Letter from the Director

This year’s Asia Fair Trade Summit  (Oct.19th-22nd) was held at the beautiful Eco Sampran Riverside Resort. Thank you to everyone who came and made this event a massive success. Fair Trade Organisations are led by you our experts and WFTO-Asia is proud to be the network bringing this melting pot of Fair Trade knowledge and experience together.  It’s the strength of the Fair Trade movement and you the people investing in the Summit that made it the success it was. The Summit focus was ‘Gender Equity, and Living Wage for Sustainable Business Growth’ and the workshops panels and world café sessions all built on this.

 

This was the tenth event, in a series held biennially for the last twenty years. Yet participants agreed that this was the one of the best yet. We in the secretariat wear this praise like a badge of honour as relevance and practicality was exactly the aim.

 

The 220 people from 29 countries from a wide spectrum of producer organizations, buyers, government representatives, activists, media outlets, students and professors evinces the momentum that WFTO has managed to gather. We are coming together to promote and expand Fair Trade from both ends – bottom up through grassroots community work, and top down through legislative work. There was an impressive presence of a wide range of stakeholders, from the 80 Fair Trade Organisations to the government representatives from Korea, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand with companies, auditors, and NGOs attending, somehow WFTO Asia is now on the right track to take a significant role in helping to build a stronger Fair Trade movement in Asia.

 

Topics and workshops were relevant and practical. With in-depth presentations on Gender, Living Wage, Brand Value, Fair Trade Towns, Fair Trade Tourism and The Role of Legislation in Developing Fair Trade. The presentations are now on line please share them with your teams.

 

This year has also seen the integration of technology, reaping the potential benefit of increased internet connectivity for the growth of Fair Trade. Through a series of online webinars collectively known as Scaling Up Fair Trade, thousands of Asian small producers are connected with buyers around the world who seek Fair Trade producers. This was the first time we had used this platform and it was not without teething problems, but this online marketing platform has huge marketing potential and we plan to build on this experience.

 

More reports and stories from the 2016 Asia Fair Trade Summit are coming! In this newsletter we’ll share links to the PowerPoint presentations, and photos. The video presentation recordings, and voice recordings from the sessions will be shared shortly.

 

We are grateful to the people of Thailand despite the very sad loss of the much loved king and being a country in mourning agreed that the summit should go ahead. That the usual end party was no longer appropriate was a compromise that all participants understood.

 

We would also like to thank our collaborators and co-hosts in the Fair Trade summit, Fairtrade Asia and Pacific, the Thai Conference and Exhibition Bureau and The Australian Embassy who stepped in help at the last moment and without whom much of the conference would not have been possible.

 

Now we are planning the next event, which will be better, reach our further and impact deeper, send us your feedback to make sure we take into account your views.

 

With very best wishes for Fair Trade

 

Christine Gent

Christine Gent —Executive Director