May 8, 2021
Let us Build Back Fairer on World Fairtrade Organisation Day 2021
By Kylie Barton
This World Fairtrade Organisation Day, the theme is #BuildBackFairer. The pandemic has further exposed the many issues with our global systems in trade, communication, and prioritisation. COVID has been a damaging force, but it has also provided us with an opportunity to pause, rethink, and change our ways.
Our generation is facing the most complex set of crises ever known to man. Covid has taken the limelight for over a year now, but people are reawakening to the threat of climate change as the pandemic eases across the Western world. There are cries of ‘build back better’, and ‘better’ must mean fairer too. Humanity is desperate to return to some form of normality, but we need to redefine ‘normal’ to be more inclusive, equalizing, and fair.
Here at Island Spirit we have always championed the fair trade movement, and as the first travel organisation to become a WFTO member, we too are working to ‘build back fairer’ with our projects. We have been continuing with our reading glasses project in Fiji and will be sending out another 100 pairs in June. In Sri Lanka we are still working on micro financing schemes to support local people to create sustainable and creative businesses, and pressing forth with our recycling initiatives too. Part of rebuilding fairer is about replacing outdated business models with sustainable cooperatives and social enterprises like this.
Projects like these are critical to the fair-trade travel movement and are a great example of how the travel industry can #BuildBackFairer in the post-Covid world. The movement is all about giving power back to the local people and allowing them to have a voice in how tourists enjoy their homeland, and doing this in a positive and sustainable manner so that the beauty of places can be enjoyed by future generations.
Tourism and travel have massive potential to economically and socially reinvigorate disadvantaged communities, and here at IS we support local communities to access the international market and provide guidance, support and expertise.
Fairtrade tourism is an integrated development process that follows ethical codes of conduct. These ethics are the backbone of all of our work at Island Spirit. There is no single model of delivery as the crux of good fair trade tourism is the ability to be flexible to local need, strengths and resources.
This is how we will #BuildBackFairer. For decades there has been talk of sustainable development, rewilding, and prioritising people and planet over profit through circular economy production models.
The pandemic forced everyone to stop and gave everyone breathing space to finally realise some of these ideas, and we believe the fair trade travel movement will finally gain momentum.
Build Back Fairer
The WFTO have created a Build Back Fairer Statement to encourage governments to take this opportunity for great systematic change. It is based upon four main principles; ‘protect, restart, redesign, and resource’.
It outlines how livelihoods, human rights, and consumers should be protected and how zero-carbon production must be embraced throughout supply chains. Building back fairer also means businesses being more proactive in the promotion of the ten principles of fair trade which are:
- Creating Opportunities for Economically Disadvantaged Producers
- Transparency and Accountability
- Fair Trading Practices
- Payment of a Fair Price
- Ensuring no Child Labour and Forced Labour
- Commitment to Non-Discrimination, Gender Equity and Women’s Economic Empowerment and Freedom of Association
- Ensuring Good Working Conditions
- Providing Capacity Building
- Promoting Fair Trade
- Respect for the Environment