Amid protectionist threats, amfori sees more European retailers supporting open and sustainable trade

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The planet is changing at an ever-increasing pace. Some of the world’s largest actors in international trade continue to open up their markets, while others are protecting their economies to the detriment of others, and even themselves, writes Christan Ewert.

Christian Ewert is the president of amfori, a global business association for open and sustainable trade.

Many headlines have been shadowed by the growing instability of global trade this past year. Nevertheless, this period has also been one of unprecedented cooperation and progress for EU multilateralism, with a range of new trading allies rallying in support of open and sustainable trade.

The enshrining of a sustainability clause in the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EUVFTA) and the EU’s Free Trade Agreement with Japan on Sustainable Development show the increasing need to move towards better protecting people and our planet’s wellbeing in business activities.

amfori, the leading global business association for open and sustainable trade, has seen this support reflected in rapid growth across its membership in the 2018-2019 period, with 205 new businesses joining the association worldwide. The association celebrates this with the publication of its latest annual report, its first in a digital format.

The association now welcomes a membership consisting of more than 2,400 retailers, importers, brands and associations across 44 countries on four continents, representing a combined turnover of €1.5 trillion.

amfori trade with purpose

amfori’s top growth countries were Australia, the USA, UK and Poland. This shows that companies are taking significant initiative to trading sustainably, regardless of protectionist rhetoric.

The organisation has also solidified its position in Europe and further afield, opening representations in Argentina, Australia, Austria as well as building a regional hub in Latin America and Asia-Pacific. Some of amfori’s key achievements over the past year are detailed below through the report’s themes:

Supporting People: amfori has committed to the UN Declaration on Gender Responsive Standards and is fully rolling out its Women Empowerment Programme in India, Bangladesh and China.

Supporting Planet: amfori has strengthened its Collaboration with ZDHC (Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals), as well as advocated for Sustainable Chemical, Product and Waste Legislation.

Supporting Prosperity: amfori is committed to ensuring that trade delivers benefits for all. This includes our advocacy for a sustainable lens on Free Trade Agreements, such as the Vietnam – EU Trade Agreement. The organisation has also taken a determined position against a hard Brexit, which would significantly damage its members’ business.

To access the full amfori annual report, click here.

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