This year’s Asia Fair Trade Summit was held in Thailand. Organizations from across the continent participated and guest speakers came from as far as South Africa to share their thoughts on contemporary factors affecting Fair Trade today, including gender equity and marketing frameworks. Guests and volunteers joined in the activities to get a hands-on look at the intricate processes that go into producing high-quality Fair Trade goods. Overall the event was a reminder of the importance of pursuing Fair Trade Principles like capacity building and transparency to achieve an equitable, sustainable future for both producers and consumers.
There were two awards presented, the Fair Trade Student Award and the Fair Trade Media Award.
The objective of the Fair Trade Student Award was to engage with universities in Asia and their students working and researching Fair Trade, thus promoting the growing network of Fair Trade activists and scholars in the field. To meet this end, WFTO-Asia awarded the Fair Trade Student Award to one winner and two second prize winners. Sunhwa Kim took the top prize. Kim’s consistent efforts to promote Fair Trade’s development in South Korea and to help Seoul become a Fair Trade City won her special recognition.
“As a researcher I am interested in understanding and practicing what Fair Trade would like to achieve. Since WFTO-Asia has contributed to the improvement of the living conditions of producers through Fair Trade campaign and education which holds the values I’ve always supported, receiving this award makes me very proud and honored”
Yumi Nomoto from Japan and Senarath Yatigammana from Sri Lanka were jointly awarded second prize. WFTO-Asia reached out to them both to hear their thoughts on the importance of Fair Trade and what the award means to them. Nomoto acknowledged that WFTO-Asia’s recognition was a valuable milestone in her growing involvement in the Fair Trade movement, and believes that Fair Trade is a far better model for global poverty alleviation than international aid. Yatigammana agreed, stating that Fair Trade is a sustainable alternative to the untenable practice of giving large amounts of aid and expecting countries to prosper with little guidance or structure.
“Fair Trade promotes more trade justice internationally. To create sustainable labour condition, Fair Trade has been approaching living wage. In my opinion, this is important to expand implementation of living wage for the poverty reduction and better livelihood”
“Fair Trade is not a charity system, but it is a long term sustainable development method of partnerships which also includes the element of environment protection. Fair Trade as a movement makes use of strategic tools such as member development through skills, knowledge, economy, health and relationships to alleviate poverty”
By awarding the efforts of Fair Trade students like Kim, Nomoto and Yatigammana to help establish equitable, sustainable trade structures in their countries, WFTO-Asia will continue to strengthen the Fair Trade movement in Asia and beyond.
WFTO-Asia recognizes the importance of underscoring uniquely effective uses of the media to spread the word of Fair Trade and the Fair Trade Media Award provides a way both to celebrate these efforts and to promote media’s role in expanding the scope of the Fair Trade Movement. The Fair Trade Media Award was given to an individual most active in promoting Fair Trade in Asia across different multimedia platforms. Once again the competition was difficult to judge. The winner was Joker Rita from My Fair Lady– platform providing ethical consumption knowledge and Fair Trade products. Rita is recognized for her work based in Hong Kong which reaches across Asia through TV and social media outlets. Women’s Education for Advancement and Empowerment (WEAVE) was given the winner prize or the most active organization. Two Runners-up were Bianca at The Altruistic Traveller and Sylvaine Plan writer of Le blog de Suti – platform aims at creating awareness amongst French consumers about Nepalese Fair Trade Organizations.
The overwhelming response from students and media professionals across Asia showed that these awards are seen as valuable and significant markers of achievement in the Fair Trade community. Having been met with such success, we will continue to recognize outstanding individuals and organizations with the Fair Trade Student and Fair Trade Media awards.