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The World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO) formerly the International Fair Trade Organisation was created in 1989 and is a global association of 324 organisations in over 70 countries. Members are fair trade producer cooperatives association, export marketing companies, importers , retailers, national and regional fair trade networks and Fair Trade Support Organisations.
WFTO’s mission is to improve the livelihoods and well-being of the disadvantaged producers by linking and promoting Fair Trade Organisation and speaking out for great justice i the world.
In 2004, World Fair Trade Organisation launched a fair trade certification. The FTO mark identifies registered fair trade organisations worldwide and guarantees that the standards are being implemented regarding working conditions, wages, child labor, and the environment. The FTO mark is available to all World Fair Trade Organisation members who meet the requirements of the World Fair Trade Organisation Standards and Monitoring System.
“Fair trade is about giving marginalized producers a chance to succeed at the market place that generally excludes them and using the purchasing power of the consumer as a tool for real social and economic change.”
Fair Trade is the market-led solution to poverty which aims to use trade, not aid.
In India, Fair Trade Forum India ( FTF-I) is the representative body of World Fair Trade Organisation. Established in 2000, it has been working to sensitize the people or the consumer as a tool to strengthen the producer. A national network of 80 Fair Trade Organisations, the forum organizes workshops, lectures, talks in schools, colleges, shopping complexes using producer group case studies and documentaries to provide the soul-stirring insights. Presently these 80 small and medium organizations work with more than 3500 producer groups all over India with an outreach to almost 1 lakh farmers and artisans. FTF-I members registered a combined turnover of approximately 250 crores in the year 2010-2011. 80% of this comes from the exports to various countries.
Awareness Among Indian Consumers
Indian consumers are unaware that by choosing fair trade products they can support the development of socially and environmentally sustainable supply chains and thus improve the livelihoods of the producers and preserve the environment. As a result, despite the market potential, there is currently a low market demand for fair trade products. To counter, this Pro-Sustain campaign aimed at promoting sustainable consumption has been launched. Pro-Sustain activities are covered out across schools, universities, companies, corporate houses, exhibitions along with Fair Trade retail shops.
Despite ample production of Indian fair trade products for export, they are not readily available on domestic retail shelves. There is neither a single dedicated shop brand for fair trade products nor a way for consumers to identify the fair trade products in the mainstream outlets. As a result, fair trade products are not widely available to potential fair trade consumers. An “I Support Fair Trade” campaign has been launched in Mumbai, Delhi, Calcutta, Agra and is being spread across the country with the aim to increase consumption of fairly traded products.
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The government has not adopted a policy of promoting a fair trade as an effective means to catalyze socially and environmentally sustainable production. Various govt. agencies are involved in the promotion of the agricultural produce, textiles, and handicrafts. Yet, because of lack of knowledge of the fair trade, using it as a tool to promote sustainable supply chains has not featured in promotional activities of the agencies like the Ministry of Textiles, Commerce, Agriculture, and MSME’s.
Policy workshops and consensus building to lobby with various govt. agencies are one of the core focus areas.