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Topic of the week

German company GEPA: “spearheading fair trade”

The biggest fair trade firm in Europe, domiciled in Wuppertal in Germany, is delighted with another good business year: in 2016 the Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Partnerschaft mit der Dritten Welt mbH (GEPA) – The Fair Trade Company - recorded growth of around 7 percent and achieved turnover of 74 million euros. With the appointment of Peter Schaumberger the company is headed by two managing directors, with Schaumberger becoming the brand and distribution manager. He intends to increase the proportion of organics in the product range and concentrate his attention on sustainability and climate change. The company also involves itself in world economic and development policy issues.

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Topical Reports / Most recent reports

Pural: “active for 20 years in the wholefood industry“

In the 20 years since   it was founded, Pural Vertriebs GmbH is one of the few wholesalers that has developed into a powerful sales partner for the wholefood trade nationwide. The ongoing extension of the product range with exclusive brands and innovative labels, the takeover of regional distribution companies and the resulting expansion and, not least, the arm of the business dealing with the health food and orgnic trade, including abroad, contributed to the dynamic development of the Pural group of companies. Another contributing factor is that second-generation family members with great commitment have entered the business. Ulrike and Heinz Claus explain the development of their company and  their view of  loyalty to the specialist trade. (Video interview with Ulrike Claus)

by Karin Heinze (comments: 0)

Tribunal gathers evidence of Monsanto´s ecocide

The Monsanto Tribunal was held in the middle of October in The Hague. A panel of five prestigious judges listened to witnesses from all over the world. Lawyers, farmers, mothers, health experts and scientists made serious accusations against the American chemicals and seed corporation Monsanto. The aim is to incorporate ecocide into international law. The People´s Assembly, that was held in parallel to the Tribunal, has already  “condemned“ Monsanto (watch the videos). More reports from The Hague.

by Karin Heinze (comments: 0)

Showcase projects: organic tea in China

In China quite a lot of entrepreneurs see the future of tea growing in general and the future of their own companies in the organic sector. Trading organic teas is still mostly dominated by exporting but they are working on innovative concepts in order to open up the domestic market in China. Three examples from classic tea cultivation regions in the south of China illustrate this development. The report and the video take us to the Hangzhou region and the mountainous Yunnan province, the cradle of the tea culture. The video shows various organic tea gardens, harvesting, processing and also an interview with the founder of the firm Dongzhai.

by Karin Heinze (comments: 0)

Topical Reports / exclusive for subscribers

Share price falls: KTG Agrar facing insolvency

The listed agro-company KTG Agrar SE, one of the biggest growers of organic products, finds itself in a dramatic financial crisis. It was not able to pay the interest on a loan on time and many investors are already afraid the company is going bankrupt. As a consequemce, the share and bond prices of KTG Agrar have plunged. However, CEO Siegfried Hofreiter  assumes that they can get the situation under control.

by Leo Frühschütz (comments: 0)

Bitter aftertaste: Oxfam study of pineapple and banana cropping

Conventional tropical fruit for German supermarkets is being produced under horrifying ecological and social conditions.This is the picture presented by the development organisation Oxfam in a report dealing with pineapple production in Costa Rica and banana production in Ecuador. Criticism is also directed at the Rainforest Alliance that certified several of the plantations under investigation.

by Leo Frühschütz (comments: 0)

"Alnatura is a social experiment"

Bees are buzzing and frogs are croaking in the grounds of the nature-based headquarters of Alnatura in Bickenbach (Hesse). And in the building belonging to one of the biggest organic companies in Germany there is much activity too. This where the  “working partnership“ develops ideas for new brand products, a 3D online shop and concepts for the store of the future. Founder Götz Rehn sees this collective activity as an “experiment on the way to a  social-organic model company“. 

by Karin Heinze (comments: 0)

US organic market achieves new record high

In 2015, the market for organic products in the United States reached a new peak of  US$43.3bn (€39.6bn). This figure was revealed in an investigation by the Organic Trade Association (OTA), the US American manufacturers' association that carried out the study in collaboration with the Nutrition Business Journal in the first quarter of 2016.

by Kai Kreuzer (comments: 0)

10th IFOAM EU Organic Congress - all links

Find the links to all articles from the 10th IFOAM EU Organic Congress at one place. Click here and you as a IFOAM EU member will get free access to all articles for 3 months.

by Editor (comments: 0)

Interview: "Only genuine progress justifies new organic legislation"

The trilogue between the European negotiating partners, Commission, Agriculture Committee and Parliament engaged in the revision of the EU organic regulation is entering the decisive round. It does not appear possible to adhere to the target of getting the organic legislation off the ground by the end of June. Although the trilogue is taking place behind closed doors, Bund Ökologische Lebensmittelwirtschaft (BÖLW), representing the interests of the organic industry in Germany, is being kept informed about the stage reached in the negotiations in Brussels.

by Karin Heinze (comments: 0)

Conventional food is considerably more expensive than organic food

For a long time the organic industry has been having a discussion about so-called externalized costs. But far from all consumers are aware of the fact that the low price of food is achieved at a cost because of the chemicals used in agriculture, factory farming and the severe consequences for the environment. Or they put it to the back of their minds. It’s high time to tell people the truth. This is the reason why Volkert Engelsman, head of the Dutch organic company Eosta, has launched the information campaign “The True Cost of Food”. Organic supermarkets have started to promote the campaign. The background and a video interview with Volkert Engelsman.

by Karin Heinze (comments: 0)

What happens when EU states approve glyphosate again

The European parliament submitted a compromise proposal for extending the authorisation of the controversial herbicide glyphosate and voted with a big majority for certain conditions and an extension of only seven instead of fifteen years. This proposal is, however, not legally binding.The fact that the decision was postponed was a morale-booster for many people who oppose pesticides. Our author Leo Frühschütz spoke with Heike Moldenhauer, the expert in genetic engineering at the German Organisation for Environment and Nature Protection (BUND), about the chances of still being able to prevent a renewal of the authorisation of glyphosate.

by Leo Frühschütz (comments: 0)

EU vote: German minister can ban glyphosate

It is likely that on 18 or 19 May the EU member states will vote on whether and under what conditions to approve the renewal of authorisation of glyphosate. An open letter calls on the German Minister of Agriculture, Christian Schmidt, to vote against approval and thus to prevent further authorisation of glyphosate. The European Commission now wants to restrict the renewal of authorisation to 10 years. In its proposal at the beginning of March renewal was for 15 years. The Dutch Council Presidency had called for a reduction of five years, the Greens asked for a complete ban.

by Karin Heinze (comments: 0)

Challenges and opportunities to developing organic farming under a new organic regulation

Is the new EU Organic Regulation negotiated until June? Where are still sticking points? That was the topic on the second day of the IFOAM EU congress in the Netherlands. The 200 participants from 27 EU countries listened intently what the negotiators from Brussels brought up in the discussion. There are still some open issues, but the Dutch have indicated their objective of concluding the trialogue between the Commission, Council and Parliament, and to bring the new regulation by the end of its EU presidency on the way. With video documentation on BioMarktInfo Youtube.

by Karin Heinze (comments: 0)

IFOAM EU Congress: how to transform the agri-food system

In his welcome note for the 10th IFOAM EU European Organic Congress in Driebergen, Netherlands, re-elected IFOAM EU President Christopher Stopes emphasized that this event would contain a high level of interaction with more than 200 participants. The goal was to look at different models to reach the vision and make Organic 3.0 concrete. Watch the video with statements of several stakeholders.

by Karin Heinze (comments: 0)

EU organic controls: quite good on paper, but...

In principle and on paper organic controls in the EU work quite well. However, in practice there is still a lot that could be improved in many countries. This is the conclusion we can draw from three reports presented by the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) of the EU that have summarised the results of a large number of audits carried out by the staff of the FVO from 2012 to 2014.

by Leo Frühschütz (comments: 0)

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