Fairen Handel verstehen: How can you co-operate with World Shops (Weltläden)?

Sie kennen jemanden oder eine Organisation, die fair produziert und gerne in den Weltläden in Deutschland die Produkte verkaufen würde? Sie wissen aber nicht, was die Bedingungen sind, um mit den Weltläden zusammen zu arbeiten? Kein Problem, nach der deutschen, türkischen und französischen Version, haben wir den Leitfaden auch auf Englisch zusammengestellt, der erklärt, welche Möglichkeiten es gibt!

A World Shop is a specialist fair trade retailer. Meaning: all the products that can be bought there – arts and crafts (such as instruments, baskets or jewellery) as well as food and textiles – have been traded fairly. A large part of these products come from organic farming. world shops are also involved in political campaigns and provide information and education on fair trade. They aim to contribute to more fairness in trade with producers from countries of the Global South. There are about 2,500 world shops in Europe with around 900 in Germany alone.                                                      

How can you co-operate with world shops? What can you do to have your products sold in world shops?

What are the options?

There are two options for trading with world shops. The first of these is co-operating with certified suppliers. These are already listed in the suppliers’ catalogue of the World Shop umbrella organisation “Weltladen-Dachverband” and sell their products inworld shops. They are fair trade importers.

The second option is to establish a new fair trade import organisation in Germany and thus be directly added to the world shops suppliers’ catalogue.

How canyou co-operate with fair trade importers?

It used to be the case that fair trade importers had to seek out their partners in the countries of the Global South. Nowadays, first contact can be made easily via digital media and through the intermediary of various persons and organisations.

Following first contact, two basic issues should be addressed: is the product available both in good quality and at a reasonable price? Is it produced according to fair tradeprinciples and will the partnership help develop these further?

If the trading partners are new and not yet active in fair trade, they must complete a questionnaire gathering data about the organisation and about how key WFTO criteria are implemented. Contact is then intensified and, if necessary, will focus on problem issues. If the trading partners are already audited by a certified fair trade organisation, the relevant reports will be checked.

Before beginning the trade partnership, the trading partners are supported across a range of issues and solutions for existing problems are developed – such as if there are institutional or political obstacles or if the trading partners require assistance in product development and quality assurance.

The way a decision on admission is made will depend on the trading partners. For instance, if a new country or a new product group or an unusual organisational structure is involved, a committee of the import organisation will meet to discuss the application. This will include both external fair trade specialists and employees. However, if the trading partners have already been audited by are cognised fair trade monitoring system and there is previous experience of the product group, the new trading partners can be admitted.

The time at which trading begins will also depend on the trading partners. If the partners already have a fair trade certification and if the product is known, they can begin after a few weeks. However, if the trading partners are new, have no export experience and/or if the product requires further development, this can take up to two years.

As a rule, there will be a visit to the import organisation in the course of monitoring within two years following the start of the new trading partnership.

How can you be added to the world shops suppliers’ catalogue?

As specialist fair trade retailers, world shops sell fairly traded products – that is the essential core of their profile. According to the world shops convention, all purchases must be made from the suppliers’ catalogue, i.e., all fair trade products in the World Shop must come from suppliers in the suppliers’ catalogue. For world shops to retain their credibility, it is crucial that compliance with World Shop criteria is externally audited.

With the suppliers' catalogue, the members of the World Shop umbrella organisation WL-DV have created a tool to ensure such auditing. Regarding the choice of suppliers, the following applies: “world shops will buy products from suppliers who have been successfully audited and are listed in the suppliers’ catalogue.” As part of the certification process for the suppliers’ catalogue, suppliers will complete a standardised questionnaire checking the criteria of the world shops convention and will generally also undergo an audit by an independent external expert. For the audit, great importance is attached to suppliers knowing their trading partners and the situation on the ground, supply chains being transparent and trading partnerships being established on a long-term basis.

Rather than entering into a partnership with certified suppliers, producers may also establish their own import organisation in Germany, which can then be audited and certified as a supplier of their products.

Following first contact between suppliers and the members of the world shops umbrella organisation WL-DV, the suppliers must apply to have their products listed in the suppliers’ catalogue. The procedure is as follows:

  • Application checked by Weltladen-Dachverband (WL-DV)
  • Agreement on the certification process signed by both parties
  • Supplier’s questionnaire completed by supplier
  • Questionnaire assessed by suppliers’ catalogue working group
  • Queries answered/additional documents requested
  • Report prepared by suppliers’ catalogue working group
  • External auditor appointed and audit conducted at supplier’s headquarters (this step is omitted for small and young organisations)
  • Decision on admission to suppliers’ catalogue made by the board on the basis of reports by the working group and auditor
  • Admission to suppliers’ catalogue published by WL-DV (newsletter, website, etc.)
  • Repeat audits every two years

You can find more information here.

Autor*in:
Julian Schroeder
Datum:
9.12.2021

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