Cooperatives and Fair Trade promote people-centred businesses together

Cooperatives and Fair Trade promote people-centred businesses together

Thursday, 6 June 2013

On 5th June, Cooperatives Europe and Fair Trade Advocacy Office join forces to underline the role that people-centred businesses should have in the EU development strategy. To this end they organized the high level conference ‘People-centred businesses: making supply chains work for small producers’, hosted by MEP Gay Mitchell.

While the EU has expressed the wish to work more closely with the local private sector to achieve EU development objectives, Cooperatives and Fair Trade underline the need to enhance an enterprise model putting people and not profit at the heart of business.

Cooperatives and Fair Trade have been important development actors of the private sector for many years. They have contributed to promote a more inclusive people-based enterprise model to the economic system and proving that it is viable and successful.

Harriet Lamb, CEO of Fair Trade International, said: “Businesses alone are not enough to tackle poverty; the EU should foster people-centred businesses. Cooperatives and Fair Trade have shown that they put high standards and strict rules on businesses, that they put people first, and still they are successful”.

Dirk J. Lehnhoff, President of Cooperatives Europe, said: “Cooperatives and Fair Trade are established development actors with long-term oriented business models. By putting people’s needs first, we have proven to be able to respond to sustainable, economic and social needs. We support the Commission initiative announced in the Agenda for Change to work with local private actors and we believe that member-owned businesses, which benefit local communities, should be key partners”.