On 20 October, FTA participated in a session at the SwitchMed Connect 2016 conference organised by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on ‘’Building Partnerships within Olive Oil Value Chains’’ in Barcelona, Spain. This conference is an annual gathering of entrepreneurs, UN agencies, government representatives, leading start-ups and financial institutions working to promote sustainable consumption and production in the Mediterranean.
Veronica Rubio, FTA Senior Manager Strategic Programmes, spoke on panel along with representatives from other business associations and the Spanish Inter-professional Olive Oil Association. Rural cooperatives and small producers exporting premium olive oil to Europe and North America from Morocco, France and Tunisia were also represented. The speakers stressed how olive oil production can contribute to sustainable livelihoods, women's empowerment and biodiversity conservation. They also raised the importance of consumer awareness and marketing efforts. The session included Mediterranean stakeholders from the olive oil value chain. They shared best experiences and identified actions and partnership opportunities to advance sustainable consumption and production of olive oil in the Mediterranean region.
Ms. Rubio commented, “More and more hard and soft regulations are demanding businesses to become social and environmentally responsible and be able to report on their work towards sustainability. Sustainable olive oil value chains will benefit from an early positioning in this context”.
To conclude, the participants discussed how trade can support the development of sustainable olive oil production in the Mediterranean and the role of sustainable sourcing practices.