COP27 After Thoughts

Each multilateral negotiation about the future shape of our world in a changing climate presents an opportunity to discuss our current economic system – the cause of so many problems in this world, from increasing degradation of our ecosystems, climate change and growing inequality. But it is also an opportunity to show that other business models are future proof to achieve trade, climate, gender and resource justice. In this light, we cannot express our full support for the Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan adopted on Sunday 20th November 2022 at UNFCCC COP27. Even though we welcome the important progress of the newly established loss and damage fund to support climate-affected communities, the Plan lacks steps for effective mitigation and especially that no decision was made on the progressive phase-out of fossil fuels.

As discussed in the “The Fair Trade Movement COP27 Position Paper”, we entered the COP negotiations pushing for a two-fold commitment to both governments and businesses. Durable solutions require a fundamental restructuring of trade flows and supply chains in order to ensure the environmental and human rights’ due diligence at all levels. 

Smallholder farmers and SMEs have long been providing feasible solutions to a broken international trade system that has only spurred economic activity at the expense of people and the planet. We welcome the Plan mentioning “the importance of the transition to sustainable lifestyles and sustainable patterns of consumption and production to address climate change”. However, concrete actions related to trade agreements, corporate accountability and support to community businesses should be taken into account to realise this ambition.

Local communities all over the globe (but mostly in the global South) are deeply affected by the disproportional impact of the intersecting climate and economic crises. Disruption along supply chains mostly impacts marginalised producers, leaving them fully exposed to unfair trading relationships. An inclusive and sustainable recovery from climate disasters cannot happen without a functioning and resilient economy in which everyone is guaranteed a fair income and a voice. That’s why the agreement for the creation of a loss and damage fund is a potential step towards climate justice. If adequately funded, it will compensate to rebuild people’s livelihoods and provide a better future to all those whose communities and ecosystems have been destroyed as a consequence of greedy carbon-intensive extractivist practices. Yet, compensation is not enough. For as much as immediate reparations are needed to address current and upcoming damage and loss, we need to also look further than the present and envision fairer and greener patterns of consumption and production.

We welcome the broader mention of other interrelated environmental crises, from food crises, turning to the biodiversity crisis and the energy crisis. This all links to the need for a global financial architecture that directs public (and private) funding towards just and sustainable transitions. We appreciate the Plan highlighting the need to transform our financial system and actors. Ultimately, it should sustain the development of climate-resilient communities by supporting small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) and communities with adequate and accessible climate finance.

Nonetheless, the elephant in the room of the unmentioned fossil fuels phase-out only proves the unacceptable role played by fossil fuel exporting countries and the over 600 lobbyists present there. No false solutions – as investments in ‘transitional’ gas or patented techno fixes – can be pushed onto the future agendas. Silverbullet liberal (and free trade) policy recipes have long been narrated as the only feasible way but have clearly proven not to work. 

Social protection and environmental justice are inextricable for a just and equitable transition. That’s why WFTO aims at facilitating an economy with social enterprises that responsibly manage and restore natural resources to safeguard dignified human life and thriving ecosystems. Fair Trade Enterprises have a crucial role to play within the heated dialogues for climate solutions, as they provide functioning business models that don’t compromise ambition for feasibility. 

COPs are an essential platform and tool to work for climate justice and build a new economy that accounts for future generations too. However, many more actions need to be taken beyond COPs. Much of the future of our climate depends on those who have already been practising the sought solutions through skilful community recipes, mixing tradition and innovation. By envisioning small-scale solutions, they are eventually shaping the future outlook of the global economy. 

For as much as mission-led enterprises have been successfully and profitably working against all odds, they need adequate policies to upscale their impact. The movement of the WFTO members will make sure effective national and local policies, financial support, training and market access will be granted to reshape our markets and regulation by putting people and the planet at the core.

Read more about COP27 outcomes and impacts:

– What are the key outcomes of Cop27 climate summit?, The Guardian (brief)
– Our verdict on COP27: A Polluters’ Parade, Global Witness (analysis)
– Cop27 has shown why a new economic order is vital, The Guardian (opinions)
– Getting out of the food-energy-climate crisis, GRAIN (analysis)
– COP27 will be remembered as a failure – here’s what went wrong, The Conversation (analysis)

Written by Virginia Pignata & Shun Hei (Nathan) Lee

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17th international


17-20 SEPT 2024 – CAPE TOWN 

We are thrilled to invite you to our upcoming International Fair Trade Summit, set to take place in the vibrant city of Cape Town, from the 17th to the 20th of September 2024.

The International Fair Trade Summit aims to bring together leaders, practitioners, and advocates from all corners of the globe to collaborate and promote Fair Trade practices. This edition promises to be a unique opportunity for participants to engage in enlightening discussions, exchange ideas, and forge partnerships that will shape the future of Fair Trade.

WFTO Membership & Associate Types

  • Fair Trade Organisations (FTO)

    All trading members of WFTO. This includes all organisations that have more than half of their income and/or more than €100,000 in income from trade.

  • Fair Trade Support Organisations (FTSO)

    An organisation whose primary mission is to support Fair Trade and/or provide services to organisations that are or want to become Fair Trade Organisations.

  • Fair Trade Networks (FTN)

    An organisation which is an association of organisations committed to Fair Trade.

  • Individual Associates (IA)

    Individual Associates are supporters of the Fair Trade movement with limited rights. The WFTO Guarantee System does not apply to them.

  • Associate Organisations (AO)

    Associate Organisations align with WFTO’s values but after their application. They do not undergo monitoring and also have limited rights.

WFTO Guarantee System Monitoring Statuses

  • Candidates

    Candidates have been conditionally approved for membership but have not completed their first monitoring cycle under the WFTO Guarantee System. They have limited rights within WFTO. They may not use the WFTO Member Mark and Product Label or claim that they are monitored by WFTO.

  • Guaranteed Members

    Guaranteed members have met the WFTO Membership requirements and are monitored under the WFTO Guarantee System.

  • Member

    Organisations that have no or little income from trade go through a reduced version of the WFTO Guarantee System that does not include criteria related to trade. These organisations may use the WFTO Member Mark but cannot use the Product Label for any products they may be trading to support their mission. This status only applies to Fair Trade Networks (FTN) and Support Organisations (FTSO).

  • Renewal in Progress

    Members who are in the process of renewing their guaranteed status and are overdue on some requirements retain full rights while they work to meet the demands of the Guarantee System on an administrative or compliance level.

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WFTO welcomes applications from established Fair Trade Organisations as well as organisations that support Fair Trade. Individuals in their capacity as researchers, writers, consultants and specialists in their field who can contribute solid skills, knowledge and expertise to WFTO and members are also welcome.

Add Your Heading Text Initial requirements for organisations:

  • Compliance with the WFTO 10 Principles of Fair Trade. Please have a look at the WFTO Fair Trade Standard for more specific information on compliance with these principles.

  • All applicant organisations must already be duly registered (as a legal entity) and active for at least one year.

Who can apply?

  • Fair Trade Organisations (FTO)

    All companies, partnerships, co-partnerships and other legal bodies – as determined by the legal provisions of the country of the member concerned – that are directly engaged in Fair Trade. They may be producers or northern or southern based trading FTOs for whom Fair Trade is the main activity. To qualify for FTO membership, income from sales (turnover) must account for 50% or more of the total income. Applications for FTO membership cannot be accepted from organisations with no prior sales history.

  • Fair Trade Networks (FTN)

    Legal entities whose primary function is to serve as national or international associations of Fair Trade producers and/or Fair Trade Organisations.

  • Fair Trade Support Organisations (FTSO)

    Fair Trade Organisations where trading is not the main activity (proportion of trade is less than 50% of total income). These organisations are engaged in Fair Trade indirectly, through activities that promote and support Fair Trade. These activities can include business counselling, finance, advocacy or networking.

  • Associate Organisations

    This is a special category for national or international organisations that are interested in supporting and promoting Fair Trade, including donor organisations. Organisations that do not meet the one-year legal existence requirement also fit in this group.

  • Individual Associates

    Individual researchers, writers, consultants and specialists in their field that can support WFTO. WFTO expects its individual associates to be active Fair Trade supporters whose experience and expertise in their own particular field can be of practical benefit to WFTO's members. To apply, please submit a curriculum vitae.

    While FTO, FTN and FTSO are entitled to full WFTO membership, organizational and individual associates have only limited rights.

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The WFTO Product Label is more than just a Fair Trade symbol. It signifies not only that the practices across the supply chain are checked against the WFTO Fair Trade Standard, but it also represents support to the battle against poverty and inequality. Products carrying the WFTO Label are made and traded by Guaranteed Fair Trade Organisations dedicated to the sustainable Fair Trade economy. Every purchase of products with the WFTO Label supports small producers and their communities.

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