QUARTERLY RETURN 83 Spring 2012
Biggest Ever AGM
How we took a step for Fairtrade
Reinvesting in SHAPiI
Full Membersâ€™ Day and AGM Report
Update on all of our Fairtrade Fortnight activity
News from one of our longstanding customers in the Philippines
Council Members By stephen sanders, moderator of the council
I write this upon my return from our 22nd Members’ Day and AGM; it was a delight to have so many of our Members join us in Oxford and it was a real pleasure to see their dedication and passion. This year’s AGM was actually our highest attended annual event in our 22 year history with over 180 Members in attendance. For those of you that couldn’t make it, a full report is available on pages 4 to 6. The day was opened with an inspirational speech from Ian Barney, Managing Director of Twin (and Twin Trading), one of the most influential fair trade businesses in the UK. It was great to hear of the positive impact working with Shared Interest has had on Twin. Ian was accompanied by coffee producer Willington Wamayeye from Gumutindo in Uganda.
We are delighted to announce that following the Society’s first ever contested elections at last month’s AGM, Mark Hayes and Sue James have joined the Shared Interest Council and Margaret Newens has been re-elected. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Chris Bird who narrowly missed out on election. We would also like to say a big thank you to Ann Hillier, Jo Bird and Trevor Jones, who retired from Council, for their commitment and expertise over the years. The Council is made up of nine Shared Interest Members whose role is to help make sure the Board sets a strategy that adheres to the mission of the organisation and then delivers this strategy to meet the expectations of Members. Mark, Sue and Margaret bring a wealth of knowledge and experience and we look forward to the enthusiasm and ideas that they will bring. If there is anything that you would like the Council to discuss please email: email@example.com
As always the AGM is the climax to a busy month for the Shared Interest team, Fairtrade Fortnight (27 February – 11 March) saw a big push from our Supporter Relations Team to raise awareness of the work that we do. A full update on our activities can be found on page 7. We were also joined in March by Regional Development Executives Rachel Ngondo and John Dossou. John will be managing our new Ghana office and we hope to bring you many updates from John and his work in West Africa.
Patricia Alexander, Managing Director
Front cover photo: Making greetings cards for Salay Handmade Paper Industries Incorporated in the Philippines (see page 8)
02 QR83 QR83.indd 2
scotland Soon to become
Fair Trade Nation
This year the Supporter Relations Team has identified eight focus areas around the country where we hope to raise awareness of Shared Interest as well as recruit new Members and Ambassadors. Thanks to everyone who got in touch about being an Ambassador in Oxford following the focus on this part of the UK in the last issue of QR. There are still opportunities to get involved and if you would like more information on becoming an Ambassador, please get in touch. This quarter we would like to tell you a bit more about another of our focus areas, the central belt area of Scotland.
Upcoming Events Co-operatives North East networking events To celebrate the International Year of Co-operatives, Co-operatives North East is hosting a series of special networking events. These events will give co-operatives in the region the opportunity to meet and talk to other co-operatives as well as find out more about the co-operative movement and the support that is available to them. These events are targeted at co-operatives but anyone interested in the sector is welcome to attend. Supporter Relations Officer, Ruth Taylor will be in attendance so if you do go along please introduce yourself. 21 April 2012, 10am-1pm (including lunch) Stannington Village Hall, Stannington, Northumberland NE61 6EL 28 April 2012, 10am-1pm (including lunch) Chester-le-Street Cricket Club, Ropery Lane, Chester-le-Street, County Durham DH3 3PF
Members’ and Guests Day 11 May 2012, 9.45am-1pm Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, 9 Queen Street, Edinburgh EH2 1JQ BOOKING ESSENTIAL
Volunteers Week 4 - 10 June 2012
Festival of Nature 16 - 17 June 2012, Bristol Please see http://www.bnhc.org.uk/home/festival.html for more details For more information on any of these events please contact 0191 233 9134.
Volunteer Manager, Rachel Norman (centre) with Ambassadors Rod, Mary, Ben, Rachel, Mike, Susan and Margaret.
As a nation, Scotland is firmly committed to the fair trade movement and this year hopes to be named a Fair Trade Nation. Director of the Scottish Fair Trade Forum, Martin Rhodes, commented: “We are getting close to reaching the criteria agreed for Scotland to be declared a Fair Trade Nation. This will be an important milestone on our fair trade journey but the work must continue to embed fair trade values in Scottish society. Fair trade is a truly global movement to which we can make a significant contribution.” We currently have over 700 Members in Scotland however we only have two registered Ambassadors. Tracy Mitchell, who has been an Ambassador for 12 years, said: “I believe Shared Interest is an amazing organisation doing really inspiring work and yet very few people seem to know about it. I wanted to do my little bit to help make it better known. Being an Ambassador fits in well with a host of fair trade activities I am involved in and gives me openings to talk to different groups about something that I feel passionate about.” Ambassadors play an important role in raising awareness of Shared Interest. If you are interested in joining Tracy and becoming an Ambassador, why not come along to our upcoming open event to find out more about the scheme? As part of our World Fair Trade Day celebrations in May we are hosting an event in Edinburgh to update Members on what we’ve been working on. Places are free and guests are welcome but booking is essential for this event. If you would like to attend any of our advertised events or would like more information on becoming an Ambassador please call 0191 233 9134 or email firstname.lastname@example.org QR83 03
AGM Biggest ever By Marketing and Relationships Manager, Kerrey Baker The 22nd Annual General Meeting and Members’ Day was held at Oxford Town Hall on 16 March and proved to be the Society’s largest with attendance of over 180 Members. Feedback was extremely positive with many stating that the highlights of the day were: meeting likeminded Members, talking to the overseas team and hearing first-hand the significant impact their investment has made.
Innovation and willingness to take risks is crucial Keynote speakers Ian Barney, Managing Director of Twin and Willington Wamayeye, MD of Gumutindo Coffee Co-operative gave the introductory address. Ian explained how Twin works exclusively with smallholders recognising their importance to rural economies and in the protection of rich and diverse ecosystems. Ian concluded by saying: “Empowering and transformative trading relationships are vital and innovation and willingness to take risks is crucial.”
Introduction of a new vision statement “A WORLD WHERE JUSTICE IS AT THE HEART OF TRADE FINANCE”
Introduction of new marketing materials to attract new Members
Successful audit tender
Successful bank tender
Continued commitment from Ambassadors and volunteers
Overall, payments of over £39m were made to 63 countries around the globe and 2010-11 saw the introduction of lending to a wider product range including marula nuts, vanilla and quinoa.
Willington then followed with a very moving account of the difficulties created by climate change and the devastating impact of landslides in the small organic coffee farming community of Mount Elgon in Uganda.
Encouraging year despite the economic climate, our Membership remains loyal and committed and investment continued to rise Managing Director, Patricia Alexander gave a brief summary of the Society’s accomplishments over the year. These included: ◊
Approval of the new office in Ghana
Comic Relief Social Investment Fund Pilot
04 QR83 QR83.indd 4
News from the Overseas Team Regional Development Executives Rachel Ngondo and John Dossou travelled from Kenya and Ghana respectively to give Members a first-hand account of their experience on the ground. Two new films were showcased which detailed the impact of lending to banana co–operatives in Peru and handicraft producers in Kenya. Due to the level of Member interest in the banana film a special article will feature in the next issue of QR.
Members give their views During the afternoon Members were given the option to debate three questions: Group 1: Lending to fair trade What are Members’ views about lending to organisations who are not FLO certified or Members of WFTO?
Report from finance director and Secretary
Over 60 Members participated in this debate and the views were very varied, ranging from Members who felt strongly that Shared Interest should remain strongly connected to fair trade and others who were happy for their investments to support non fair trade registered businesses.
Rates charged to customers and average lending (66%) across the year similar to previous year
Interest earned on deposits has increased by £120k to £635k
Cost of money borrowed very similar to last year (£119k)
Bad debt cost substantial and again includes a mixture of write-offs and specific provisions. Total £670k.
Operating costs down almost 4% (again) – mostly personnel and marketing investment
Result is a small surplus which takes us to reserves of £1.5m (about 5.4% of share capital balance)
Group 2: View of Risk What do Members consider is a reasonable level of risk and/or bad debt? By what amount or percentage would the level of investment need to reduce for Members to consider withdrawing their investment? Had the Society had a history of reducing Members’ investment would you still have been prepared to invest? Over 50 Members participated in this discussion which, like Group 1, generated a diverse range of views. The majority of Members said they were happy with the risk but some wanted to see a reduction in bad debts. Group 3: Shared Interest Foundation What do Members understand about the relationship between the Society and Foundation? What do Members feel about linking the work of the two organisations? About 30 Members chose to discuss the Society’s relationship with the Foundation. There was general consensus that people did not feel they sufficiently understood the link between the two organisations or the objectives of the Foundation.
“Thank you for a very inspiring day and for the wonderful work you do”
All resolutions were carried with significant majority. ◊
Pay arrangements Executive Directors
Re-appoint Auditor PwC
Election of Pauline Cameron and Peter Freeman onto Board of Directors
Election for non-contested Members Sue Cotterell and Claire Wigg to Council
Election of Mark Hayes, Sue James and Margaret Newens during contested election
A full note of the AGM is available on the website or alternatively by request from Membership on 0191 2339101
Photos: (top left) voting at the AGM, (bottom left) discussion groups and (above) Regional Development Executives Rachel Ngondo and John Dossou
QR83 05 QR83.indd 5
Twin is a pioneer of the fair trade movement. It works on the ground with over 50 democratic farmer organisations in 18 countries, representing around 400,000 smallholder farmers. Twin was, amongst other things, pivotal in the development of Fair Trade companies such as Divine Chocolate, Cafedirect and Liberation Foods. Ian Barney, Managing Director, Twin and Twin Trading, spoke at our recent AGM and in an interview following, he shared a little more about his role in fair trade. How did you get involved in fair trade? I spent 10 years at the Centre for Development Studies, Swansea University where I managed a portfolio of international development projects. During this time I was also Chair of the Swansea Fairtrade City Initiative. I joined Twin in 2004 where an opportunity to join the senior management team seemed a great opportunity to bring together my varied experience and interest in ethical trade. How did you hear about Shared Interest? I have been aware of Shared Interest’s reputation for many years. It was when I moved into my position with Twin, that I became aware of Shared Interest’s work in more detail. We were delighted in 2010 when we were offered a loan facility to support our trading business. During your time with Twin, what has been your and the organisation’s biggest achievement to date? I am proud of the fact that we have managed to grow the trading and charitable sides of the organisation for each of the last five years - particularly in such difficult economic times. I am also proud of the level of impact we have had on the ground; for example the establishment of Afri-Nut, a $1m peanut processing facility in Malawi which is 26% owned by farmers. Can you tell us more about your work with smallholders? We work only with smallholders to try and create and capture value for them in their value chains. We have a programme that seeks to build capacity of producer organisations in, for example, good governance, business basics, to manage growth and increasingly to become more resilient (to climate change, market volatility) entities.
Also, please explain the importance of lending to buyers in particular, and the social impact this has. Twin’s model is to pass as much value down the chain to producers as possible. Shared Interest’s support is crucial in helping us to facilitate market access for smallholder organisations. In the Democratic Republic of Congo our support has resulted in the profitable development of the farmer organisation Sopacdi where membership and coffee volumes have increased ten-fold in three years. This success has meant that we been asked to expand our work to two other groups in the region and we are optimistic of working with over 8,000 households in the next three years. In essence, Shared Interest’s support allows Twin to be innovative and take risks where we wouldn’t otherwise be able to. How do you see the fair trade movement, and Twin’s place within it, developing? I think that in every one of my seven years at Twin I have described fair trade as “being at a crossroads”. It is at another one now! I think that the fair trade movement needs to recognise that certification is only one part of the solution; there is a great opportunity now to seek to rebalance the power in value chains and seek long lasting and transformative change in the lives of smallholder farmers.
06 QR83 QR83.indd 6
How we took a step
for Fairtrade Fairtrade Fortnight 2012
Fairtrade Fortnight has always been important to Shared Interest; it is a great opportunity for us to promote the work that we do as well as the Fairtrade story as a whole. This year we were as busy as ever taking part in the Fairtrade Foundation’s ‘Take a Step’ campaign which encouraged us all to take the next step in our commitment to fair trade. This could be anything from using Fairtrade tea and coffee at work as well as at home to encouraging your friends to open a Share Account. The Shared Interest staff team held an event to showcase our own individual steps, we each drew around our feet and used this as a template to write our steps on. The steps were then put up in the office to encourage everyone to keep taking steps for Fairtrade. We have also been working hard to promote Shared Interest and fair trade outside of the office. We engaged with Smooth Radio in the North East and ran a six week radio campaign that we hope members in the North East heard and enjoyed. We also ran advertising campaigns with The Big Issue, The Week and Green Living Magazines as well as securing a number of articles within the local press. Our Supporter Relations Officers have been travelling the country to raise awareness at a variety of events. Sally Reith has been very active in the South East; her highlights include the Comic Relief Fairtrade Market which she attended in London and the Fair Enough? Conference where she presented alongside producers including Rosemary, a nut producer that supplies Shared Interest customer Liberation.
Sally also attended an event in her home town of Leighton Buzzard where she heard from another producer, Tookie, about his life as a Fairtrade banana farmer and the need for access to finance through loans. In the north, Ruth Taylor’s highlight from the Fortnight was meeting Jennifer Wettaka, a Fairtrade coffee producer from Gumutindo Co-operative in Uganda, who was the guest speaker at the Scottish Fair Trade Forum. Ruth also attended an International Women’s Event along with Managing Director, Patricia Alexander, Regional Development Executive, East Africa, Rachel Ngondo and Volunteer Manager, Rachel Norman at the Sunderland Glass Centre. Patricia presented at the event highlighting the importance of fair trade to women across the globe. As always, our dedicated Ambassadors have been flying the Shared Interest flag. We have been represented in Leeds at the Swap ‘til you Drop ethical market, in Cardiff at a Fairtrade Fair, at Brighton Fairtrade Festival and in London at a Co–operative women’s day event. Hopefully this provides a snapshot of what our Ambassadors and volunteers have been up to. Overall they attended over 30 events throughout the country profile raising, networking and hopefully increasing our investor base. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer please don’t hesitate to get in touch on 0191 233 9134 or email email@example.com. Photo: Sally Reith at the Comic Relief Fairtrade Market.
QR83 07 QR83.indd 7
Salay Handmade Paper Industries Incorporated (SHAPII) is one of Shared Interest’s most long-standing customers. The group started nearly 25 years ago in the town of Salay in the Philippines with the aim of helping to provide a livelihood for local people. Today it works with almost 250 artisans and reinvests in the local community. SHAPII produces handmade paper from indigenous raw materials, not from trees. The materials are cut, washed, cooked and blended. Each piece of paper is created in a mould, couched in cloth, pressed by hand and left to dry for days by air, sunlight or steam. The finished sheets are used to make greetings cards, boxes, calendars, photo albums, notebooks, picture frames, writing pads, lamps and other items. Decorative items such as pressed flowers and leaves are used in many products and all artisans are trained so that they recognise the characteristics of each flower that is used within their designs. In 2000, SHAPII formed the SHAPII Foundation, which acts as the social arm of the organisation and provides scholarships. To date, it has helped 18 people to graduate from college and 28 from high school. It has also provided funding for more than 200 students to complete basic computer courses.
The Foundation has a small reading centre and runs a computer literacy programme. It also runs the only internet cafe in town and provides digital services to the rural area. SHAPII hasn’t had the easiest time recently as exchange rates and the cost of raw materials have risen. Their international buyers have also faced problems, which have resulted in a drop in orders. Despite this, the internet cafe is thriving and SHAPII has a strong business plan which should see them through a difficult year along with help from Shared Interest. CEO Loreta Rafisura said: “For many years Shared Interest has helped our enterprise to grow by providing loans with reasonable interest rates to enable us to purchase equipment and improve production. “We usually are very conservative and do not borrow money unless urgently needed. But when we do need a loan, we think of going to Shared Interest only because it is fair and its terms are soft. Shared Interest guides us in responsible spending of the hard earned money which thankfully we always had been able to repay almost painlessly through gradual deductions from our export sales. “We just trust Shared Interest as part of our fair trade family. We are glad that we have them to depend on when finances are tight.”
One of our latest customers, grape and raisin producers, Mi Fruta bring another new product to the Shared Interest portfolio.
Mi Fruta is a small fruit organisation located in the central region of Chile. The group was established in 2007 when Traidcraft, which was looking for an alternative supplier of raisins, visited the area to meet small producer groups that might be interested in working together. A small group of farmers was found in the San Esteban district. Traidcraft and government organisation CORFO helped the group to establish themselves as a co-operative. The pruning season starts in July, the ripe grapes are left to dry in the sun and later kept in wooden containers by the farmers. The raisins are then sent to the processing plant where they go through a number of processing stages before they are ready for shipping.
Mi Fruta is only small yet it has managed to secure contracts to supply Morrisons and Asda in the UK. As the business grows the group is planning to build a new warehouse, packing plant and an office. Regional Development Executive, Paul Sablich said: “Mi Fruta is a small and disadvantaged producer group that has realised major efforts to maintain their functionality during their initial years of existence. I look forward to working with them as they develop and expand their business.” Mi Fruta’s Managing Director, Eugenio Navarro said: “We chose Shared Interest primarily for the trust and reliability but especially for the social significance that inspires the organisation as it is in contrast with the capitalist spirit observed in traditional banking.” QR83 09
Women in Progress
Global Mamas Renae Adam and Kristin Johnson met in 1992 in Ghana during their tenure in the US Peace Corps Stationed in nearby communities, they collaborated on many projects working to empower women.
Both Renae and Kristin fell in love with Ghana, its people and the drive of many business women to grow their enterprises in order to provide better lives for their children. Over the next eight years as the co-founders obtained MBAs and gained valuable experience in the corporate and non-profit worlds, they continued to volunteer their time in finding markets abroad for several women batikers in Ghana. Seeing noticeable improvements in the quality of life of the women as a result of their limited volunteer time, they decided to form a non-profit organisation dedicated to the economic empowerment of women in Africa. Women in Progress was established as a US non-profit corporation in May 2002. The US operation (WIP), led by Kristin, focuses on finding markets for handicraft products made by women in Ghana. Relocating to Ghana, Renae established Global Mamas as a local NGO in September 2002. Since that time, WIP and Global Mamas have been able to extend exporting services to many women-led businesses in Ghana. WIP helps women in Africa to access global markets and manage their growing businesses. WIP enables the financial independence of these women by promoting their traditional skills in producing handmade products under the brand name Global Mamas. WIP works extensively with each woman on new product development and quality control. Through an extensive volunteer network, WIP also provides many hours of hands-on business assistance and computer training to strengthen the capacity of women entrepreneurs to manage better their growing enterprises. Training also extends to health and wellbeing topics. The women in the Global Mamas network are improving the standard of living for themselves and their families. Utilising the additional income, the women are paying school fees for their children, adopting orphans, providing financial support for extended family members, paying medical bills, renting larger living quarters and purchasing land. In 2010, some of the women had the financial ability to send older children to college – a first for these families. One ‘Global Mama’ actually sent herself back to school in order to earn her high school degree. Many producers in the Global Mamas network also take on apprentices and often provide them future employment opportunities. Some apprentices have gone on to become independent producers and members of the Global Mamas network themselves.
Photo: (left) Agnes Kwao by the oven in which she bakes her beads.
You can teach us marketing or book keeping, but if you don’t help us to find new markets for our products, we won’t be here tomorrow WIP said: “When we launched our programs the women of Cape Coast said: ‘You can teach us marketing or bookkeeping, but if you don’t help us to find new markets for our products, we won’t be here tomorrow.’ WIP is proud to say that over 90% of our revenue is contributed by the producers of Global Mamas through a profit-sharing model and our amazing volunteers.” Shared Interest’s Business Development Manager, Elisabeth Wilson said: “The provision of a Buyer Credit facility will assist with the sustainability of Women In Progress and promote its independence away from the financial support of friends and family. This in turn will further help their direct impact on the women producers they work with, the facilities they have access to and their market reach, all leading to a sustainable wage for them and their families.”
QR83 11 QR83.indd 11
New bOARD MEMBERS
As you know it is the responsibility of the Shared Interest Board to determine the Society’s strategy and to ensure this is delivered within an appropriate risk framework. We have appointed two new Board Members, Pauline Cameron and Keith Sadler. Business Development Consultant and owner of ethical styling business ‘tonic’, Pauline Cameron brings nearly 20 years’ experience of strategy development, public relations and governance to the Shared Interest Board. Previously head of the New Opportunities Fund (now Big Lottery Fund) Scotland office, Pauline reported to the Scottish Government and Westminster on a variety of programmes and established governance arrangements for the Standards Commission for Scotland. She commented: “Shared Interest is unique in the way it provides support to disadvantaged communities in the developing world, helping them to trade their way out of poverty. “As I started to delve more into its approach, vision and values, I knew I wanted to get involved. “Having Chaired the social enterprise One World Shop Ltd for four years and as current chair of my local Fairtrade Steering Group, the fair trade agenda is of huge interest to me. “I am looking forward to using the expertise and knowledge I have gained to help take the Society forward.”
As a former corporate director for Barclays Bank plc, Keith Sadler worked at a listed property investment company as Treasury Director prior to joining Shared Interest. Having always been involved with a number of voluntary organisations both as a member of the management committee and a fundraiser, the role immediately caught his eye. Keith said: “Having had a long career in private sector financial services I had been looking for a social enterprise where my background, skills and experience could be put to good use. “When I was first introduced to Shared Interest, I was fascinated to discover the extent and scale of its activities, impressed with its values and ambitions and felt that it was an excellent match.” We hope that you will join us in welcoming our latest Board Members and thank those they replaced - Gill Dandy and Ruth McIntosh - for their time and commitment to Shared Interest over the years. Photos: pictured at the AGM (from left) new Board Members Keith Sadler and Pauline Cameron, and retiring Council Member, Ann Hillier with Kate Priestley (Chair) and retiring Board Members Gill Dandy and Ruth McIntosh
Contact us Shared Interest 2 Cathedral Square, Groat Market, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1EH 0191 233 9102 Membership@shared-interest.com
Quarterly Return is the newsletter of Shared Interest. Shared Interest Society Ltd is a fair trade lending organisation which is a Member of Co-operatives UK. It uses the pooled investments of its Members in the UK to effect real and lasting improvements to people’s lives in the developing world.
QR is printed on paper from sustainable, well managed sources certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
Shared Interest Society Ltd is registered with the Registrar of Friendly Societies, number 27093R. The Directors decide on what the interest amount will be, if any, after the end of the financial year when financial results for the past year are known. Since 1 December 2008 the interest rate has been 0%.