Taiwan's first female president declares support for Fairtrade

Molly Harriss Olson in Taiwan

Fairtrade Australia and New Zealand's CEO, Molly Harriss Olson, recently travelled to Taiwan with Fairtrade’s newly appointed Global CEO, Dario Soto Abril. During the visit President of Taiwan Tsai Ying-Wen acknowledged Fairtrade as an important model for addressing the inequities in global trade.

Main Image MollyPresident Tsai Ying-Wen’s support for Fairtrade is the result of strategic discussions around Fairtrade’s potential to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In particular, Fairtrade's role in achieving food security, gender equality and ending poverty and hunger.

“In the Agenda 2030 of the United Nations, there are many sustainable development indicators which could be advanced through Fairtrade,” said President Tsai Ying-Weng in her speech to parliament on April 10th. “These include poverty eradication, gender equality, employment and economic growth, inequality improvement and so on. In particular, the indicator on ‘responsible consumption and production’ is directly related to fair trade”.

Reporting from Taiwan, Molly Harriss Olson said that both consumer recognition and sales for Fairtrade have grown steadily over the last few years throughout the country, highlighting an exciting opportunity to expand Fairtrade products further in the future.

“Expanding Fairtrade in order to achieve our global vision of a world in which all producers can enjoy secure and sustainable livelihoods is something that cannot be accomplished alone, or even by few. It is through partnerships, like this one with Taiwan, that will be a vital factor,” Ms Harriss Olson said.

“It has been an absolute pleasure organising and attending meetings throughout Asia-Pacific with Fairtrade’s new Global CEO and I truly believe we will see some fantastic results come from these renewed partnerships,” Ms Harriss Olson added.

Fairtrade Taiwan hopes to include more Fairtrade food products and textiles in future offerings around the country. In addition, the capital Taipei has worked hard to achieve Fair Trade City status, an important step to boost the recognition of Fairtrade among its more than 6 million inhabitants

“There are many enterprises, stores, and even schools directly involved with the international Fairtrade system,” stated President Tsai Ying-Weng. “Fairtrade is becoming well-known among the public. The Taiwanese government is willing to continue to help promote it, encouraging more enterprises to invest in Fairtrade and raising awareness among consumers.”

“I believe that Fairtrade is both an economic and ethical model, and Taiwan is willing to continue to explore it. I look forward to getting new inspiration from you,” concluded the President.

Following on from the trip to Taiwan, Ms Harris Olson accompanied Dario soto Abril to Singapore where they met with Fairtrade representatives from across the Asia Pacific region, including  India, Hong Kong, Philippines, South Korea and Taiwan. This was a great opportunity for key stakeholders to meet and to collaborate on increasing Fairtrade’s reach and impact in the region.

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