1860 : - Eduard Douwes Dekker publishes his book "Max Havelaar", which contains autobiographical elements. Dekker was living since the age of 18 years in the Netherlands’ colonies and acted against the unbearable conditions of coffee trade. His book had a high impact in the Netherlands. It triggered a progressive movement leading to the promotion of an "ethical policy" in the Dutch Indies, in order to improve the fate of the native people. For symbolic reasons, the name of the book was later adopted by the first fair trade organisation of the Netherlands.
1942: - Creation of the organisation Oxfam (Oxford Committee for Relief Famine) in Great Britain.
End of the 40’s: - Ten Thousands Villages in the U.S. and SERRV (Sales Exchange for Refugee Rehabilitation and Vocation) in Europe start trading with poor communities of the southern countries.
End of the 50’s: - Oxfam UK starts marketing in its british shops handicraft made by chinese refugees.
1957: - Young catholics (from the party KVP) in the Netherlands found an association aiming at the importation of products from the developing world. In 1959, they establish SOS (Steun Ontwikkelings Streken -Support of Development Regions Foundation- now Fair Trade Original).
1964: - The concept of fair trade enters on the international scene as southern countries insist on the necessity of exchanges just after the 2nd UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) (« Trade not Aid »).
Oxfam UK creates the 1st Alternative Trade Organisation (ATO).
1967: - Creation of the 1st Fair Trade Organisation (FTO) in the Netherlands.
Opening of the first World Shop.
1969: - Opening of the 1st FT shop in the Netherlands.
1971: - Creation of the 1st FT cooperative in Bangladesh (Jute Works).
1973: - 1st fair trade coffee sale in FT shops in the Netherlands.
1974: - Opening of the 1st French FT shop : Artisans du Monde (World Craftsmen).
1975: - Foundation of Oxfam Belgium and World Shops in Belgium.
1983: - Creation of Artisanat Sel in France.
1984: - Creation of Solidar’ Monde by the Federation Artisans du Monde.
1987: - Creation of the cooperative Andines.
1988: - Helped by Frans van der Hoff, a worker priest, mexican producers call out : «Of course, it is good to receive each year your donations to buy a lorry or build a school. But the true support would be to receive a fairer price for our coffee.» Frans van der Hoff and Nico Roozen from the NGO Solidaridad found the first Max Havelaar association between the Netherlands and Mexico and create the Max Havelaar label.
This label is attributed for the first time to a coffee.
1989: - Creation of the International Federation of Alternative Trade (IFAT - now World Fair Trade Organisation)
1990: - Several organisations including Fair Trade Organisation (FTO), World Shop, Artisans du Monde and GEPA unite to create the European Fair Trade Association (EFTA).
Creation of Max Havelaar Belgium.
1992: - Creation of Max Havelaar France, Max Havelaar Switzerland and Max Havelaar Denmark.
Creation of the labelling organism TransFair in Allemagne.
1994: - Placing on the market of fair trade tea, after coffee and cocoa.
Creation of the Network of European World Shops (NEWS).
1995: - Creation of the confederation Oxfam International uniting 13 national Oxfam organisations.
1996: - Placing on the market of the fair trade banana in the Netherlands.
1997: - The labelling organisms (Max Havelaar, TransFair, Rättvisemarkt, Fairtrade…) form the International Fair Trade Labelling Organisation (FLO).
Initiated by Max Havelaar France, creation in France of the Plate-Forme pour le Commerce equitable (PFCE - Platform for Fair Trade), a national group for dialogue and representation of French fair trade actors. PFCE englobes nowadays more than 39 FT organisations (representing more than 80% of the income of French FT organisations) as well as fair tourism associations.
1998: - Four international FT organisations (FLO, IFAT, NEWS et EFTA) form FINE
1st fair trade coffee of the Monoprix brand
1999: - Creation of Alter Eco in France.
FINE agrees on a common definition of FT :
" 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.
Fair Trade Organizations, backed by consumers, are engaged actively in supporting producers, awareness raising and in campaigning for changes in the rules and practice of conventional international trade. Fair Trade products are produced and traded in accordance with these principles — wherever possible verified by credible, independent assurance systems."
2002: - FLO launches a new international label
In France, the Carrefour brand develops a fair trade coffee.
Creation of the association and label Bio Equitable (Organic Fair Trade) in France.
A study from Alter Eco reveals that 34 % of the french people know about FT and that supermarkets represent 55% of the FT market.
2003: - Creation in France of the cooperative business Ethiquable
2004: - FT products are offered by some school caterers.
Since January 2004, the certification and the control of the applied standards have been entrusted to the FLO-Cert company, created by FLO International in order to carry the garanties of transparency and independence demanded by the international standard ISO 65.
An Alter Eco study indicates that 48,8% of the french people know about FT .
2006: - The european parliament adopted a resolution in favor of fair trade.
In 2006, in the world, the sale of fair trade certified products was estimated at more than 1,609 billion euros, an increase of 41% compared to the year before. It is also estimated that close to 1,5 million marginalized producers and workers benefit directly from fair trade (source: FLO).
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