Rattan Association of Cambodia becomes member of World Fair Trade Organization
As a provisional member at this stage, the Rattan Association of Cambodia joins about other 400 worldwide members from 71 countries who are dedicated to the fair trade movement. They are producer co-operatives, associations, export marketing companies, importers, fair trade shops, local, national and regional fair trade networks and financial institutions.
Mr Lip Cheang, Chief of the Rattan Association and Owner of the biggest rattan enterprise in Cambodia, says that establishing network and working relations in the global market through such a large international network as the WFTO is very important since it will help improve knowledge and perspective of Cambodian producers about fair trade market, lets them have access to information about market development, supply and demand.
“Cambodian rattan producers of the Rattan Association are happy with this news because they will be able to benefit from this growing network in promoting their products and establishing contacts with buyers in the global market, for instance they can link up with other WFTO members and trade partners through WFTO network website, events and meetings,” he added.
In collaboration with WWF and other government and NGO partners, the Rattan Association is implementing Sustainable Rattan Project (co-financed by EU and IKEA), which aims at managing the tropical forests containing rattan and promoting environmentally-friendly processing practices: cleaner production. These include the optimisation of material and energy flows, minimising waste and water contamination, and reducing emissions to the greatest extent possible. Linking Cambodian rattan companies to the global market is one of rattan project’s main objectives.
Mr Ou Ratanak, WWF’s Rattan Project Manager, says Cambodian rattan producers are now able to inform international buyers about their commitment to sustainable production system and that they have the capacity to produce clean goods with diversified product designs.
“This is a great opportunity for the Rattan Association to set-up long-term relationships with responsible buyers and traders since it will add value to the whole rattan production chain encouraging community-based forest and biodiversity protection, and contributing to enhancing the development of Rattan industry of Cambodia.”
Mr Men Sinoeun, Executive Director of Artisans Association of Cambodia, who helped the Rattan Association with its membership procedural registration, says that it’s not easy to be registered as a member of WFTO and that the applying organization needs to meet membership criteria. For example the organization must comply with WFTO’s membership requirements of clean, green and safe working environment.
Following the completion of its two-year provisional membership, the Rattan Association will have to conduct a self-assessment against the standards for Fair Trade Organizations in order to become a full registered member of this international organization.
* With support from WWF, the Rattan Association of Cambodia was formed in September 2009 with 11 small and medium enterprises as members. The Rattan Association has the vision to foster the development of Cambodia’s rattan entrepreneurs, create job opportunities in the rattan sector, promote sustainable use of natural resource and support Cambodian rattan trading.
* Fair Trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers – especially in the South.
* For details about the WFTO, please visit www.wfto.com
* WWF Sustainable Rattan Programme receives 80 percent of the programme’s total budget of € 2.4 million from the EU SWITCH-Asia Programme of the Europe Aid Development and Cooperation. SWITCH-Asia aims at scaling-up environmentally friendly production and consumption practices. The Sustainable Rattan Programme is successfully serving this purpose by reaching-out to all actors along the rattan value chain and encouraging certification. IKEA and DEG co-finance the programme.