Supporting fair traders and consumers

Together with Liselotte Isaksson from the European Commission and Viwanou Gnassounou from the ACP Secretariat, Dr. Hansjörg Neun, Director of CTA, opened the 5th Brussels Development Briefing asking “can Fair Trade contribute to sustainable development?”

Dr. Neun referred to Louis Michel’s words on the “Tsunami affecting food pricing”. Rising food prices, which hit developing countries the hardest, cruelly underline the shortcomings of our current trade regime. Also climate change, and especially the discussion around biofuels, highlight the need for us to consider the impact of our choices as consumers on the human and natural environment.

Ms. Isaksson [watch video interview] explained that the Commission does not intend to regulate fair trade, because “regulation would not be beneficial nor appropriate.” Instead the Commission can support the provision of information on these schemes – both for consumers and producers – particularly by illustrating the benefits to producers and explaining the different certification methods to consumers. This could greatly improve market functioning.

Mr. Gnassounou [watch video interview] said that the ACP Group would like to go further and support the producer, because it is very costly for them to comply with the different Fair Trade standards. These costs should be recovered through direct market support. He joined Dr. Neun in raising the issue of food miles that complicate opportunities for international trade. The Caribbean and Pacific attract criticism of CO2 production in exporting to Europe. But production in these regions is often more environmentally sound with a lower carbon footprint in production. This is why we urgently need coherence between the different approaches.

See more from the 16 April Briefing

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