A fair trade for a just economy
Building an alternative: about us
Labour rights
Where do we want to go
FTO Mark: a step forward
Producers: a special philosophy
A real model: ROBA in India
A real model: ROBA in Bangladesh
A real model: ROBA in Nepal
New projects, new horizons
ROBA system: the commercial activity
ROBA shop: a liberated space
The transparent price
Education and advocacy: our mission
Our traveling companions
Campaigns and forums
To spread the knowledge of a different world


A fair trade for a just economy
Fifty years of fair trade have represented a real change in the possibilities of a common citizen to become a protagonist of social change: simple actions such as the daily purchases become an instrument capable of transferring resources and modify commercial strategies.
Dignity of individuals and environmental sustainability, respect for local traditions and globalization of the rights: on these bases commercial relations have been built, which are based on justice and fairness and which implicate millions of persons and small producers all over the world.
In addition to all this, hundreds of organizations in the North of the World have been able to give to the communities in the South of the World, alongside the partnerships, also a political and advocacy activities with the goal to change the international rules. Only this way it is possible to advance in the direction of a greater social justice, awakening the citizens to a greater civil responsibility, forcing on the corporations a greater social responsibility.


Building an alternative: about us
ROBA dell’Altro Mondo was born in 1997 as a cooperative. The goals it has set for itself are centered on the wholesale and retail sale of products (handicraft only) proceeding from economically and socially underprivileged areas, according to the principles of Fair and Solidarity Trade.
Alongside the growth of the commercial sector, ROBA develops a range of activities linked to the awakening, advocacy and instruction with the goal to contribute to the limitation and elimination of all the forms of exploitation and limitation to the social and human development both in the North as well as in the South of the World. This commitment has spawned in September 2003 the Association ROBA dell’Altro Mondo - Cooperazione Internazionale (International Cooperation), a true sister company of the Cooperative with the specific mission to work and press at the political level, often in cooperation with other organizations, for changes in the rules. The Association was born nearly at the same time as its first Bottega (Shop), which was inaugurated some months before, in March 2003: a shop that in addition to being a fair and solidarity sales point, tries to integrate also some aspects linked to the territory (a small botanical garden to give emphasis to the Mediterranean Scrub, in the ancient inner city of Rapallo) with the awakening of the community in which it operates (with educational courses and public events). ROBA at this point has become a true system, wherein the commercial and political sides, entrepreneurial spirit and social sensitiveness, integrate in the effort to demonstrate that an alternative economy can be a sustainable one.



Labour rights
Today ROBA employs 12 persons (9 full time and 3 part time) all of them with open-ended contracts. The absence of volunteers, people employed under project contracts (previously known as contracts for coordinated and continuous cooperation) and the decision not to utilize provisional contracts or other forms of temporary employment are a clear political choice, which is fully in line with the mission that ROBA has chosen for itself.


Where do we want to go
For ROBA fair and solidarity trade is at the same time a real utopia, a sustainable alternative and an instrument for change; to separate the commercial side from the political goals, not to integrate the partnership with the Southern communities, the marketing of products and the political and social commitment risk to be a dangerous boomerang not only for the fair and solidarity movement, but also for the concrete hopes of change that Civil Society is laboriously building.
For this reason ROBA has decided to look after all aspects of its actions; an activity based on the centrality of the Fair Trade Shops, privileged partners for selling its own products, but also important traveling companions for the distribution outside the Fair Trade circuit; this enables to exclude from the audience of possible partners the chains of the Large-scale Distributors, commercial actors sometimes linked to events of social desertification and that contribute to make employment temporary. All this is part of an attempt to find a chain that puts together production and distribution in a clear and transparent way that shows clearly the profile of the organizations dedicated to Fair Trade, important actors not only for their direct activities, but also for the ethical demand that they feed among the consumers.
The social and awakening commitment becomes at this point a necessity for a set up that wants to contribute to changing unfair economic rules: support and promotion of campaigns (about the World Trade Organization, Corporate Social Responsibility), participation to national and international networks (Rete Lilliput, Seattle to Brussels), membership in federations and coordinating bodies (Ifat, Agices); all the above with the goal to participate and to put itself to the service of a civil society on the move.


1 To guarantee working conditions that respect workers’ rights as provided for by ILO agreements
2 Not to utilize child labor and not to exploit juvenile labor, in compliance with the International Convention on the Rights of the Child
3 To pay a fair price which guarantees to all organizations (the production, export, import and distribution ones) a just profit; the fair price for the producer is the price agreed upon with the producer itself on the basis of the cost of the raw materials as well as of a decent and regular remuneration for each individual producer
4 To guarantee the workers a just pay for their work, guaranteeing equal working and pay opportunities without any discrimination based on sex, age, social condition, religion and political opinions
5 To respect the environment and to promote a sustainable development in all the production and marketing phases, favoring and promoting biological productions, the utilization of recyclable materials, and production and distribution processes with a low environmental impact.
6 To adopt democratic and transparent organizational structures in all the aspects of the activity, which guarantee collective participation to the decisional process
7 To involve basic producers, volunteers and workers in the decisions that concern them.
8 To reinvest the profits in the production activity and/or to the social benefit of the workers (e.g. social funds)
9 To guarantee the consumers a transparent price, that supplies at least the following information: FOB price paid to the supplier, administrative, import and transportation expenses, and profit for the Shops. Such information may be listed either in percentage or in absolute value, for each product or for each type of products, or for country of origin, or for group of producers.
10 To guarantee a multidirectional flow of information which puts at everyone’s disposal the knowledge of the working methods, the political and commercial strategies and the socio-economical background of each organization
11 To promote informative, educational and political actions on fair and solidarity trade, on the relationships among economically disadvantaged countries and the economically developed ones and the related themes
12 To guarantee direct and continuous commercial relationships, avoiding forms of speculative intermediation, excluding reciprocal constraints and/or impositions and favoring a better reciprocal acquaintance
13 To favor projects promoting improvements in the conditions of the weakest categories
14 To enhance and favor handicrafts which are the expressions of the cultural, social and local religious foundations since they are the bearers of information and the basis for a cultural exchange
15 To cooperate, acknowledging each other, in common actions and to favor moments of exchange and sharing, favoring the common goal over individual interests. In order to avoid actions which weaken the Fair Trade they commit themselves, furthermore, in case of controversies, to follow a path of confrontation and dialogue, if needed with the help of a facilitator.
16 To guarantee free and transparent commercial relationships
17 To guarantee transparency in the financial handling especially in what relates to salaries


FTO Mark: a step forward
The Fto Mark, the first worldwide mark of the Fair and Solidarity Trade organizations is the arrival point of a journey which started in Arusha, Tanzania, and managed by Ifat, the worldwide federation which gathers more than 250 bodies in 59 countries. The mark, launched on January 19th, 2004 in Mumbai, India will not identify a single product, but rather the entire range and therefore the organizations, which will have to abide by the international standards laid down by Ifat (among which respect for the environment and for the directives of the International Labor Organization, transparency in the production processes, non-discrimination in general) and will be included in a system of monitoring and verification.


Producers: a special philosophy
The artisans and the networks of small producers represent for ROBA the beating heart of the whole commercial, cultural and political activity. We believe that to contribute to building just economies means most of all to experiment production, exchange and consumption models based on social responsibility, considered as a qualifying goal to be created and achieved by the whole chain, with a view to a gradual change

The choice to sell exclusively handicrafts has driven us to choose producers who develop projects which are oriented to the promotion and protection of local cultures and of traditions, safeguarding minorities and ethnic groups who risk economic and social extinction; in particular we are interested in supporting projects and products that favor the development of equal opportunities through the valorization of the precious work of women.
When we select a producer and a project, these are the first requirements which we evaluate, beyond their belonging to the international circuit of fair trade (IFAT).
Another aspect that we are trying to develop is the ecological sustainability of the productions; the research for natural raw materials and the utilization of production processes which are ecologically compatible make up the framework of a light production method which contributes to the development of economies which are moderate and non-violent towards individuals and the environment.


A real model: ROBA in India
Thanks to its size and multiple ethnic groups, cultures and traditions, languages and religions, India is more similar to a continent and it is land of contrasts, characterized by religious and social structures which have remained unchanged for the last 4,000 years.
The progressive penetration of foreign investments looking for profits in key sectors such as health, education and water, is pushing towards the gradual commercialization of essential common goods in a country where more than 40% of children under five is undernourished

The steadiness of the relationships with the producers creates new commercial relations based on trust and cooperation; the groups of craftsmen have the possibility to plan the production in the medium and long term and they insure themselves the opportunity to invest the greater profits in equipment to improve the products and, most of all, in local public services. The creation of welfare through just commercial relationships is one of the most important and qualifying dimension of our activity.

Tibetan Refugee Self Help Handicrafts
An organization founded in 1981 in order to preserve the cultural richness of Tibet; with its 100.000 exiles, the Tibetan community in India today is one of the most numerous. Thanks to the work of the cooperatives linked to communities spread over the territory, backpacks and bags, office articles, shirts and cotton clothes are produced and exported

A federation of small organizations of producers founded in 1985, SIPA acts as a collector and facilitator for the export of the products abroad. The main products we import are potteries, wooden articles and candles.

An association formed in the year 2000 by groups and individuals, it includes today 19 groups of producers for a total of 215 craftsmen, spread over ten districts. The association provides support and services for production, which is mainly made up by potteries, earthenware, leather processing.

A cooperative founded in the year 1978 in Calcutta by a few deaf-mutes artists, today Silence employs 72 deaf-and-dumb persons, who produce wax candles, wooden articles, jewelry and incenses.
It also has a professional training center for handicapped individuals.

founded in 1977 in Calcutta, EMA brings together several groups of craftsmen who promote their work and participate in training programs linked to education and health. They produce mainly hide or leather items.

non-governmental organization formed in 1991 by a group of craftswomen to improve the living conditions of women at all levels. Today 2,000 women are involved working with fibers, baskets, pottery, bamboos and coconut leaves. Share is considered a reliable organization even by local governmental institutions.



A real model: ROBA in Bangladesh
Overlooking the alluvial coast of Bengal, bordering on India and Burma and dominated by the crisscrossing of the Gange delta, Bangladesh is a country full of contradictions and which has undergone great changes after the liberation struggle.
When it gained independence in 1971, the jute sector was at the first place in the economy in terms of manufacturing production, employment and export revenues, which were equal to 87% of the total. The nationalization of the factories first, and their privatization later, have taken place against a background of corruption, mismanagement and imbalances which have threatened and still do threaten the national economy.
Against this backdrop stands the relationship, by now well-established, of ROBA with some important consortia of producers, who have been able to guarantee a very good relation with the territory in view a healthy and well-balanced competition. The important pilot experiences of micro-credit, such as the historic Grameen Bank born in 1977, have favored the growth of a productive fabric, which has offered an opportunity even to the poorest people; an ideal fabric for the development of fair trade.

Once consolidated, the relationships with the producers need to be strengthened and monitored in order to face the possible criticalities of a complex commercial system. The choice of favoring direct relationships with small groups of artisans linked to the villages has driven us to redefine the relationships with the larger organizations of producers, favoring the production activities over those of commercial intermediation.
This has favored the possibility of pre-financing the small artisans up to 100% of the value of the orders.
This result has grown out of a journey that has led us to try new roads and to verify our commercial strategy in order to be always in line with our mission.

Corr The Jute Works
historic organization born in 1973 with the support of Caritas; it has now 4,000 women and 200 cooperatives spread all over Bangladesh and that cover 17 districts and export to 24 countries. The main product is jute, a precious vegetable fiber from which bags, cloths and cordages are made.

an international organization which is engaged in Bangladesh since 1970 in the support mostly of artisan activities and of programs for the development of agriculture. Through its training and development programs MCC implicates each year more than 100,000 families. It exports mainly water hyacinth furniture
and colored jute bags.

Dhaka Handicrafts
one of the largest organizations born in 1976 with the goal to improve the socio-economic standing of poor families which today are more than 3,000. We import mainly baskets.

born from a mission started with a humanitarian goal, today Rishilpi is an organization which has succeeded in implicating 4,000 village families; a cooperative has been created, which is involved in handicrafts made of wood, hide, palm and date leaves.

The Swallows - Thanapara Project
as of the end of the war in 1972, the Swedish organization “The Swallows” has committed itself to a project for the revival of handicraft work and the rebirth of the villages. Today there are 105 artisans in the project, of which 102 are women; their work is based on sewing, weaving and embroidery utilizing environmentally friendly raw materials. Among the most sold products are cotton shirts.


A real model: ROBA in Nepal
A border region between the fertile plains of India and the desert plateau of Tibet, Nepal is at the bottom of the list for any international economic indicator and it is the country where we have started our experience of fair and solidarity trade.
Nepal too has undergone a strong process of economic liberalization which has attracted foreign private investments to the detriment of local entrepreneurs; the privatization of the services and the inefficient use of public resources have furthermore favored an unfair development, thanks to which 42% of the population today lives below the poverty line.
In order to get over limits, which are often linked to intermediation activities that the large producers carry out for the smaller ones, and that in Nepal had become commercially predominant, in 2002 ROBA Nepal was founded; an experimental structure made up by an office and a local referent.
Ruby Mukhia, our reference in Nepal, is the representative in dealings with the producers and guarantees constant relations and communications with groups of local artisans, who are situated in those rural areas which, because of linguistic barriers and remoteness, would be hard to reach and therefore could not market their products

One of the oldest Nepalese NGO, which has always been committed to the improvement of the living conditions of the small producers, especially of disadvantaged women. The numerous activities range from technical and financial support to rehabilitation and training. The product lines range from cotton cloths to house furniture, to handmade paper and musical instruments.

Women Skill Development Project Pokhara
No-profit organization founded in 1975 by four women in Pokhara, on the shore of a lake near Kathmandu, to support a campaign for literacy and training for women. WSDP in Pokhara, thanks to the manual technique of the belt loom, produces many-colored cloths used for making garments and accessories.

Kumbeshwar Technical School
A no-profit organization founded in 1983 which offers educational and training opportunities to disadvantaged men and women: 300 children take advantage of free education while there are 350 producers, 99% of which are women. The main products are hand-knitted goods, made of Tibetan pure wool and cotton and wood furniture.

founded in 1991 to answer concretely the need for help by women in some villages, giving their families opportunities for earnings and development. Today there are 300 producers which are somehow linked to the organization, of which 80% are women. Coloring of the knotted cloths is one of the main activities which put together the rescue of ancient traditions with the production of handicrafts.

Sana Hastakala
a non-governmental organization born in 1989 with the support of UNICEF and with the goal to market the products of small producers. The artisans are 800, of which 640 are women, producing hand made paper, pashmina shawls, items in natural fibers, pottery, dolls and jewelry.

Bakthapur Craft Printers
a project which started in 1981 with the cooperation of UNICEF and dedicated to the production of paper made by hand according to very ancient Tibetan traditions. The main product is wish cards, on paper made out of daphne, a Himalayan plant gathered in compliance with the rotation method and processed in the traditional way.




New projects, new horizons
ROBA has furthermore developed new projects in other three countries within the policy of supporting the development of alternative economies precisely in countries which have been hit especially hard by economic crisis or which are threatened in the preservation of their cultural and ethnic identities.

in Cuba we support Cubartesania a project included in the Development Program of the United Nations and through which we import furniture and baskets made of guaniquiqui, bags made of fibers and wooden statues.

in Thailand we work with
Thai Tribal Crafts an organization which protects and promotes the seven northern ethnic groups through the sale of handmade and hand-embroidered cloths, garments, bags, backpacks and baskets.

in Madagascar,
thanks to the cooperation with Ravinala, we work with
which supplies us with scarves and shawls in raw silk



ROBA system: the commercial activity
The force of an organization of Fair Trade rests on its economic independence, in the transparence of its activities and of the supply chain wherein it operates. These characteristics, together with the sale of products which originate from fair trade and which are easily traceable, in practice condition the economic scenario, fueling the growth of ethical demand on the part of consumers and, consequently, contribute to modify the commercial strategies of the for-profit companies.
But in order to be fully efficient, a Fair Trade organization must be able to build a rigorous system of protection of the rights which may address both the needs of the southern communities and the needs of the northern workers; the opening of the market of the producers (necessary as long as it is gradual) must go hand in hand with a work policy based on workers’ rights and on a real opposition to any form of temporary employment. Against this backdrop the choice of one’s own commercial partners becomes a delicate moment; for this reason to favor small retailers over the Large-scale Distributors means to put in contact the world Shops with entities which are often a family enterprise, not to fuel distribution models which do not care enough for the sustainability and the protection of the work.
We believe that the problem is not in the contraposition between the testimonial role of Fair Trade and the opening of the markets to the producers, but in the choice of the distribution channels used to open new markets, the conditions and the graduality in doing so. The question is not whether to do it, but with whom, how and at what pace.



ROBA shop: a liberated space
It is a space where solidarity, return to traditions, radication in the territory and environmental sustainability: this philosophy has convinced us to open, in the historic inner city of Rapallo, the first ROBA Shop. The fact that the goal is clear does not mean that it is simple: to offer the inhabitants a space where they can find items of far-away countries together with eco-sustainable products by cooperatives which operate in our own territory, to present Fair Trade as a real choice of life and not as an occasional purchase (in this sense the choice of furniture is a mainstay), to evidence the link between the protection of far-away cultures and the defense of local traditions.


The transparent price
If we had to explain the price according to the definition of the classical economy, we would define it as the main indicator whereon consumers base their choices. In reality this approach risks to be especially reductive, because through the price it is not possible to appreciate all the processes that lie behind the production and the marketing of a product.
Starting from this observation, Fair Trade has chosen to give the consumer a special price, which is a medium of information and an instrument of communication: transparent prices.
We believe that the first step on the road towards an ethical economy consists in communicating the real composition of the purchase value of a product, introducing transparence as an instrument of control and awareness; thanks to the breakdown of the price of the products you find on the shelves of the Shops, you can immediately be aware of how your money is spent.
To ROBA Fair Trade is also this: to supply clear and correct information for the whole range of its own products aiming to an ever greater transparency, the first basic leg of a gradual journey oriented to guaranteeing the ethicality of the whole production chain.
Let’s take as an example the “Triangular Lahu Purse” produced in Thailand by Thai Tribal Craft whose price for the public is 5.16 euros.

You will find the price broken down in five items with the average share for the producer, the importer and the Shop, varying from 25% to 30% of the total value.
Let’s look at them in detail:

1 The fair price
It is the price agreed upon with the producer, which includes the cost of raw materials, of labor and transportation up to loading point.
For the Purse the share is 1.24 euros

2 The transportation
It includes the international transport costs linked to import and the national ones linked to distribution.
For the Purse the share is 0,15 euros.

3 The share for the importer
It is the margin for ROBA which includes the design, the logistics and marketing costs.
For the Purse the share is 1.19 euros.

4 The share for the shops
It is the margin for the “Botteghe del Mondo” (World Shops), which pays for the structures, the employees and for all the initiatives of sensitization in the territory.
For the Purse the share is 1.72 euros.

5 The taxes
it is the VAT, which for the handicrafts of ROBA
comes to 20%.
For the Purse the share is 0.86 euros




Education and advocacy: our mission
To ROBA Fair Trade means to contribute concretely to social change, creating the conditions whereupon the citizens may be again protagonists of their choices, to begin with the simplest and apparently the most trivial one, such as what they buy and consume.
Fair Trade, ethical finance, critical consumption, all become necessary instruments for a gradual redefinition of life-styles, for the revision of our daily activities in a more sustainable manner. But just to sell and to buy through Fair Trade without changing the general dynamics which are the source of inequalities means to loose sight of the global reach of the problems, to concentrate locally without a global view.
It is therefore necessary to sponsor, next to the diffusion of products, activities of sensitization, of lobbying, when not of downright mobilization: Social change may occur only operating on different levels, where personal lifestyle encounters the common interest through the political activity and the building of networks.

Social activities, in order to be really efficient, must grow out of a relationship among the different actors of civil society: only this way it is possible to try and find realistic solutions in a world that is ever more complex. This is the reason why ROBA tends to link its political activity to the creation of local networks, both national and international. As the foundation manifest of Rete Lilliput reminds us, the minute Lilliputians were able to tie down the giant Gulliver only by means of cooperation and participation: only uniting our forces we can reach the goal to make deep and permanent changes in the global system of inequality.



Our traveling companions

Rete Lilliput
This is the philosophy that has inspired ROBA since its beginnings: convergence, cooperation and coordination; both inside the Fair Trade environment and in the relations with other actors of civil society. This has allowed ROBA to be an integral part of Rete Lilliput, becoming one of its active component both at the local level (in the Genoa area during Mobilitebio and the biotech show or the mobilization for the G8 meeting in Genoa), and at the national level with the participation to the Thematic Workgroup on Commerce and to the Inter-campaign Table. At the same time, some different organized initiatives have allowed specific collaborations with some organizations and have given birth to small coordination groups such as Tradewatch, an observation post on international trade made up by, in addition to ROBA, Campagna per la Riforma della Banca Mondiale (a campaign for the reformation of World Bank), Rete Lilliput and Mani Tese, or have allowed us to be actors in international networks, such as Seattle to Brussels (S2B), which have the specific goal to coordinate mobilizations and initiatives on WTO and commercial negotiations.
Inside the Fair Trade environment, ROBA is a founding partner of AGICES, the Italian General Assembly for Fair and Solidarity Trade (the single Italian organization that gathers together most of the fair and solidarity trade actors) and is a member of Ifat (International Federation of Alternative Trade) which gathers together more than 250 Fair Trade organizations all over the world.


Campaigns and forums
The participation to, and the promotion of networks becomes a necessary condition to launch national and international campaigns about the different themes of development and social justice. Among the most important ones we may remember Mobilitebio 2000, a mobilization about the use of biotechnologies in the agribusiness field, the initiatives organized at the time of the 2001 G8 meeting, the Campaign “This World Is Not For Sale” of 2003 for the WTO ministerial meeting in Cancún, which gave birth to Tradewatch (http://tradewatch.splinder.com) and Localtradewatch (http://localtradewatch.splinder.it), on-line observation points respectively on international trade negotiations and on privatizations in Italy; the Campaign “Less Charity, More Rights” of 2003 about Corporate Social Responsibility and the Campaign “The Cotton Road” about the system of injustices that lies behind the way cotton is produced and marketed.
The participation to the different World and Continental Social Forums, with the presentation of workshops and seminars is the next step for a political confrontation and for the consolidation of the international networks.

On May 25th, 2000 more than 10,000 persons arrived in Genoa to protest against Tebio, a trade fair for biotechnologies. The street demonstration was the point
of arrival of a complex political work, developed by Mobilitebio, a coordinating body of more than 450 national and international organizations, who succeeded to maintain the link between the communication level (in the previous months the Biotech problem was on the front page of the newspapers) the institutional level (the ministers for Agriculture, Industry and Health boycotted the fair, even though it was sponsored by the Presidency of the Council of Ministers and they had been invited) and the mobilization level (there were tens of public meetings and initiatives on the matter all over Italy).
The commitment against the agribusiness biotech has meant to link our fair and solidarity trade philosophy to the struggle of millions of farmers in the South of the world in defense of traditional agriculture and of their right to a living. For this reason we have promoted and supported Mobilitebio and contributed to spread all over the Fair Trade circuit the slogan “We are all bio-diverse”.

Genova G8
ROBA dell’Altro Mondo, as member of Rete Lilliput, has chosen to support the birth of Genoa Social Forum and the mobilizations against the 2001 G8 Meeting with the goal to contribute to the birth of a pluralistic movement, linking together all the differences that Civil Society incorporates in order to transform them into a point of strength.
The Genoa experience has made the participation of Fair Trade to the building of the movement more than a simple testimonial, and this thanks to the presence of many Shops and many operators to the organization of a thematic meeting point during the July 21st demonstrations, to the capability of contributing to the organization of the Public Forum and of the debates.

This world is not for sale
This organization was created with the goal to mobilize people about the topics of International Commerce and to stop the WTO negotiations before the Cancún ministerial meeting. The Campaign, made up by around twenty organizations of Civil Society, has been able to produce and distribute materials of analysis, to organize public initiatives (the Day for Common Goods in the month of May has been organized in synergy with the European Day for the World Shops, while the mobilization of September 15th has seen the participation of local groups in nearly sixty Italian towns) and to participate in talks at the institutional level. In particular, in Cancún the capability to cooperate with the delegations from Southern countries and with the South American movements has been the pivotal point for blocking the negotiations, while the work side by side with the organizations of international Fair Trade, foremost with IFAT, has allowed us to give a voice to, and to share the experiences of Fair Trade as reported directly by the artisans and farmers.

Less charity, more rights
To be a fair and solidarity organization means operating in such a way as to change the rules of the game not only at the level of international commerce, but also at that of the behavior of the for-profit companies.
This is the reason why ROBA dell’Altro Mondo has decided to participate in the promotion of the Campaign for Corporate Social Responsibility together with other twenty organizations, with the goal to answer the need for transparency and ethicality coming from citizens and consumers, to contribute to the drafting of simple but binding rules on transparency, responsibility for the social and environmental impact of the behavior of the economic operators.
These are goals that we too, as actors in Fair Trade, have to keep in mind, that put us in the need to confront the deep soul of Fair Trade, which talks about respect for the labor rights and defense of the experiences and of the local traditions both in the North as well as in the South of the world.

The cotton road
Cotton, in all its shapes, is the symbol of a globalization built on inequalities and on the exploitation of natural resources. The Campaign has the goal to inform about and analyze the themes of international commerce, the fall in the price of raw materials, the displacement of communities as a consequence of Structural Adjustment Plans and of export subsidies, especially the American ones, which are at the base of the price dumping. The answers to this situation cannot but be complex ones, both at the general level (cancellation of the export subsidies, continuing governmental or community support for the defense of traditional and family farming methods, of biological products and of fair trade) as well as at the individual level (buy fair trade and biological, consume less). This is possible only through a real alliance between the small producers of the South of the World, the textile workers, the small farmers of the North and the consumers, to build a globalization of rights in defense of the rights of the individuals and of the planet.




To spread the knowledge of a different world
To spread the knowledge that a different world is possible Each product of fair trade tells us a story: the difficult journey of the persons who choose dignity, who put women and men, the planet and the traditions before any profit consideration. A choice to reveal and to recount, which opens to the news organizations and to politics different perspectives, which gives a voice to the silent actors of the possible change. This a key to interpretation that ROBA proposes to all communication professionals and to all persons that it meets in the spaces that have been opened by the movement, but also in those moments when the news do not stop at the facts. ROBA, for many traveling companions, has become a small source of information, which facilitates data, stories, campaigns and its own alternative and resistance projects, but also those of all those actors with whom it networks on the themes of social justice and international commerce. A notebook with over two thousand contacts, InfoROBA, the periodic newsletter, but also thematic cards and a constant relationship: these are the instruments of the relationship that ROBA has built in order to tell the other face of the unsustainable development.
And to ROBA to communicate means also
to support independent information:
as one of the promoters of Altreconomia (www.altreconomia.it), ROBA participates to the project Carta (www.carta.org), cooperates with International Solidarity and is among the founders of Tradewatch (www.tradewatch.splinder.com), the real-time observatory on WTO.