Click here to open this email in a web browser.

be informed, share information, get active… and have fun!

The newsletter is available for the first time this month in both English and Spanish.

Here is the English version, click here to access the Spanish version.


May 2013

Fair trade around the world

1. What is Fair Trade?
2. Jose’s story and visiting Fair Trade projects around the world
3. Have something to share about Fair Trade?

Otro mundo es posible / another world is possible

1. What is Fair Trade?

Well, most of you have probably heard something about Fair Trade before. It is easy to find Fair Trade products in supermarkets these days (even if they aren’t exactly the fairest ones…) But do you know exactly what Fair Trade stands for and how it has developed?

According to the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), Fair trade is summarised as follows :
Fair Trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers – especially in the South.“

The Fair Trade movement adopts a constructive approach to sustainability. It not only fights unsustainable and unfair practice in the international trade system, but also offers a sustainable alternative. The Fair Trade alternative makes the environment an absolute priority by offering consumers valuable products and providing producers with decent revenue for their work. Although there are some drawbacks, the idea has overall been a great success over the last 60 years and it has undoubtedly changed some parts of the world for the better.

Family picture of the administrative team of the Cooperativa Ngen in the project of solidary tourism (ruka-school) in Curarreheu/ChileEcological market in AreguĂ , Paraguay

From a Sustainable Couch point of view, being interested in Fair Trade offers a great opportunity to understand the link between local and global sustainability. Fair Trade producers don’t usually travel to see the final outcome of their products, but if you have the opportunity to visit them, you should definitely do so. It might offer you a new perspective, not to mention the rare chance to taste exotic products right where they are produced!

In this newsletter, we wanted to share Jose’s story. Jose left Spain two years ago to visit Fair Trade projects around the world and is in Rio at the annual WFTO meeting at the moment, so he could not write more about his travels. But if you would like to find out more, please contact us and we can ask him and share the details on!

Last but not least, if you go for a drink with your host or guest, don’t forget to look for fair-trade coffee sign! :-)

2. Jose’s story, visiting Fair Trade projects around the world

I am trained as a social worker and two of my greatest passions are organic farming and organic food. My "home" is in Cantabria, northern Spain, where we are working on improving the state of the social economy, solidarity and sustainability of the area. We run a permaculture association in Cantabria, where we also offer bio-construction and agroecology courses. Together with another association, “Cantabria Seed Network” (“Red de Semillas de Cantabria”), we are involved in a food sovereignty project, which is linked to the documentation and preservation of local seeds. These are two examples of sustainability projects that we have helped  develop in our community.

I am now writing from Rio de Janeiro, where I arrived after two years of traveling through Asia and Latin America, visiting and collaborating on Fair Trade and sustainable tourism (solidarity / community) projects. More than 500 people from around the world will gather in Rio to discuss Fair Trade matters, the environment and social responsibility. It will be a great meeting for Fair Trade solidarity between many people and organizations linked to the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO).

World Fair Trade Organisation, the voice of Fair Trade Visit of an artisan from the Chaco (Paraguay), humble, wise and very talented artisan !!!

During the past two years, I visited many projects in permaculture and sustainable tourism throughout Asia. It was fascinating to learn about other types of bio-construction and agriculture and to exchange ideas and future projects. Traveling the world has given me a new perspective on the social, economic and environmental reality of other countries. At the same time, it has been a great opportunity to build networks of support and cooperation throughout the world.

I hope to visit several ecovillages in Latin America, part of the Latin American Network CASA. The idea behind these sustainable settlements is to exchange experiences and resources that we can use in both present and future projects.

My bag only weighed 6 kilos during these two years, including my computer and sleeping bag. I'm a very light traveler and I am trying to reduce my carbon footprint every day. As a conscious consumer, I try to practice the 3 Rs (reduce, reuse and recycle) as far as I can, I always try to use public transport and eat organic produce where possible.

3. Have something to share about Fair Trade?

Whether you are a sustainable host or a sustainable surfer, Fair Trade could be a part of your Sustainable Couch experience! You can meet Fair Trade producers on the road, like Jose, visit exotic Fair Trade shops, or taste Fair Trade products with your hosts. The Sustainable Couch community can also help you in this!

If you want to share information about Fair Trade projects, if you are looking for Fair Trade resources around the world, or if you simply have something to say about Fair Trade projects, don't hesitate to tell us: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). We will feature your story in our upcoming newsletter.

Take action, start now!

Sustainable Couch Team (Alba, Massi, Mathieu, Selene, with the contribution of Jose)
Join us on Facebook!

If you want to unsubscribe from this newsletter then please click here.