Citizens empowered to enjoy dignity and freedom – this is one of the ways we define democracy. The International Day of Democracy on 15 September gives us an opportunity to review the state of democracy in the world.
Fairtrade encourages democratic decision-making and principles throughout our global system. Our experience has taught us that local ownership and leadership are key to increasing impact for Fairtrade farmers, workers and their communities.
When Fairtrade farmers and workers sell their products on Fairtrade terms, they receive the Fairtrade Premium, in addition to the purchase price. Producers themselves democratically decide in their own general assembly how to spend this Premium on projects to improve their communities and businesses.
At a regional level, Fairtrade producer networks are beginning to take over the producer services function, giving producers a greater say in the type of services and support they receive. Fairtrade Africa now handles producer services in Africa and the Middle East, while the producer networks in Latin America and Asia are moving in a similar direction.
At the global level, Fairtrade farmers and workers share decision-making responsibilities in our general assembly, on our board of directors and in various committees. Fairtrade’s commitment is to involve farmers and workers in decision-making, planning and implementation. By uniting all of our members and working together with like-minded organizations, we can and will change the rules of trade and enable farmers and workers to map out their own future.