Joakim Reiter, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The Sustainable Development Goals require the combined action of government, civil society and business in order to develop solutions to the complex challenges of poverty, inequality and climate change. Fair Trade has been recognised as a socially focused business model that can promote and support the roadmap to a sustainable food and agriculture system (Business and Sustainable Development Commission, 2017). The aim of the conference was to investigate the ethics and practice of fairness that constitute the processes, goals and indicators of sustainable development. Researchers and practitioners were encouraged to use the SDGs as a lens to explore and assess Fair Trade’s contribution to date and potential to support a global agenda towards sustainable development.

Since the first Fair Trade International Symposium in 2002, it has evolved to become the preeminent academic conference and international meeting for scholars, practitioners and policymakers working in the area of Fair Trade. The symposium has become a unique platform for academics and practitioners to exchange ideas, build and consolidate networks, develop projects and identify new areas of research.

For FTIS 2018, we were joined by speakers from across the Fair Trade movement including: Rudi Dalvai, President of WFTO; Darío Soto Abril, CEO Fairtrade International; Nancy Mureti, Fairtrade Africa; Richard Adams, Chair of the Board of the Fair Trade Advocacy Office.

The conference was be organised by the Portsmouth Business School, in cooperation with the FTIS Steering Group and supported by representatives from WFTO, Fairtrade International, Fair Trade Advocacy Office and Fairness Networks.

Conference theme

The main theme of the conference is ‘Fair Trade and the SDGs: Investigating the fairness of sustainable development’.

While all of the goals are relevant for Fair Trade producers, Fairtrade International, the World Fair Trade Organization and the Fair Trade Advocacy Office have jointly identified the following nine SDGs as the most closely related to Fair Trade’s role in global supply chains:

  • SDG 1 - No poverty
  • SDG 2 - Zero hunger
  • SDG 5 - Gender equality
  • SDG 8 - Decent work and economic growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced inequalities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible consumption and production
  • SDG 13 - Climate action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, justice and strong institutions
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

The organising committee includes:

  • Matthew Anderson (University of Portsmouth)
  • Sergi Corbalán (Fair Trade Advocacy Office)
  • Marie-Claude Desjardins (University of Sherbrooke)
  • Roberta Discetti (University of Portsmouth)
  • Bob Doherty (University of York)
  • Christine Gent (World Fair Trade Organization) Arisbe Mendoza Escalante (Fairtrade International)
  • Alan Tait (University of Portsmouth)
  • Anne Tallontire (University of Leeds)