Well, my presentation last Sunday at EGW Steffisburg concerning the StopArmut Sunday 2008 was officially called just an ‘input’ ;) But thanks to all those who provided great feedback on an early version of the text I was able to write it almost like a sermon. Thanks to Stefan Hochstrasser, Joël Lavanchy, Dominic Roser, Anne Barth-Gasser, Barbara Hämmerli, Til Gerber, Gerhard Bärtschi and Markus Meury!
Last week Rivella, THE famous Swiss beverage company, celebrated one year anniversary of its Fairtrade certified juices. The press release explains why the decision to brand the high quality juice bottles with the newly designed Max Havelaar Fairtrade label (although they don’t call it branding but labelling ;) was a great success. My sincerest congratulation to this brave social entrepreneurial move with strategic impact!
Do you think you earn too little? Such as Klaus Zumwinkel hiding some millions before authorities (and now paying with his job as German Post CEO). But even I as poor doctoral student am placed on the top 4% worldwide. Do the test yourself and see if you really have to worry for the 3% who earn more than you or if we should start thinking about the 96% other of world population (thanks to Dominik Roser showing me this great link!):
Awards for innovations are a great thing. First of all, you may win. Competition is fun and provides energy to accomplish more than you’d do if there are no rivals. Second, even if you don’t win, you still have done something cool. Because next to the extrinsic motivation of a prize you need also intrinsic motivation to participate in a competition so you feel happy when you’ve reached your personal goal even if you don’t scoop in. And third, if it’s a reward for something good (however this is defined…) then public benefits as well. It benefits from the innovation achieved by the winner as well as the progress accomplished by the entire industry or community.
What would be other great things that should be awarded? I dream of an Open Source Award for different kinds of groups: developers starting a new, wanted OSS project, firms releasing previously proprietary code as OSS, pioneering government agencies choosing OSS solutions, schools that teach on Linux computers etc. Secondly, I’d love to see more adoption for Fairtrade products: restaurants or cafeterias which switch to Fairtrade coffee, retailers and manufacturers which certify their products on Fairtrade labels such as Max Havelaar, housewifes or -husbands who buy Fairtrade products rather than M-Budget (Swiss low cost product line) etc.
This and related questions are treated in the upcoming event of ChristNet and StopArmut 2015 on April 21st, 2007 in Bern. Samuel Ninck and I invited Peter Weidman of teartrade.ch to talk about Fairtrade, Karl Johannes Rechsteiner as director of the microfinance initiative Oikocredit explaining the concept of microcredits and Markus Meury, coordinator of StopArmut 2015, reporting on international trade rules. Special guest in the follow-up discussion round is EDU National Councillor Christian Waber representing the critical position on the panel. Well, an attractive Saturday afternoon is guaranted and if printing of my OpenOffice.org Draw flyer at printzessin.ch works out fine we’ll soon start inviting 5000 people ;)
Update April 23rd, 2007: All the presentations including MP3 recordings, many photos and summary of the event are now available on the StopArmut website.
This simple question was the start of the so called ‘banana women‘ in the 1970s, the start of the fairtrade movement in Switzerland. Yesterday, the last of these brave women, Ursula Brunner, co-organized a conference on fairtrade labels in Bern (documentation) and I was one of the about 300 attendees (newspaper article in “Der Bund”). Stimulus of the event were the emerging labelling efforts of multinationals - also called ‘greenwashing‘ in NGO terminology. Indeed, the numerous speakers during the day confirmed this allegation to a certain point. Especially the obvious dispute of labor union representatives from Costa Rica and a Chiquita spokesperson demonstrated that the company’s labelling effort with the Rainforest Alliance was not yet sufficient to satisfy the needs of the workers. For me, particularly this label seems highly doubtful due to the statements of the speakers and also because of its representative at the conference showing a quite unsensitive way on how to communicate with the labor force. Besides some insights I gained on the ‘label industry’ - whose two competing goals are credibility and efficiency as Prof. Guido Palazzo explained well - I realized the need of fairtrade going even more mass market as Martin Rohner of Max Havelaar envisioned.