CBI is starting up a partnership with the Dutch Association of World Shops (DAWS), a chain of almost 300 Fairtrade shops known as Wereldwinkels. The project plan, which focuses on sustainably designed products, has a budget of €2.8 million and will run from the end of 2013 to October 2017. The project is called Upscaling Gifts & Living products and is led by CBI’s Henrique Postma-Hazelaar.
The objective is to professionalise producers and traders in developing countries so they can introduce their merchandise under a Fairtrade label in Europe and increase sales through World Shops. CBI is already active in the home decoration sector in Vietnam, Indonesia, South Africa, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Madagascar so there are certainly opportunities for synergy. CBI’s Tailored Intelligence study demonstrated that buyers are increasingly interested in the story behind the product and its production, and concern about CSR is stimulating demand for Fairtrade products from EU importers.
DAWS member shops adopted Fairtrade’s international criteria for reliability and quality in 2001. Production-wise this means not using child labour, working conditions must be safe and workers must be paid a living wage. CBI's CSR guidelines are based on the same concerns as the Fairtrade criteria, so CBI is delighted to work with Fairtrade certified producers. CBI and DAWS will exploit their joint expertise and knowledge to create, implement and promote a Fairtrade labelling system. They will also support manufacturers of Fairtrade products in their export capacity building and matching process. The WFTO membership system and its product label will be considered and DAWS and CBI will maintain close contact with other relevant systems, such as Fairtrade International and IMO/Ecocert.
It is expected that on completion of the programme the Fairtrade product label will be available and 10 CBI exporters in developing countries will be ready to enter EU markets, while 100 new business contacts are being groomed to do the same. The new Fairtrade label should be ready for implementation by the end of 2015.
Postma-Hazelaar says that CBI and Dutch Association of World Shops are very much looking forward to improving the Fairtrade market for Gifts & Living products. DAWS director Huub Jansen said: "By combining our knowledge, experience and networks we can realise a breakthrough for the Fairtrade Gifts & Living chain, ensuring that more producers in developing countries operate under Fairtrade conditions and sell more Fairtrade products through World Shops and other retailers. It’s a mission we have been fighting for for years."> Read the full article