The following summary is offered by FTRN, and not by the Organizing Committee nor full Council:
Around 50 people representing some of the Fair Trade movement held a summit April 30 – May 2, 2012, in Minneapolis. Important dialogue & learning progressed among diverse stakeholders, including certifiers/standard setters (Fairtrade International – via Fairtrade Canada representative), Fair Trade USA, IMO Fair for Life, Agricultural Justice Project) who participated in just the final day. Many of the stakeholders had never met, communicated, or even known much about each other’s organizations. Valuable relationships were established or strengthened between people/organizations. The Council as yet did not achieve any of its 4 stated goals. Members identified a little common ground, but mostly discussed key issues and how the movement might resolve them. A working group was formed to propose by June next steps for dialogue and action. The Council intends to publish for the public details of its discussions and progress by June, and ways additional stakeholders can engage or join in coming months.
Regarding the 4 stated goals:
- Define Fair Trade and the movement, what they are and what they are not – members didn’t clarify common ground, but did gain more understanding of topics like domestic Fair Trade, large-scale agriculture/plantations, and what the movement could collaborate on.
- Organize the North American Fair Trade movement under a coordinated infrastructure with a common vision – very little progress, so there remains a critical opportunity to organize ongoing communication across the movement.
- Reach agreement on a plan for cooperation and accountability within the movement – this was the goal with the most progress, as members agreed on an agenda (currently 30 items) for more work, and advanced thinking a lot on many issues. It seems like commitment is there to carry some of this work to meaningful results in coming months.
- Develop a clear external message for the movement- members decided this was lower priority, so postponed work until the Council (and perhaps others) progresses on other goals first.
More details, and future updates at N. America Fair Trade Stakeholder Council