Awards and Recognition of WFTO Members
Below is a partial list of WFTO member organisations and individuals who have received awards and recognitions for their work. We are proud to acknowledge their accomplishments and contribution to the Fair Trade Movement. If your organisation received an award and is not on the list, please tell us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Tanzanian WFTO Member WomenCraft is now the second Fair Trade Organisation to receive an Inspirational SME Award. These awards are given by CBI (Centre for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries), an agency encompassed in the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The first winner of this award was our member Selyn Exporters (Pvt) Ltd. back in 2013. We are very proud that yet another WFTO member has been recognized for its efforts inside the Fair Trade Movement.
WomenCraft operates in Ngara, Tanzania, a post-conflict border area where Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania meet. This organisation has created economic opportunities for over 300 rural East African women. One of their main goals is to empower rural women by giving them the possibility to create products that are connected to their culture and talents. WomenCraft artisan women are able to provide for their families and stimulate their local communities, achieving economic self-reliance.
Tanzanian Artisan Women [Photo: WomenCraft]
Selyn Exporters (Pvt) Ltd.
Sandra Beverly Wanduragala, founder of Sri Lankan WFTO Member Selyn Exporters (Pvt.) Ltd., won the Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award at the 2014 Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards-Sri Lanka. This recognition honoured Sri Lanka's promising entrepreneurs. The Awards were presented by Dr. Sarath Amunugama, Senior Minister of International Monetary Cooperation and Mr. Neomal Perera, Sri Lanka’s Deputy Minister of External Affairs. Founded in 1991, Selyn has come a long way from working with 15 women in the village of Wanduragala to nearly a thousand members now. They have expanded their operation that includes 16 workshops in handloom villages in the rural outskirts of the Northwestern, Eastern and Southern provinces of Sri Lanka. Their commercial and organisational aim is to revive traditional Sri Lankan handloom industry while providing jobs to community members. Visit their website here: http://www.selyn.lk/.
Sandra Wanduragala at APEA 2014 [Photo: Enterprise Asia]
Italian WFTO member Altromercato won a prestigious recognition by SetteGreen Awards 2014 for promoting Fair Trade food products in Italy. The award was given on 2 December during a gala evening in Milan. The SetteGreen Awards are given to projects that promote sustainability and care for the environment. Winning in the food category of this competition, Altromercato was awarded for their sustainable and green business ideas for their project “Solidale Italiano.” Read more here.
[Photo: Rossella Gigli/freshplaza.it]
Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, founder of soleRebels the world famous Ethiopian ethical footwear company, won the pan-Africa Face2face award for entrepreneurship back in July 26, 2014. Face2face Africa is a global media company focused around re-modelling the current lack of global attention to African topics. WFTO member soleRebels has managed to establish itself as an important pioneer in African business, using Ethipian traditions and culture and setting them on an international level. This Fair Trade Organisation was founded under the believe that exports and business activities are the answer to build a sustainable economy in Ethiopia. In this sense, their work seeks to boost Ethiopia's development through Fair Trade.
Bethlehem Alemu at workshop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia [Photo: Jiro Ose]
Our long time WFTO member GEPA – The Fair Trade Company won the German Sustainability Award 2014. The competition included a total of 550 nominated companies. Among them were international corporations, DAX companies and traditional businesses. Since 2008, this prize is given by the Foundation German Sustainability Award (Stiftung Deutscher Nachhaltigkeitspreis) in cooperation with the German Federal Government, the Council for Sustainable Development, municipal associations, business associations, civil society organisations and research institutions. With this prize GEPA is now recognized as “Germany’s most Sustainable Brand of 2014” and also among the Top 3 finalists of the category “German’s most Sustainable Small Businesses” this year. They are now seen as the “pioneers of Fair Trade standards through a successful business model and excellent brand management.”
Matthias Kroth (left), GEPA CFO, along with other nominees in the category “Most Sustainable Small Business” [Photo: Frank Fendler]
Women leader and Fair Trade advocate Carry Somers of Pachacuti was presented with the “Outstanding Contribution Award” in December 2013. This was the highest accolade of the 2013 Global Awards for Sustainable Fashion. Pachacuti means world upside-down in the Quechua language and describes this WFTO member’s endeavour to redress the inequalities in the global fashion industry through demonstrating that it is possible to run a successful clothing business which benefits the producers and is environmentally sustainable.
Carry Somers with Sustainable Fashion Awards judge and eco-fashion ambassador, Livia Firth [Photo: Sustainable Fashion Awards]
Ten Thousand Villages
American WFTO member Ten Thousand Villages was the winner of the Retail-Specialty Category of the World’s Most Ethical Companies Award. This prize recognises companies that truly stand behind doing business ethically. This time it was the sixth consecutive year that Ten Thousand Villages was named to the list as an ethical leader in the specialty retail category. Companies awarded with the WME promote ethical business standards and practices internally, they also exceed legal compliance minimums and shape future industry standards by introducing best practices today. Upon reception of the prize Ten Thousand Villages Chief Executive, Pam Raffensberger, said: “We are truly honored to once again be recognized as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. Our commitment to creating opportunities for artisans through long-term fair trading relationships guides our work each day.”
Pam Raffensberger, CE of Ten Thousand Villages [Photo: Central Penn Business Journal]
People Tree UK
In April 2013, our multiple award winning WFTO member People Tree UK, won the “Best Organic Textile Product” prize at the Natural and Organic Products Europe Awards in 2013. On its eighteenth year, the annual awards brought together over 430 industry professionals to recognise and celebrate the standout brands and products of the year. The ceremony was hosted jointly by Natural Products magazine and the Soil Association, and sponsored by Fitness Pharma by Natupharma.
[Photo: Natural Products UK]
Pachacuti was the winner designer of the sustainable Fashion category at the 2013 London Sustainable City Awards. The Sustainable City Awards are given to organisations which have demonstrated excellence in sustainable development. Examples of this have included logistics companies which are reducing congestion and air-pollution, organisations which are helping people with visual impairments into employment, ethical pensions funds and plastics manufacturers with state of the art recycling programmes. This WFTO member’s reputation is stronger than ever, thanks to their ground-breaking international programmes such as and the EU Geo Fair Trade Project, using them as a case study of best practice to encourage others in the Fashion Industry to follow their lead. Also People Tree was shortlisted in the 2013 London Sustainable City Awards” in the same category as Pachacuti.
In November 2013, Bitten Hogh attended the 2013 Award Giving Ceremony for “China Right Here” in Beijing where she received an award for having made an outstanding contribution to China. The ceremony was hosted by UNDP, Tianjing TV station and Hong Kong TV station and was broadcasted throughout China and to Hong Kong.
Bitten Hogh [Photo: Danyun]
Selyn Exporters Ltd. and Coronilla
Selyn Exporters (Sri Lanka) and Coronilla (Bolivia) won in two of the three categories of the Inspirational SMEs Awards 2013. These two WFTO members were awarded with Inspirational SME Awards for People and Profit respectively by the Dutch agency CBI or Centre for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries on 16 December 2013. WFTO is proud of the increasing amount of members joining the list of Fair Trade Organisations that demonstrate Fair Trade practices, such as Selyn and Coronilla. Selyn Exporters has been a member of WFTO since 2007. Founded in 1991, they are committed to empowering disadvantaged Sri Lankan communities, especially women, ever since their humble beginnings. Today, they employ 1000 crafters seasonally, and deliver high-quality products made of 100% natural handloom cotton fabrics to customers around the world. Coronilla S.A. has already been active for over three decades. Throughout the years, the organisation has managed to grow sustainably through Fair Trade and ethical practices. Hard work paid off this year as company’s exceptional sales performance caught CBI’s attention.
Sandra Wanduragala, Founder of Selyn Exporters [Photo: trekceylan.mondoblog.org]
Coronilla family [Photo: Coronilla]
Bitten Hogh received a prize for “bringing charm to China” by UNDP in November 2012. She was noted for leading the very first Fair Trade company in China. Over the years Danyun has constantly worked to eradicate poverty through a connection with low-income artisans and farmers. They market their crafts and foods, find joint solutions to their challenges. Danyun is the first International Fair Trade organisation in China and have been a member of WFTO since 2001. Bitten Hogh first came to Yunnan, China in 1994 as a Lecturer, teaching MBA courses in Yunnan University. She founded Danyun in 1996. Prior to coming to Yunnan, she worked with the Danish government for seven years as a business training and consulting expert. When describing her work, she said “it is all about adding value to the lives of the poor people.”
Bitten Hogh, Founder of Danyun [Photo: kinafairtrade.dk]
Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu was recognized by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. The founder and CEO of soleRebels was awarded the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award at the 2012 World Economic Forum on Africa, which took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in May 2012.
Spending her life watching her family and friends struggle to make a living, Bethlehem decided to make a change. Utilizing footwear, an untapped market in her area, she took advantage of the outstanding skills of artisans in her small village in Ethiopia. Created in 2004, soleRebels earned the recognition of being the world’s first Fair Trade footwear company. By making their own materials or locally sourcing them, the company ensured that their products were created from 100 percent local inputs.
[Photo: Jiro Ose]
In 2012 Danyun received a recognition from WFTO Asia for their effort to make Fair Trade work better for the small scale farmers and artisans in Yunnan, China. At the 2012 WFTO Asia Fair Conference in India, Danyun received a symbolic award for their work with Fair Trade among minority groups in Kunming and especially among tea farmers in the South West Yunnan. Hogh said: “It was an encouragement for all of us in Danyun as well as for Mr. Xu and the tea farmers.”
Moon Sharma, Chairperson of Indian WFTO member Tara Projects wins the 2012 Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
Moon Sharma with awardees [Photo: Believe India]
People Tree UK
Safia Minney, Founder of WFTO member People Tree was a finalist of The Guardian Sustainable Business Awards in May 2012. The GSBAs highlight leadership in the field of sustainable business and encourage organisations to share best practice in the field of sustainability.
Harriet Lamb, Executive Director of the Fairtrade Foundation; Alexa Chung, Model and Safia Minney [Photo: Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images Europe]
SERRV International, Ten Thousand Villages USA and Ten Thousand Villages Canada
In May 2012 several North American Fair Trade Organisations received recognition. After a three month voting process three members in North America were announced winners of “Best in Fair Trade” Awards. SERRV International, Ten Thousand Villages USA, and Ten Thousand Villages Canada were all recognized for their outstanding contributions within the Fair Trade community. The Best of Fair Trade Awards are five separate awards presented to five Fair Trade organisations for deep devotion and support towards different aspects of the Fair Trade movement. Due to SERRV’s long-time dedication to Fair Trade, it received the “Outstanding Long-Term Commitment to Producers” Award.
[Photo: SERRV/Ten Thousand Villages]
Our South African member Ukuva iAfrica received an international award from the London IFE Fresh Ideas of 2011 in the category of “True Product Innovation within the Global Food and Drink Industry.” Ukuva iAfrica first started fifteen years ago as an employment project for Cape Town’s refugees and street people. Today, the business has steadily grown into an international supplier of high quality Fair Trade products (hot sauces, African spice blends, salt and wine).
[Photo: Ukuva iAfrica]
Selyn Exporters (Pvt) Ltd.
Sandra Beverly Wanduragala, Chairperson of Selyn Exporters (Pvt) Ltd. received the Women Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2011. This award is given by the Sri Lankan Women's Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Mrs. Wanduragala said: “Selyn is more than a company and our utmost aim is to provide sustainable livelihoods to the many rural women and men who depend on us for their sustenance. We believe that everyone who contributes to Selyn, from the weavers to those who buy our products, is responsible for the success of our story.”
Sandra Beverly Wanduragala of Selyn Exporters (Pvt) Ltd., First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa and Vidyani Hettigoda, President of the Women’s Chamber of Commerce [Photo: Lalith C.Gamage]
Bombolulu and Tintsaba Crafts (WFTO member from 2005-2014)
Two members of the World Fair Trade Organisation received the Be Fair Awards by the Belgian government for their work in Fair Trade. Bombolulu of Kenya was recognized for creating economic opportunities for people with special abilities, and Tintsaba Crafts of Swaziland for giving livelihood opportunities to women.
The award was given by the Belgian Development Cooperation through the Trade for Development Centre during the kick-off of the Belgian Fair Trade week observance last month. Bombolulu Workshops was formed between 1969 in Mariakani, in Coast Province by the Methodist Church, Ministry of Social Services, the private sector and Peace Corps to create employment for people with disability.
Gone Rural, Swaziland-based Fair Trade Organisation, was named best SMME (Small Medium and Micro Enterprise) in Africa in the trade category by Africa Growth Institute, an organisation that focuses on growth opportunities in Africa. Philippa Thorne and Julie Nixon received the award in a ceremony held at Gold Reef City, Johannesburg on 13 October 2011, on behalf of Gone Rural Swaziland, a women-owned and managed Fair Trade initiative that provides economic opportunities to rural women in Swaziland. Starting off with six women, Gone Rural now works with over 700 women in 13 groups across Swaziland. This exemplary WFTO member now supplies over five hundred customers in thirty countries worldwide and is committed to keep empowering the women of Swaziland.
[Photo: Gone Rural]
WFTO member, soleRebels the only Ethiopian company and Fair Trade Organisation was one of the finalists at the Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship in November 2011 and was awarded a prize of $50.000. WFTO member soleRebels is Africa’s fastest growing footwear brand. It bested among more than 3.300 companies from 48 African countries that submitted entries to compete for the grand prize. These awards are also known as the Nobel of business awards in Africa, honouring Africa’s best entrepreneurs who work to create businesses that meet the needs of those around them and by doing so raising the living standards of their communities. Moreover, Bethlehem Alemu is the first Fair Trader to receive the “Outstanding Businesswomen” recognition at the 2011 African Business Awards.
Tintsaba Crafts, Undugu Fair Trade Limited, SAHAJ and Uganda Crafts
During the 6th Mohammed Islam Design Awards four delegates went home with a prize during the 11th WFTO Global Conference in Mombasa, Kenya, 22-26 May 2011. Four delegates received five prizes for five categories of the 6th Mohammed Islam Design Awards. The winners by category were: Tintsaba Crafts (Swaziland) - Jewellery and Accessories and best booth; Undugu Fair Trade Limited (Kenya) - Homeware; SAHAJ (India) - Gifts and Uganda Crafts and Uganda Crafts (Uganda) - Traditional Design. Undugu focuses on business-driven social empowerment through exploiting the opportunities offered by Fair Trade to benefit African producers.
Undugu artisan women [Photo: SERRV]
Craft Aid Mauritius
The government of the Republic of Mauritius awarded our member Craft Aid Mauritius the prestigious Mauritius Business Excellence Award 2010 for Small Enterprise Category. Craft Aid Mauritius is a non-profit organisation dedicated to the welfare of the physically challenged population.
[Photo: Craft Aid]
In 2010, President Clinton invited Bethlehem Alemu to be one of the panelists at the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting in New York City. That same year, soleRebels was one of the six winners of the first edition of the Green Awards by EcoBold. Companies are judged on ‘green qualifications,’ which examine products and company practices such as environmentally friendly production, carbon footprints reduction, green initiatives, promotion of eco-friendly methods, and involvement in environmental causes. SoleRebels won the Green Award in the shoes category.
Two member producers of SILENCE received recognition from the Indian Government officials for their exceptional abilities despite their physical disabilities and for their positive contribution to the Indian society. Sharmila Bhattacharya, a serious burn victim, received a national award given by the Indian President Pratibha Devisingh Patil. Bhattacharya is responsible for transforming the Silence Training Institute, encouraging employment of disabled persons. Chanchal Sengupta, born with a serious congenital heart defect, received a West Bengal State award for “Outstanding Employee with Disability.” Sengupta promotes Fair Trade and the employment of physically challenged people at SILENCE and other organisations. The awards were given during the observation of the International Day for Physically Challenged persons on 3 December.
Silence handicraft [Photo: El Puente]
Indian WFTO member Creative Handicrafts received an award from a Spanish municipality for their work with women “dalits” in India, the untouchables of the Indian caste system. Creative Handicrafts received the 2010 Prince of Viana Award of Solidarity (2010 Premio Principe de Viana de la Solidaridad), an award that recognizes the work carried out by institutions and individuals in the field of international development cooperation, especially in contribution to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Creative Handicraft was chosen among five other finalists: Manos Unidas, Save the Children, Fundación Vicente Ferrer, Fundación Fondo Centroamericano de Mujeres and Chema Caballero. The Indian FTO will receive the award plus €40,000 cash prize from “Sus Altezas Reales los Príncipes de Asturias y de Viana” in an official celebration in Pamplona, Spain in June.
Creative Handicrafts artisan [Photo: SERRV]
People Tree UK
People Tree was awarded the “Most Sustainable Brand Award” at the Global Fashion Awards 2010 in New York. During the award ceremony the fashion elite gathered at New York's Waldorf Astoria. Among the shortlisted nominees were respected global brands, internationally renowned retailers and new talent from around the world. Hosted by the WGSN Trend Forecasting Services, the world's leading style and trend forecaster, the Awards were the first of their kind to honour style and innovation in the fashion industry on an international level.
Safia Minney and models [Photo: Vogue Blogs]
This WFTO member, best known for their Panama hats in classic and contemporary styles, has awarded numerous prizes throughout their over twenty years of existence. In 2010, they received the coveted “Big Tick Award” for their work on the “Sustainable Fair Trade Management System.” The award is given by the Business in the Community’s (BITC’s), and is the UK’s most influential, independent and peer assessed corporate responsibility award.
Carry Somers, the founder of Pachacuti was one of the finalists of the Women’s Learning and Development category of the Women on their Way Awards, an organisation in the UK recognizing women who have made a difference in the lives of other women. At the 2010 Observer Ethical Awards, the UK’s ‘Green Oscars,’ Pachacuti was shortlisted for both the Fashion and Accessories category sponsored by Marie Claire, and the Example of Excellence award for the overall winner in the international category. In June 2011 Pachacuti was awarded the winner of the Fashion and Accessories category.
Carry Sommers and artisan woman [Photo: Pachacuti]
People Tree UK
In 2009, People Tree’s founder and CEO, Safia Minney was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. She has built up the world’s largest 100% Fair Trade fashion brand supporting 3000 farmers and artisans through 50 Fair Trade producer groups in 12 developing countries. People Tree also received the Best Ethical Fashion Retailer Award by the Observer Ethical Awards. This same year, the Schwab Foundation selected Minney as one of the world’s most ‘Outstanding Social Entrepreneurs.’ She has managed to turn a lifelong interest in social and environmental justice into a successful international Fair Trade business. Safia was also a finalist in the 2008 Triodos Bank Women in Ethical Business Awardsm and Social Entrepreneur of the Year in the 2006 Edge Upstart Awards in Britain. In 2005 she won the Community Award at the Asian Business Awards, in recognition of her work with Asian Producer Communities.
Safia Minney and Indian artisan women [Photo: People Tree]
In early 2005, Bitten Hogh - Founder of our Chinese WFTO member Dayun - received the “Excellent Business Woman” award from the China Chamber of Commerce and the China Women’s union. So far she is the only foreigner and Fair Trader to have received this prize in China.
Selyn Exporters (Pvt) Ltd.
Selyn Exporters won in the category of Best Small and Medium Scale Enterprise (SME) at the 14th Presidential Export Awards 2005. Selected exporters from different sectors such as agriculture, apparel, food and beverages received awards and merit certificates at the ceremony. Mrs. Sandra Wanduragala is a holder many awards and recognitions, all result of her hard work, leadership and commitment to Fair Trade. As founder of WFTO member Selyn Exports (Pvt) Ltd. she has made it possible for her business to establish itself as one of the most dominant players in the Sri Lankan handloom industry. WFTO takes great honour in seeing its members succeed not only businesswise but also contributing to further developments inside the Fair Trade Movement by spreading the word that ethical and fair trading is possible.
During the award reception, Wanduragala said: "Selyn is more than a company and our utmost aim is to provide sustainable livelihoods to the many rural women and men who depend on us for their sustenance. We believe that everyone who contributes to Selyn, from the weavers to those who buy our products, is responsible to the success of our story.”
Mrs. Wanduragala receiving the Presidential Export Award from Sri Lankan President Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa [Photo: Gayani Perera]
WFTO is very proud and supportive of its members, congratulations to all winners! If you or your organisation have received an award, please inform us and we will include it in our list of exemplary WFTO members.
By Natalia Báez and Dan Michels