Brussels, 5 July 2016/ ACP: The recently held Brussels Briefing, No. 44 addressed promoting responsible value chains and sustainable sourcing through fair trade in the agricultural sector. It highlighted the problems that currently make value chains unsustainable, particularly at the farmers' level.It also presented successful examples of how fair trade is promoting sustainable sourcing.

The Briefing took place on 22 June 2016 between 9:00 and 13:00 at theACP Secretariatin Brussels, Belgium. It was jointly organised by CTA, theEuropean Commission/DEVCO, the ACP Secretariat and theFairtrade Advocacy Office. Approximately 130 participants attended, representing ACP and EU policymakers and diplomats, as well as stakeholders from the public and private sector, and representatives of various international organisations, research institutions and civil society.

Value chains comprise all the activities – from producer to market – that increase the value of a product. An estimated 500 million small-scale farmers and one billion agricultural workers supply 70% of the world's food. However, the role of small-scale farmers is often forgotten in the supply chain, and so they are the ones to suffer the most from unfair trading practices. Among other challenges, they commonly lack formal contracts, basic health and safety assurances, and adequate wages.

At the Briefing, two panels addressed sustainable sourcing and compliance with standards. The first, 'Responsible value chains, sustainable sourcing and fair trade,' gave an overview from a development perspective. Panellists included Dr Adrian de Groot Ruiz, Executive Director,True Pricewho explored the issue of unsustainable pricing and its implications for consumers and producers, and Lily Deforce, outgoing Director of Fairtrade Belgium, who discussed the latest data on the Fair Trade market and how consumers’ choice contributes to sustainable sourcing. They were joined by Aynur Mammadova, IISD Associate, SSI Team Member whose presentation centred on voluntary sustainability schemes and how they respond to farmers’ needs, and Rosita Zilli, Deputy Secretary – General, Eurocoop who discussed the role of supermarkets in fair trade sourcing, and responding to consumer choice.

The second panel, 'Scaling up successes in sustainable sourcing and fair trade,' discussed examples of successful businesses and public–private partnerships that support sustainable sourcing. This panel was chaired by Bernd Lange, Chair of the Committee on International Trade (INTA) of the European Parliament. The achievements of business models using fair trade sourcing were highlighted by Marike De Peña, Chair of bothFairtrade Internationaland the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Fair Trade Small Producers (CLAC), who spoke about Fair Trade as a farmer’s led movement. The Kuapa KokooDivine Chocolate partnership was presented by Frank Okyere, Kuapa Kokoo environmental and extension manager Fairtrade programme, Ghana and Charlotte Borger, Communications Director, Divine Chocolate, UK, demonstrating a unique business to business approach for successful Fair Trade sourcing. Fredrick Masinde, Business Development Manager, Undugu Fair Trade, Kenya spoke about setting up the first Fair Trade store in Kenya and how it has benefited from fair trade sourcing, and Abel Fernández, the Commercial Manager of the National Confederation of Dominican Cacao Producers (CONACADO) presented a case study of fair trade in the field, demonstrating the benefits of fair trade for cocoa farmers in the Dominican Republic.

The fair trade movement represents an international network of 2.5 million fair-trade producers and workers from 70 countries, and more than 100,000 volunteers. This Briefing, and the lively question and answer sessions held after both panels, contributed to bridging the information gap between stakeholders in the fair trade value chain, from farmers through to manufacturers, retailers and consumers.

More information (including presentations and videos)

On Twitter: #BBFairTrade and @BruBriefings

Photo Gallery: