Nuggets from the open space sessions

This is a summary of some of the open space sessions at the fair trade futures event.

The ‘producer led organization’ open space session: the values of fair trade are the most important thing you have to offer to the world. There is a need to upgrade skills (primarily producers so they can represent themselves). Consumers need to be hit in the face by what fair trade producers are doing.

Faire trade 2.0: technology as data. Big discussion about how is that data used? Changing the supply chain. Also how consumers can collaborate online by amplifying the fair trade message. A woman in the audience thinks that young people are trying to reinvent the wheel by putting debates that have gone before them online (hmm – even if they are simply ‘putting someone else’s ideas online’ surely that’s a good thing if people who would not ordinarily have seen them might come across them online?). Personal relationships that can be built online could have a positive impact in 20 years or so.

Who defines fair trade? Producers should define fair trade and consumers have the power to boycott or not. The WFTO is perhaps already there, and we hope FLO will get there in due course.

Equitable sharing of the labour: producers could work to build the structures of fair trade movement within their own continents. Meanwhile northern fair trade organsations could be lobbying, negotiating to get the fair trade movement forward in governance. The ‘one voice’ (with all working to their strengths, collaborating, communicating).

“Government should…” session. Should it be the government that is responsible? There is a sense of burn out amongst activists; they’re not sure where they’re going next. With issues such as corruption, they have lost a bit of faith. It is not just shopping; ‘don’t just buy, do’.

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