Degui Academy (Taipei), 14 November 2011. The Preparatory Office of Dharma Drum University’s School of Philantropy, the Center for Social Enterprise of Fu-Jen Catholic University’s School of Management, the Taiwan Fairtrade Association and Ecogreen Corporation co-organized the forum of “New Business Opportunities — How Fair Trade Sets Off a Global Wave of Ethical Consumption and Moral Purchases”.
The forum invited Andrea Richert (New Markets Manager, Global Account Management, FLO) and Martin Hill (Director of Global Accounts and Global Product Management, FLO) to introduce the system of International Fairtrade Labeling and the status of the global fair trade market. Many enterprises supporting Fairtrade in Taiwan attended this meeting and brought foods, drinks, handicraft, clothing and other articles of daily use for exhibition.
Wen-Yen Hsu(Director of Taiwan Fairtrade Association) addressed the meeting about“ The Development of Taiwan Fairtrade”. He pointed out three potentialities of developing Fairtrade in Taiwan: (1) many people in Taiwan like to contribute to charities, but he reminded us that Fairtrade is not just charity but a movement of commerce and consumption. (2) There is a rising awareness amongst people in Taiwan regarding the quality of goods, so the producing and trading process should be made transparent and open for everybody, because this is the only way to earn the consumer’s trust. (3) The agriculture movement is growing in Taiwan. Lots of people care about agricultural issues on a daily basis, as shown by the county fairs of small-scale farmers, the development of sustainable agriculture and the demand for fair rewards to farmers. Many agricultural problems in Taiwan can be solved by the way of Fairtrade, and we can learn from the system of auditing and certification to solve the problems of agricultural production and marketing in Taiwan.
Martin Hill mentioned in his speech that Fairtrade means a trading partnership which is based on dialogue, transparency and respect. It has an ethical certification system, and is a non-profit organization and a multi-shareholder association. Fairtrade International consists of producer networks, labeling initiatives and marketing organizations. It supports producers globally with increasing their markets, improving the producers’ life, giving them access to financing channels, and thus establishing fairer trading and increasing consumer markets. In 2010 Fairtrade involved about 1.1 million small-scale farmers and workers from 63 countries who produced hundreds of billions of Euros in Fairtrade subsidies each year which was invested in business, manufacturing, community infrastructure (clean drinking water, sanitation), career development, health care and education.
FLO are already partnering with many companies, such as Kraft Foods, Cadbury chocolate, Nestlé, Starbucks, Unilever, Ben&Jerry’s ice cream and Mars. What are the developmental goals in Fairtrade? It’s about (1) Creating sustainable livelihoods, such as improved income, decent working and living conditions, a sustainable ecosystem; (2) Making trade fair, such as fair trading relationships and economically sustainable producers；(3) personal empowerment, empowering relations and structure.
At the end of the forum, Martin emphasized that small change can make a difference, so he quoted out of one of Martin Luther King’s speeches: “Before you finished your breakfast this morning, you’ll have relied on half the world.” Next he also mentioned the words of a Mexican cocoa farmer: “Many raindrops falling in the mountains make rivers flow.”
New Business Opportunities—How Fair Trade Sets Off a Global Wave of Ethical Consumption and Moral Purchases