AGICES (Italian General Assembly of Fair Trade) is the trade association of Italian Fair Trade organisations: non-profit organisations, World Shops and importers that promote a social and fair economy. In Italy, it represents the experience and culture of its members towards society, media, national and local authorities.
AGICES provides to its members a certified guarantee system, a unique experience in the whole world. Different organisations (World Shop and importers) have given themselves a protection system for the values of Fair Trade as they are described within the “Italian Charter of Criteria for Fair Trade” (of which AGICES is the owner): a shared document which defines rules and objectives for the Fair Trade movement in Italy. This system has three levels: self-evaluation (by the Fair Trade organisation itself), internal evaluation (by AGICES) and external evaluation (by a third party – ICEA, the Environmental and Ethical Certification Institute).
AGICES manages the Italian Register of Fair Trade Organisations, where members are registered and monitored if they meet the Fair Trade standards. Currently AGICES has 83 members (importers and World Shops, cooperatives, social cooperatives), running about 300 World Shops around Italy and working with 179 Producer Organisations from Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Eleonora Dal Zotto is currently the AGICES general manager. She has been working in Fair Trade for more than 20 years, starting as a volunteer and then being employed in the local Worldshop Organisation in Vicenza (Cooperativa Unicomondo). She was a member of the first AGICES Board (2003-2005) and was then elected as member of the AGICES Register Committee. Therefore, she has gained substantial experience in monitoring and certification, and has actively contributed to developing the Italian monitoring system for Fair Trade Organisations. As a researcher, she has been involved in several studies assessing the impact of Fair Trade and analysing the state-of-the-art of Fair Trade in Italy.
“In my opinion there’s a lot of experience on training issues within the Fair Trade movement, but there’s a lack of instruments/tools that can enable Fair Trade operators to share and improve their knowledge. I’m sure that Fair Share will be a big opportunity to make a difference in that sense”.
Micol Arena works in Agices on national and international projects aiming to raise awareness of the significance of Fair Trade and to strengthen Fair Trade Industry. She is a member of Ctm Altromercato’s Project Committee, the group in charge of assessing the compliance with Fair Trade standards of Ctm Altromercato’s partners in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. She has been working in Fair Trade since 2009 after her specialist degree in Political Studies (Cooperation, Development, Transnational Markets – University of Torino), coordinating projects, training and implementing cultural activities of a regional network of Fair Trade Organisations in Italy.
“Fair Share’s main goal, the e-learning environment dedicated to Fair Trade and entrepreneurship, can be a real turning point for the training and sustainability issues of Fair Trade organisations. I’m happy to contribute to the project and I have many expectations from this project.”
Stefano Toma works in AGICES and deals with national and international projects that focus on supporting local initiatives related to Fair Trade. He has four years’ experience as a manager of education for schools in a Fair Trade organisation, aiming to educate young people about Fair Trade and responsible consumption. Stefano holds a degree in Philosophy from the University of Perugia, with a specialsation in Ethics and Aesthetic.
“I believe that education is the first and most important step that everyone must take to start a new path. At the same time, education is the only way that permits to keep on walking along this path. I think that Fair Share will be a starting point for challenging new projects all around Europe, and we need to provide social enterprises with the best training tools to support them.”