14 June, 2018

SDG 17 – Partnerships for the Goals

SDG 17
by Ian Brown, Fairtrade Canada

Continuing our series of blog posts about the relationship between the Sustainable Development Goals and Fairtrade, Goal number 17 is Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

The UN states “A successful sustainable development agenda requires partnerships between governments, the private sector and civil society. These inclusive partnerships built upon principles and values, a shared vision, and shared goals that place people and the planet at the centre, are needed at the global, regional, national and local level.”

Trade is a key component of this Goal, with targets focused on open and equitable trading, increasing exports from marginalized countries, and ensuring market access for the most marginalized countries.

Fairtrade is a global system that operates at regional, national, and local levels to reform trade for the benefit of farmers and workers in the Global South. It is a true partnership, with producers having 50% ownership of the system. It seeks to rebalance supply chains so that more of their value stays with producers rather than being heavily weighted towards traders and brands, as is the case in conventional trade.

Through a multi-stakeholder approach, Fairtrade impacts wider change - working to change policy at a governmental level while ensuring greater financial benefits for small-scale farmers and agricultural workers through the Fairtrade Minimum Price and the Fairtrade Premium. Enabling producers to trade is more sustainable than conventional development aid. Investment of the Fairtrade Premium in their businesses, workplaces, and social programs allows producers to achieve lasting change in the communities in which they live and work. Fairtrade certification is also an important asset, allowing cooperatives to attract private investment and wider sales.

Fairtrade develops innovative partnerships to benefit producers. For example, the Fairtrade Access Fund, which has made millions of dollars of loans to producer organizations, is a partnership with Incofin Fund Management and the Grameen Foundation. This Fund allows producers to access both long-term loans for improvements to farm equipment and facilities, and shorter-term loans for working capital or trade finance.

SDG 17Here at Fairtrade Canada we also build partnerships with many organisations to further our vision. We work with the Canadian Fair Trade Network and the Association québécoise du commerce equitable on many initiatives, including Fair Trade Programs in towns, campuses, schools, and other communities across the country. We work with other civil society organizations on trade policy and sustainable development issues. In 2017 we partnered with other NGOs to submit a position paper and act as observers for the parliamentary study on Child Labour and Modern Slavery in Supply Chains by the Canadian Government’s Subcommittee on International Human Rights.

As a result of Fairtrade, many producers are able to earn a sustainable income from their farms or their work and therefore provide a better quality of life for their families. As a committed partner to the Sustainable Development Goals, we want to see this change spread to all farmers and workers around the world.