Key outcomes of the RVC Conference 2020 at La Bergerie
Thursday, June 25th, 2020 in: News
This past February, the Rethinking Value Chains collective (RVC) organised a conference at La Bergerie de Villarceaux in France, hosted by the FPH. It was an excellent opportunity to meet with our members and advance on our core areas of work – the regulation of value chains and the redistribution of value – whilst also sharing updates and strategy on other key issues of relevance to the value chains in which we all work and take action.
Much has happened since the conference, not least the devastating local and global impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic to which we have all had to adapt on both a personal and organisational level, with many RVC members engaged actively in solidarity to support the most vulnerable value chain actors during this period. With these impacts still evolving, the RVC has been working to ensure that our activities address the changing needs and emerging challenges in value chains.
With this in mind, we would like to share with you some updates on core RVC activities since our last conference. For those wishing to get an insight into – or a reminder of – the discussions and exchanges that took place at La Bergerie, and the specific action points that emerged from the conference, we encourage you to read the RVC Conference 2020 Summary Report (currently available in French and English, soon available in Spanish).
The RVC, thanks to recent funding support from GIZ, have organised regular webinars on topics relevant to the work of the Collective and our members. One of the key outcomes of the latest RVC Conference was a collectively drafted list of priority issues to explore through these webinars (see Conference report).
In light of the situation, our first series of webinars was then adapted to address the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. Throughout April and May, the RVC – with specific coordination support from the Fair Trade Advocacy Office – hosted three webinars on the ‘Impact of the COVID-19 crisis on small farmers and workers in global value chains (textiles, food and electronics supply chains)’ in French, English and Spanish. This provided an opportunity to invite a selection of speakers from across the globe and engage over 250 international participants from diverse stakeholder groups.
Following this first series of webinars on the impacts of COVID-19, the RVC revisited our original proposal for webinar themes and organised one on ‘Advances towards observatories on sustainable costs and value distribution in the banana, coffee and cocoa sectors’, which took place in English on the last week of May.
The reports and recordings of each webinar have been shared via the RVC framalist and are available on request via firstname.lastname@example.org
The details of the next webinar will be shared soon, and will be on the topic of ‘Gender and due diligence – value chain strategy related to COVID-19 impacts’
New RVC Website
We are working on the development of a brand-new website for the collective, in collaboration with the FTAO and a professional website designer, to share information on our news, events, activities, resources and members with existing and new contacts. We aim to launch the site in July 2020, in both English and French (with automatic translation option for other languages).
The draft website was presented to members at the February conference and their feedback has since been integrated into the new design, structure and content. We invite all RVC members to get in touch to provide information for the ‘Our Members’ page of the website to ensure this is included in time for the launch.
RVC Manifesto & RVC Strategy Paper
Another main outcome of our February conference was the input of participants into the development of a ‘manifesto’ or ‘common statement’ to represent the shared vision, values and strategy of the Collective. The draft manifesto, developed by RVC coordinating organisations Banana Link, ReAct and FTAO in collaboration with Julie Porter, has been shared with RVC members for feedback and comments. The final version will be ready for the website launch in July and available in English, French and Spanish.
To accompany the RVC manifesto, a five-year strategy paper will be developed to provide greater detail on the methods used by the Collective and its members to achieve our vision. This document will be presented and discussed at the next physical meeting of the collective in September / October 2020 (date to be confirmed soon).
RVC Collaborative Research
In collaboration with the CORE Coalition, the International Transport Federation (ITF) and Labour Behind the Label, the RVC has been working with students from the Sciences Po Law School on the practical implementation of the draft UK civil society proposal on national due diligence legislation, with a focus on the garments value chain.
You can find further information on this collaborative research project, entitled ‘Transport in value chains – the missing link in our understanding of human rights, regulation and corporate impunity in global and local trade’, in the RVC Conference 2020 report.
Since our conference at La Bergerie, the students have shared the final report with Banana Link and ReAct which, once reviewed, will be shared with RVC members. We will then organise a webinar in coming months, with participation from the students and the research partner organisations, to share the main results of the project and discuss next steps and potential advocacy and actions related to the garments chain and other due diligence initiatives.
Moreover, the RVC, in collaboration with Commerce Equitable France, have submitted a proposal to the Sciences Po Law School for a new student collaboration in 2020/2021. The title of the proposal is ‘Opportunities, legal obstacles and drivers to implementing an environmental and social tax system’. The purpose of this research is to establish an analytical mapping system of existing knowledge on an ethical and social tax systems. We will provide updates on this proposal during our next RVC meeting.
We would like to once again thank all the participants of the RVC Conference 2020, as well as our funders FPH and GiZ and our growing list of members and partners; your expertise, support and collaborative spirit continues to drive our Collective in its efforts to transform value chains.