2030 Agenda - AlterNativa3


Author: Eugenia González.

What are the Millennium Development Goals? Are they the same as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? And the 2030 Agenda? And what about you, do you contribute to development?
I am about to tell you what those goals are, what their connection is with Fair Trade and I will suggest 3 actions that you can do today to contribute.


4 Cuál es relación entre el Comercio Justo y la Agenda 2030 (1)


What are the Millennium Development Goals?


Surely you remember: in 2000 the United Nations agreed on the eight “Millennium Development Goals” (MDGs).

The agreement was a global call to governments and citizens to change course and focus on:

  • Eradicating poverty and hunger
  • Extending education and health to all inhabitants of the planet


What is the connection between the MDGs and Fair Trade?


Goal number 8 (“Promote the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development”), a call to “continue to develop an open trading and financial system, based on established rules, predictable and non-discriminatory.”

And what has Fair Trade promoted since its birth in the 1950s? Well, just that, a fairer and more equitable trading system. An alternative system to conventional international trade (which perpetuates poverty and increases inequalities).


As you may know, fair trade is a movement that offers fair payment to producers in Southern countries, so that they can participate in World Trade and have access to the markets of Northern countries on equal terms.


We are talking about products grown and made by farmers who work their own small pieces of land in Africa, Latin America and Asia. If these people could not group together in cooperatives and certify their products as Fairtrade items, they would have no other alternative than to sell their products to conventional trade companies, which perpetuate their situation of poverty and exploitation.


But, then… What are the Sustainable Development Goals?


They are the Goals within the 2030 Agenda. The Agenda is a different document: it was signed by representatives of 193 governments in 2015, at the Sustainable Development Summit at the United Nations.

The idea that motivates this document from 2015 is the same as the document from 2000, but with a much more urgent and dangerous element: climate change.

These are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Sustainable Development Goals and Fair Trade

The Goals are a call to collective action, a great challenge at a global level and must be fulfilled before 2030


The Agenda is a very detailed document: 17 objectives, which are broken down into 169 goals and 231 indicators to monitor, measure evolution and verify the achievements obtained.

I won’t lie to you, when I read all this I feel overwhelmed. Sometimes it seems to me that it is just another document, more paper full of good intentions. It is clear that the most important role in achieving the goals lies with governments. How are we citizens going to change the course of the world? In other words, how am I going to change the direction the world has taken on my own?

But this is where Fair Trade comes in and what you and I can do.


What is the connection between the MDGs and Fair Trade?


The Agenda proposes moving towards prosperity by eradicating poverty. What is the strategy? Prioritize people and the planet. 

And what does Fair Trade promote? Exactly the same: move towards prosperity by eradicating poverty. And its strategy is to promote the development of people and their communities and to protect the planet by betting on sustainability.

It makes sense, don’t you think? Development, if it is not sustainable, is doomed to failure. An entrepreneur friend told me the other day that, if the planet is not doing well, his business cannot do well either. He’s absolutely right, don’t you agree?


Fair Trade places respect for people and the planet at the center and promotes a fair and equitable relationship between producers and consumers. It is a powerful tool, capable of generating the change we need.


Isn’t it a fascinating topic?


As you may know, Fair Trade is based on 10 criteria. That is, for a product to obtain the seal that certifies that it is Fair Trade, it must meet 10 requirements. 

Well, if you take the 10 principles of Fair Trade and compare them with the 17 Goals, you will see that Fair Trade matches and promotes 8 of the Goals.

If you are interested in delving deeper into this topic, the “Coordinadora Estatal de Comercio Justo” (State Fair Trade Coordinator) has a document that analyzes in detail the relationship between Fair Trade and the SDGs. Here you can download it:




Shall we take action?

  • Would you like to contribute to “Goal 1: Eradicate poverty”? By purchasing Fairtrade products you ensure that producers receive fair payment for their work.
  • Are you more interested in supporting “Goal 5: Gender Equality”? By purchasing Fairtrade coffee, sugar, teas, cocoa… you ensure that the cooperatives work to promote gender equality.
  • “Goal 4: Quality Education” affects the lives of many people, especially boys and girls. If a product has the Fairtrade seal, it means that the cooperative that wants its products to be certified has adhered to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. If you buy Fairtrade cocoa, you ensure that there will be no minors in forced labor and you contribute to the protection of minors in Africa.


Yes, I want to buy Fair Trade products



But can Fair Trade really be the solution?


Fair Trade is not aid, it is Trade.
And, therefore, it is governed by the law of supply and demand.
That is, if demand increases, the market produces more. As simple as that.
In practice, what does it mean? That if you and I and more consumers increase the demand for Fair Trade products, the market will adapt to the demand and produce more. I’m not saying it’s easy, or fast… but it is possible. Consumers have great power. The key is to use it.

The United Nations Declaration is an OPPORTUNITY.

And responsible consumption is a POWERFUL FORM OF POLITICAL ACTIVISM.

And you, what do you choose?


I choose Fair Trade

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