The Latin American and Caribbean Network of Fair Trade Small Producers and Workers (CLAC) co-owns the Fairtrade International system. CLAC is the network that represents all organizations certified as “Fairtrade” in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as other organizations of fair trade; its mission is to represent and promote the interests, empowerment and development of its members and communities.
CLAC was established in 2004, and has had legal status since 2005. Its roots are in the CLA (Latin American Network, which brought together small-scale coffee fair trade farmers) and the PAUAL (Latin American Network of Small Beekeepers), two continental networks of small producers, both founded in 1996, a year before the establishment of FLO.
Currently, it has around 1,000 member organizations in 24 countries across the continent. It is structured through Country Platforms (that bring together producers of different products from the same country), Product Networks (that bring together producers with the same product, but from different countries), and a Workers Network.
CLAC works with these strategic guidelines:
- SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT. At CLAC we believe in the balance between the economical, social and environmental. Therefore, we adhere to the definition of the United Nations Brundtland Commission, recognizing the importance of meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs.
- INCLUSION AND EQUITY. At CLAC we believe that everyone deserves access to the same opportunities, which is why we leave no one behind. We promote participation and inclusion. We respect diversity and generate growth opportunities for everyone.
- EMPOWERMENT. At CLAC we seek that all of us become active actors in our own development, in order to transform our realities and improve the quality of life.
- INNOVATION. At CLAC we promote the incorporation of improvements to practices, processes, approaches and/or methodologies that provide producers with tools appropriate to their local context and to their production and marketing dynamics. This approach includes the generation of a culture within the organization, characterized by a new combination of ideas, capabilities, resources, knowledge and technology.
CLAC is the network of producers’ and workers’ organizations that leads the promotion of the principles and values of Fair Trade in Latin America and the Caribbean, and we act as agents of change in our own reality, contributing to the construction of a more just, equitable and sustainable world.
To be the leading network in representing, accompanying and strengthening organizations of Fairtrade small producers and workers in Latin America and the Caribbean, fostering sustainable development and promoting empowerment, self-management and human rights to achieve decent livelihoods for producers, workers and their communities.
We represent organizations of small producers and workers who are democratically organized, and we aim for the reinforcement and development of grassroots organizations.
We provide assistance to our partners, promote their products and values, and we have social, political and economic influence.
- Increase access to existing or new markets.
- Strenghtening and development of membership.
- Promote Fair Trade principles and values.
- Advocate for responsible production, trade and consumption to promote susteinable development.
- Organizational sustainability of CLAC.
- Contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the inclusion of good social and environmental practices.
In January 2022, CLAC held its VIII General Assembly, in which the Strategic Plan 2022-2024 was approved, which establishes 4 strategic objectives:
- Optimize access to markets through the promotion of Fair Trade in the North and South..
- To increase the levels of empowerment and development of the membership, through the implementation of an integral offer of services that responds to their needs, priorities and expectations.
- To implement a comprehensive strategy for positioning and advocacy of CLAC with respect to Fair Trade values, to promote responsible production and consumption in Latin America and the Caribbean.
- Increase the organizational capacities of CLAC’s structures and operational team to ensure better results.
CLAC Partners and Allies
Since its beginnings, CLAC has had the support of different international partners and donors. The most relevant partners in recent years at the regional level are:
- a) Fairtrade International, the most important partner in Fair Trade;
- b) United Kingdom international cooperation, represented by the “Department for International Development (DFID)”;
- c) cooperation for development of Finland´s Government, through Fairtrade Finland;
- d) French Development Agency (AFD), through Max Havelaar France
- e) the Belgian cooperation throght Belgian Development Agency (BTC);
- f) German cooperation through BMZ, GIZ and Fairtrade Germany.
- g) ACODEA, agriagency of international cooperation for rural development.
- h) the Inter-American Foundation (IAF)
- i) the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO)
- j) the UNDP, in the Dominican Republic;
- k) FIDA and Agroexport in Central America;
- l) TRIAS NGO from Belgium;
- m) Progresso Foundation from the Netherlands;
- n) other NGOs and allies: OXFAM, CORDAID, AGRITERRA, TWIN, SHARED INTEREST.
At the international level, CLAC is co-owner of the international Fairtrade system, as a continental network of Fair Trade producers and workers. In addition, it is a member of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), the Intercontinental Network for the Promotion of Social Solidarity Economy (RIPESS) and the Financial Alliance for Sustainable Trade (FAST). It is worth mentioning that at the national and local levels, both the national coordinators and the member organizations of CLAC develop other strategic relationships with partners and donors.