EU Commissioners strengthen commitment to Fairtrade
25 October 2018
This year´s Fairtrade Breakfast brought activists, supporters, producers and policy makers from across Europe together to discuss and celebrate Fairtrade - and we even had representatives from the US and Canada! Not only did we have two EU Commissioners in attendance at the Breakfast, but both announced new initiatives on Fairtrade. Cecilia Malmström, EU Trade Commissioner announced a new initiative to map out ways products more sustainable. Neven Mimica, EU Development Commissioner has commissioned a new study to investigate next steps towards a more sustainable and fairer garment industry - something MEPs have been pushing for since the start of this Parliament.
We also heard from grassroots Fairtrade producers and this year Roviro Lopez Rivera from Colombia spoke about how Fairtrade cocoa production has made a real difference to his community. It means access to a fair wage and livelihood for a community trying to rebuild after violent conflict.
This will be the last Fairtrade breakfast in this parliament. When I look back over the years, we can be proud of what we have done. We now have MEP supporters from across the political spectrum and different countries, from Ireland in the west to Poland in the East. This year we had the first ever EU Fairtrade Cities Award - which was awarded to the city of Ghent in Belgium here. And just this week MEPs backed a new law to stamp out unfair practices by major retailers which are not just hurting farmers in the EU, but impoverishing farmers in the global south.
Linda at the EU Fairtrade Cities Award 2018
This builds on previous work on conflict minerals, which force companies to provide transparency about their supply chains. We’ve come a long way from our first modest step of ensuring that Fairtrade tea and coffee is served in the parliament!
Of course, it’s not just Brussels that has great Fairtrade initiatives. Yorkshire, Britain’s first Fairtrade Region, has a strong Fairtrade tradition with so many projects, shops and events. Whatever happens with Brexit, I hope we in Yorkshire and indeed Fairtrade movement around the UK will continue to work together with our European partners to promote and support Fairtrade.