global Fairtrade system
We will strengthen our global Fairtrade system, increasing the voice of producers and working closely together across all countries to minimize costs and maximize impact.
- In early 2013 we will finalize our governance changes, making the producer networks half-owners of the Fairtrade system.
- We implement a robust global financial model, reducing our costs in consumer countries to maximise our impact for producer countries.
- We will work as a strong network with Fairtrade International as our backbone, and build our work in the Global South.
Case study – An equal voice for producers
"Fairtrade is a change agent. It promotes a new way of being. And it works because it's about involving people throughout the whole system in deciding on and making this change". Raúl del Águila. Manager of COCLA coffee cooperative in Peru and member of the Fairtrade International USA Board.
We believe that farmers and workers shouldn't just benefit from Fairtrade, but also play a joint role in determining the direction of the entire system. Fairtrade producers have always had a strong voice in decision making in Fairtrade. Now they are about to become equal owners of the global Fairtrade system. The General Assembly has approved the new Constitution and we will be holding the first General Assembly under the new governance structure in June 2013: A proud moment for the Fairtrade movement.
Over 47 percent of Fairtrade International's budget is spent on direct services to producers.
Want to know more? Read Unlocking the Power of the Many: A strategic framework for Fairtrade 2013-15