World Fair Trade Organization
The World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), formerly the International Fair Trade Association, is a global representative body created in 1989 of over 350 organisations committed to 100% Fair Trade. It defines itself as the authentic voice of Fair Trade and a guardian of Fair Trade values.
The WFTO operates in 70 countries across 5 regions; Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and North American and the Pacific Rim, with elected global and regional boards, to create market access through policy, advocacy, campaigning, marketing and monitoring. It is the only global network whose members represent the Fair Trade chain from production to sale.
WFTO members are organisations differentiated by their 100% Fair Trade commitment to eradicate poverty through sustainable economic development; pioneering social and environmental policy and practice and continual reinvestment in marginalised artisans, farmers and producer communities in some of the most fragile places on earth.
110 million artisans, farmers, growers, producers, and supporters driving Fair Trade through cooperatives, networks, brands and businesses with a 100% Fair Trade commitment delivering US$2.2 billion in Fair Trade sales worldwide.
The goal of the WFTO is to enable small producers to improve their livelihoods and communities through sustainable Fair Trade. It does this by delivering market access through policy, advocacy, campaigning, marketing and monitoring.
Fundamentally, the World Fair Trade Organization is a global community of pioneering and passionate change-makers, responsible for the development of the sustainable Fair Trade economy, for the good of us all.
History of WFTO
From the mid 70s, Fair Trade Organizations worldwide began to meet informally in conferences every couple of years. By the mid 80s there was a desire to come together more formally and the end of the decade saw the foundation of the European Fair Trade Association (EFTA, an association of the 11 largest importing organisations in Europe) in 1987 and the International Fair Trade Association (IFAT), now the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), in 1989. The organizations that are a part of WFTO vary greatly. They represent the whole chain from producer to sale and also include support organizations such as Shared Interest, which provides financial services and support to produces.
Regional networks include the WFTO Asia (formerly Asia Fair Trade Forum - AFTF), Co-operation for Fair Trade in Africa (COFTA), WFTO Latin America (formerly the Association Latino Americana de Commercio Justo - IFAT LA) and WFTO Europe (formerly - IFAT Europe). National networks include Ecota Fair Trade Forum in Bangladesh, Fair Trade Group Nepal, Associated Partners for Fairer Trade Philippines, Fair Trade Forum India, Kenya Federation for Alternative Trade (KEFAT), etc.
Fields of activities
- Developing the market for Fair Trade.
- Building trust in Fair Trade.
- Speaking out for Fair Trade.
- Providing networking opportunities
- Empowering the regions.
The FTO Mark
In 2004 WFTO launched the FTO Mark which identifies registered fair trade organizations worldwide (as opposed to products in the case of FLO International and Fairtrade) and guarantees that standards are being implemented regarding working conditions, wages, child labor and the environment. These standards are verified by self-assessment, mutual reviews and external verification. The FTO Mark is available to all WFTO members who meet the requirements of the WFTO Standards and Monitoring System and so far over 150 organizations have registered.
The Sustainable Fair Trade Management System
The Sustainable Fair Trade Management System (SFTMS) is one of the main current projects of WFTO. It aims at giving credibility to organizations member of WFTO and their products (mainlhy handicrafts) through external certification.
It is still being discussed internally (draft 3 is being circulated and discussed).