“Fair Trade and solidarity without justice ends up turning into charity. And charity does not produce transformation; it does not change the status quo.On the other hand justice without solidarity and Fair Trade without brotherhood become an abstract sense of justice; an empty justice because it is not allied with a social dimension.” I recently found these lines in the first leaflet printed by Ctm Altromercato about 30 years ago. I thought I'd share these phrases with you hoping it will inspire your work throughout the year.
As Fair Trade Organisations (FTOs), we have to be genuine and realistic by declaring what the ultimate goals of Fair Trade are and what has been achieved so far. We must be sure that we are able to deliver what we advocate for. In this sense, the WFTO Guarantee System is an instrument that helps to improve our Fair Trade performance and keeps the credibility of FTOs high. In times where Fair Trade is questioned, a credible guarantee system for FTOs is becoming even more important for WFTO, its membership and for consumers. And according to our members, the WFTO product label is contributing to provide access to new markets for them.
Stimulated by this thought, considerable efforts were made during 2016 to implement the Guarantee System. The results can be seen. By the end of the year, there were 109 guaranteed members. Most of these organisations are now using the WFTO product label on their products. In addition, there is a significant number of members which are finalising their audit phase and are also close to becoming guaranteed members.
The year 2016 was also a year in which we started the development of groundbreaking strategic directions which will pave the future paths for WFTO. Intensive discussions have taken place at different levels about how the future house of WFTO should look like in order to increase authority and efficiency and make it even more relevant for our members. The development of a new strategic plan, a more efficient governance structure, the new global Fair Trade Charter, an effective branding strategy, the role of FT country networks, how to integrate northern producers in our network and a strategy to promote the WFTO product label are the most important issues which are currently in discussion. The final decision on many of these key issues will be taken by the 2017 AGM on the last day of the 14th WFTO biennial conference to be held in New Delhi this coming November.
There are many committed and faithful people in several working groups who are contributing to develop the documents which will be presented in Delhi for approval. A heartfelt thanks to all these people for their support and time dedicated to participating in these working groups, in numerous conferences, meetings and online discussions. It is this attitude of generosity and dedication which makes our movement so rich and exciting and gives the positive drive to continue to strive for our main goal, bring more fairness and justice into this world.
The members of the WFTO Board of Directors, whom in recent years have invested heavily in implementing major renewals and innovations, share the optimism for the future of WFTO. Together we will continue to work and strive for new paths which will contribute to a healthy global economy, an economy that creates happiness and generates genuine change in the lives of producers which are economically marginalized. Let’s continue working together for a fairer world, so we all can live in dignity.
HAPPY NEW FAIR TRADE YEAR to all,