Rachel Farey, Vice-Chair of the Forum and Business Manager of the One World Shop attended the WFTO Conference in Delhi, India from 6th - 15th November. Read all about her time in Delhi in her blog post below:
Landing at the airport in Delhi on Monday 6th November came as a bit of a shock as it coincided with a thick smog that had enveloped the entire city just a few days earlier. It was caused by a variety of factors including farmers in neighbouring states burning the stuble from their rice fields, the colder weather and the increasing pollution from cars and brick factories. The sun had disappeared behind the haze and breathing in the toxic air was apparently equivalent to smoking 50 cigarettes a day! However, it didn't hinder things drastically as there was just so much to do and people to meet and we carried on with business as usual like everyone else.
I was in Delhi to attend the World Fair Trade Organiation (WFTO) Conference representing the Scottish Fair Trade Forum. This biennial conference is the world's most significant gatherings of the global Fair Trade movement; it brings together delegates from producer organisations, buying and supplier groups, networks, support organisations and friends of WFTO to discuss important issues on the way forward for Fair Trade. There were 250 delegates from 50 countries attending and the theme this year focussed on the changing market environment and trading your way to sustainable development.
The conference included a mix of lectures with keynote speakers, workshops, a craft market and lots of networking opportunities. A large part of it focussed on the policies of WFTO itself; explaining and updating the standards of the WFTO Guarantee System, updating the retailer standards and seeking approval of the revised International Fair Trade Charter for the AGM. Interesting issues for me included Fair Payment and the Living Wage for producers, adopting northern producers as equal partners in the Fair Trade system and the impact of the WFTO gender policy. The workshop on Fair Trade Towns was one of the most relevant to me and it was amazing to discover how this concept is spreading so fast in India, South Korea, South America and in Africa, especially in Ghana and the Cameroon. I was invited to speak at the workshop on the achievements of the Forum and the concept of a Fair Trade Nation.
I found the conference a unique opportunity to meet delegates from across the world and tell them about the work of the Scottish Fair Trade Forum and the One World Shop. It was particularly good to meet so many producer organisation that i have known over the past 30 years and sold their products in the shop. The Craft Market displayed a wide variety of interesting new products that many of the producer organsations have developed which I hope will soon be coming to the UK, courtesy of Traidcraft, Shared Earth and other UK wholesalers. Two other delegates from Scotland joined me at the conference: Eve Broadis from Fair Trade Scotland and Tania Pramschufer from Hand Up Events.
You can find out more about the WFTO conference here where you can access the conference report as well as copies of presentations from workshop speakers.