The 16th edition of the WFTO International Fair Trade Summit took place in Berlin (Germany) from the 23rd until the 26th of August, and was co-organised by our supporting local organisation (and WFTO member) Forum Fairer Handel. Together with them, we achieved to make the event the success it proved to be.
Because of the pandemic and the unavoidable postponement of the event, this 16th edition of the Summit was particularly important for us: not only did we realise how much we missed meeting with the whole community, but also how crucial shaking hands (and sharing beliefs!) in person was to trigger new conversations about our movement and bring it to the next level. Speakers and participants from all over the world joined us to learn how to improve their practices, establish new potential partnerships and talk about how we can better synergise to achieve system change and fair and green societies. Discussions about advocacy representing Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) at the United Nations level, how to reduce environmental impact in production but also about climate justice and working with refugees got people’s attention, among so many other issues. And there was also plenty of time to network and establish new alliances.
Among the special activities that we organised in Berlin, we curated a Fair Fashion Expo, supported by Studio MM04, to highlight how local traditional craft skills easily fit into modern global aesthetics by presenting inspirational multi-brand looks compiled from outstanding Fair Trade producers in the fashion sector. Another activity that got WFTO members and attendees particularly excited was the Fair Trade Fair: this unique sourcing opportunity gave visitors, including retailers and importers, the chance to personally meet the representatives, voices and hands of 33 Fair Trade Producer Organisations in one place, with a great range of products exhibited from fashion, jewellery and home decor to food & drinks.
During those days we also went into the streets to make our voices heard even more: together with civil society, students and Young Fair Trade advocates we organised a public action “Change the Chain” to bring the demands of the Fair Trade movement to the streets of Berlin. We walked in front of the representation of the European Commission and moved to the Brandenburg Gate to urge European and German politicians to improve Due Diligence laws and raise awareness about global inequalities and possible solutions.
The Summit counted in total over 400 attendees, a number that included the tickets that WFTO and FFH covered with a crowdfunding campaign, enabling us to support those members who could not afford the ticket to join us in shaping the future of our movement.