On 12 March 2018, the Thon Hotel in Brussels played host to the third amfori Trade Forum, where discussions quickly turned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
An audience of over 120 people from the public and private sector watched as amfori Director General Christian Ewert presented our vision of open and sustainable trade. He touched on the fundamental role that businesses have in contributing to the SDGs and turning that vision into a reality.
Keynote speaker on the day was the European Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström, who echoed Mr Ewert’s sentiments: “Open trade is a formidable tool for growth. If used correctly it can develop the world sustainably.”
She went on to urge businesses to continue contributing to the SDGs, and outlined how the EU is also supporting the push for trade and sustainable development through its Free Trade Agreements (FTAs).
The Commissioner also praised amfori and its members for their contribution to trade and sustainability: “Creating a strong business and building a better world should go hand-in-hand. amfori and your members are a great example of this. As advocates for sustainable and open trade you are setting standards for industry-driven change. Through knowledge-sharing, education and advocacy, amfori creates a real impact.”
Other speakers included Debasish Kumar Saha, Executive Director of Fakir Apparels, a Bangladeshi supplier to a number of amfori members, Ignacio Sierra, the Corporate General Manager of Spanish retailer Cortefiel, and Peter Waldorff, Trade Advisor to the Danish Confederation of Trade Unions.
Speakers stressed that a future of trade and sustainable development lies in closer cooperation between all stakeholders, bringing together international institutions, governments, business and civil society.
We came away from the event feeling inspired to continue pursuing our vision, and continue bringing the issues important to our members to the fore of the political discussions in Brussels.
When asked for her main takeaway from the day, the Trade Commissioner’s response was simple: “Partnerships!”