local fair trade solidarity

our collectives

The Association romande des Magasins du Monde (ASRO)brings together 35 Magasins du Monde (MdM) throughout Switzerland Romand and has been working for 50 years on the issue of integrated fair trade. ASRO and the Magasins du Monde are a space for civic engagement and participate in the project of a social and solidarity-based economy.

Swiss Fair Trade : Swiss Fair Trade is the umbrella organization for fair trade organizations in Switzerland. The association was founded in October 2007, continuing the work of the Swiss Fair Trade Forum. Swiss Fair Trade's mission is to promote fair trade in Switzerland, strengthen its structures and set high standards.

Uniterre is an independent farmers' organization committed since 1951 for dfair and transparent supply chains, lood sovereignty and agroecology, lhe implementation of the Declaration of the Rights of Peasants.ne.s, sure agricultural production from free trade treaties and facilitate access to land, especially for women and young people

The Fédération Romande d'Agriculture Contractuelle de Proximité (FRACP) is the network that brings togetherfor for 15 years, contractual basket initiatives for local, ecological, social and solidarity-based agriculture on a human scale, to ensure food sovereignty.

The Collectif B.R.E.A.D (Bâtir de la capacité, Reparate, Equity, Agroécologie, Dignity) was launched as a think-tank and action collective working for equity in food systems. Its aim is to empower people to transform their food systems. In particular, it conducts a strategic watch on innovative modes of action. This collective is coordinating the project.

Project presentation

Faced with the growing inequalities in food systemsthe idea of trading fair trade products grown by farmers-s farmers is gaining momentum. In view of the difficulties faced by European farmers, a number of initiatives have been launched in France, Italy and Belgium to apply fair trade principles to local initiatives. to local initiatives, through the introduction of labels or new legislation. In fact local fair trade has been clearly identified as a means of supporting the agro-ecological transition in our latitudes. In Switzerland, too, the situation of farmers-has continued to deteriorate. This is why our working group has been considering, since September 2021, the the implementation of this concept in our context local and to priorities to to mobilize to support to support the transition food system. For us, it is important to metting the emphasis on "doing things together based on common denominators shared by the players-trices committed-ein the food system. For move forward in a very concrete way, we therefore decided to organize a expert working day, in October 2023, in Geneva..

To prepare for the day, we interviewin advance, actors-trices engaged-to understand the values and criteria and their priorities for action. We synthesizeson this information in first document which will serve as a basis for discussion during the working day. Thanks to à chosen methodology, we will be able be able to identify the brakes and gas pedals of change that would slow down or speed up the impacts this innovation can have on the various dimensions of food system sustainabilityand, consequently, define the appropriate action strategy.

Throughout the scientific literature on the sustainability of food systems, the role of cities is recognized essential. As thehe city of Geneva is a committed and ambitious when it comes to climate and food issuesand food issues, we see it as an ideal partner to takee a pioneering role by supporting theorganization the organization of this dayand in the creation of a new movement for local fair tradewhich will help improve the sustainability and accessibility of the food system. Supporting this project will also be a way of testing this methodology, which can then be applied to other innovations in the food sector.


Noe decided to use the URBAL METHODOLOGY[1]methodology, developed by researchers at the University of Montpellier.

Indeed, "URBAL is a method that looks at the impacts of activities that social innovations working towards more sustainable food systems put in place. To support the transition to more sustainable food systems, URBALs, URBAL proposes a three-stage qualitative evaluation process based on the notion of impact pathways. URBAL relies on a participatory approach in which the diversity of stakeholders, including consumers, users and beneficiaries, is involved to contribute their knowledge and experience. to contribute their knowledge and experience of multidimensional impacts on sustainability. URBAL supports innovation stakeholders in leading, managing, developing, improving, promoting and scaling up innovation. as well as donors and public players in the decision-making process. URBAL can also be used to prepare a quantitative impact assessment, helping to identify the indicators to be prioritized."

This phase of our phase of our project three stages:

  • Steering committee meetings, identification of relevant stakeholders and drafting of a first version of a declaration of local fair trade,
  • A day at the World Café[2]which will bring together of actors-s specialized in fair trade, agroecology and equity of the food system,
  • Analysis of results and reports and an amended version of the of the declaration which will then be widely distributed.

Our working group will then embark on the next phase of the project, the deployment of an action action strategy, as discussed discussed with world café participants.

Project time frame

Since october 2021 Ronthly meetings of the steering committee
January to june 2023 Identification and interviews with relevant stakeholders to highlight their values and criteria, and drafting of a common declaration as part of a Lilian Schibli's socio-economics internship, supervised by ASRO's Lara Baranzini
June to October 2023  Preparing and organizing the world-café
October 2023 Journee of expert work as part of the Journées de l'Agroécologie (Agroecology Days)
After October 2023  Drafting of reports and a first version of an action strategy
Broadcast event
September 2023 Participation in the international Fair Trade Towns meeting in Vaduz and presentation of our work.

The project team

Lara Baranzini

Lara Baranzini after 12 years with the Chambre d'Economie Sociale et Solidaire, as aant development and promotion of the social economy, project manager for the 2015 statistical survey of SSE organizations and companies and "SSE Criteria" project manager: development and validation of criteria in a participative context, design of a criteria verification tool, monitoring of implementation. Lara joined ASRO as coordinator and spokesperson.

Alberto Silva

Alberto Silva is in charge of agricultural value chains, office coordination, the Interparliamentary Food Sovereignty Group and campaigns for Uniterre.

Gérald Progin

Gérald Progin Gérald Progin: retired. Active volunteer for many years in the field of fair trade and, more broadly, North-South relations, both with Magasins du Monde and the Fédération vaudoise de coopération (Fedevaco). At the Association romande des Magasins du Monde, he is a member of the coordinating committee, and at thea Fedevaco, co-chairman of the information committee.

Sophie de Rivaz

Sophie de Rivaz : political scientist specializing in alternative economy and sustainable development.She has worked for the charity Action de Carême for seven years. She is responsible for "fair trade, sustainability and transition" and represents the organization on the committee of Swiss Fair Trade, the umbrella organization for fair trade in Switzerland.

Lilian Schibli

Lilian Schibli : stagiaire and Master's student in socio-economics, she is in charge of contacting groups to be included in the local fair trade project, as well as drawing up criteria for a possible charte / declaration.

Gaëlle Bigler

Gaëlle Bigler

Project coordinator / reporter

Gaëlle Bigler s'Gaëlle Bigler is interested in consensus-building in complex processes, and in sustainable agriculture that pays producers a fair wage while being accessible to as many people as possible. She has extensive experience in project management, scientific mediation and action research on the theme of sustainable food systems.

Local fair trade in Switzerland

Find our summary in our pdf document 

Local fair trade in Switzerland

What is fair trade?

To understand what local fair trade (FT) might look like, it's important to understand the definition and internal dynamics of North-South FT. The International Fair Trade Charter1 proposes the following definition: FT is "a trading partnership based on dialogue, transparency and respect, aimed at ensuring greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to marginalized producers and workers, particularly in developing countries, while securing their rights."

pdf What is fair trade?

Local or Northern Works Councils, European examples

What do we mean by "local fair trade" or "North-North fair trade"? To find out, we've chosen to look at various initiatives launched by the historical players in North-South fair trade, notably the two umbrella organizations, WFTO and Fairtrade International, as well as a number of organizations in three European countries: France, Italy and Belgium. We will then look at the points of convergence and divergence of approaches.

1. The umbrella organizations' approach

2. Examples from France - Belgium - Italy

3. Points in common

4. Debates that remain open

other concepts & definitions


Agroecology is a science, a set of sustainable agricultural practices and a social movement fighting for food sovereignty. It is not confined to fields and farms, but extends to the entire food system, from field to plate, including every link in the production chain.

The right to choose production methods, the land to cultivate and the food to consume must belong to people, not to companies or states signing trade agreements. If it can't prevent global warming, agroecology can at least show farmers how they can adapt to its effects.

Four interacting dimensions

The ecological dimension of agroecology is essential: preserving soil fertility, combating erosion and promoting biodiversity are its cornerstones. In addition, agroecology replaces highly toxic synthetic pesticides and fertilizers with environmentally-friendly methods, and deliberately favors local seeds to better protect against climate variations.

Agroecology also has a social dimension: it values traditional knowledge, essential to the practice of equitable, sovereign agriculture. It also attaches great importance to solidarity groups and women's training, which are essential for strengthening the community. In fact, women play a central role in agriculture and food production: they do much of the work in the fields, preserve and propagate peasant seeds, prepare meals and sell harvests on the market.

The economic dimension of agroecology, giving priority to regional and seasonal produce, is reflected in the strengthening of local circuits: food is produced for the local market; seeds as well as fertilizers and ecological phytosanitary products are also manufactured locally. The agroecological approach deliberately focuses on a variety of products that can be harvested all year round, if possible, so that families can diversify their sources of income.

Finally, the political dimension refers to the participation in political processes of producers and employees in the agricultural and agrifood sectors, a right enshrined in 2018 in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas, which enables them to realize food sovereignty, the right to food and control over their land and seeds.

Changing models

Agriculture is both one of the main causes of global warming and one of its main victims. We need to change course. Instead of paying direct and indirect subsidies to industrial agriculture, a mode of production that is the antithesis of sustainability, it would make more sense to massively reduce the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. There is also an urgent need to move towards a model of small-scale, diversified farming that guarantees access to land, particularly for women in the countries of the southern hemisphere.

This paradigm shift is being pursued by Fastenopfer's partner organizations in Asia, Africa and Latin America, who are committed to the consolidation and dissemination of agro-ecological approaches at both practical and political levels. In concrete terms, they promote access to resources such as land, seeds and water, and demand that the security of those who campaign for the rights of peasants be guaranteed.

Source: Christa Sutter, Head of Agroecology at Fastenopfer; https://actiondecareme.ch/une-science-doublee-dun-mouvement-social/

Peasant farming

Peasant agriculture represents the only viable alternative to today's industrialized, mechanized farming and food system, which destroys the environment and jobs, and is based on the profit motive of a handful of companies. Peasant agriculture takes into account the social, economic and ecological dimensions of agricultural production.

According to the Confédération Paysanne (the equivalent of Uniterre in France, and also a member of La Via Campesina), peasant agriculture revolves around four points:

  • Food sovereigntywhich must guarantee that each country can produce to feed its population with local, quality products;

  • Control of distributionenabling farmers, both here and in developing countries, to participate in local development, with a fair and equitable distribution of wealth;

  • The right to income Every farmer must receive a decent income from the sale of his or her produce. Prices must take production costs into account;

  • Respect for the environmentwhich must enable the democratic use of natural resources, first and foremost water, in order to guarantee a living, livable planet not only for ourselves, but also for future generations.

Peasant agriculture is based on the following 10 political principles:

  • Distribution of production volumes, enabling as many people as possible to enter the farming profession and make a decent living from it;

  • Solidarity with farmers in other parts of the world;

  • Respect for the environment, based on the principle that "we don't inherit the earth from our parents, we borrow it from our children".

  • Making the most of abundant resources and saving scarce natural resources ;

  • Transparency in the purchase, production, processing and sale of agricultural products;

  • Good taste and sanitary quality;

  • Increased autonomy in farm operations;

  • Partnerships with other rural players to develop a local economy;

  • Diversity of farmed animal populations and cultivated plant varieties ;

  • Long-term, global thinking.

But if we are to maintain and develop a diversified, resilient and job-creating peasant agriculture in a living countryside, it is essential to consider a policy that supports it.

Food sovereignty

Food sovereignty is inseparable from the right to food. This concrete political concept has been elaborated by La Via Campesina since 1995.

This international peasant movement gives the following definition: "Food sovereignty is the RIGHT of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced by ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agricultural systems. It prioritizes local and national economies and markets, and strengthens peasant- and family-run agriculture, artisanal fishing, pastoralist-run grazing and food production, distribution and consumption based on environmental, social and economic sustainability. Food sovereignty also implies new social relations free of oppression and inequality between men and women, peoples, racial groups, social classes and generations."1

Food sovereignty is therefore a strategy of resistance to neoliberalism and free-market capitalism, which destroys the environment and the people who truly feed the world (70% of the world's food is produced by peasant farmers). It's about dismantling the current industrial agricultural and food system, which doesn't produce food but huge profits for a handful of companies, by making those who feed us disappear, with the complicit consent of governments.

Food sovereignty is based on cooperation and is the antithesis of international speculation policies and free-trade treaties. Instead, it seeks to strengthen local markets, responding to the real needs of the community, rather than inflating private interests. It is therefore a political space for developing democratic agricultural and food systems, guaranteeing people access to healthy, local food and decent incomes for the peasantry, with the aim of securing a fair and sustainable future.


1Accordingto the Nyéléni Declaration, adopted in 2007 by La Via Campesina: https://nyeleni.org/IMG/pdf/declarationfinalmars.pdf

The social economy

The Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) encompasses a multitude of economic initiatives active in different sectors that contribute to a sustainable society. Resulting from citizen initiatives, there are as many definitions of the SSE as there are countries and cultures. Nevertheless, there are a few common characteristics that help define this economic sector.

This is an economic sector:

  • private (independent of the State)

  • not-for-profit or limited-profit

  • democratically managed

  • in the collective interest.

Its members share a set of principles and values that put people and the environment at the heart of their concerns, rather than profit maximization.

The SSE represents around 10% of economic activity in France and Switzerland.

Several countries have a law on the SSE. To cite just a few examples of national legislation recognizing its existence: France in 2014, Portugal in 2013, Spain in 2011.

In Switzerland, there is no formal recognition of the SSE. However, cantonal SSE chambers exist in Geneva, Vaud and the Jura-Neuchâtel-Jura-Bernois region. At federal level, there is SENS (https://sens-suisse.ch/fr/), a national platform representing Swiss impact-oriented companies.

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