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Modern Magna Carta: FINE



In the lead up to the 800th Magna Carta Anniversary this year Ashley Summers takes a look at the original and a series of modern ‘versions’ of the Magna Carta from the US Constitution to the UN Declaration of Human Rights and various conventions on climate change and sustainability, Magna Carta for the Earth.

Created in 1998, FINE is the acronym for an informal collaboration of four main European fair trade groups: Fairtrade Labeling Organizations (now Fairtrade International, FI), International Fair Trade Association (now World Fair Trade Organization, WFTO), the Network of European Worldshops (NEWS!) and the European Fair Trade Association (EFTA). Together the groups established a largely-accepted definition of ‘Fair Trade’. FINE defines Fair Trade as:

“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, disadvantaged producers and workers—especially in the South.” (FINE, 1998)

The workgroup’s aims and goals include organisation cooperation on:

– The development of harmonised core standards and guidelines for fair trade

– Harmonisation, and increase in the quality and efficiency of fair trade monitoring systems

– Advocacy and campaigning work, harmonisation of their information and communication systems.

FINE also has a fair trade advocacy centre that, since 2004, has been run out of Brussels. It was set up to coordinate and collaborate with advocacy projects of fair trade issues, both on European and international levels. In addition to the framework of FINE’s activity supporting social and environmental sustainability, the Brussels office is set up to encourage public involvement and action in fair trade and trade justice.

What are the differences between free trade and fair trade? (According to

Photo: lilivanili via Flickr  

Further reading: