Reliable partnerships are important

“We won’t solve the crisis in Burundi with coffee, but we will help 700 families earn a living.”

Schorndorf GREEN state parliament member Petra Häffner said this in mid-May at the opening of the SEZ traveling exhibition “Amahoro Burundi” in Schorndorf’s old town hall. In her speech, Häffner pointed out the desolate economic situation and the precarious political situation in the small East African country. She emphasized that reliable partnerships and reliable partners are all the more important. “The SEZ is a reliable partner for the country of Burundi and for the numerous private initiatives in Baden-Württemberg.” Baden-Württemberg and Burundi have had a partnership for more than 30 years.

Christian Bergmann, representing the city of Schorndorf, emphasized the responsibility of each and every individual in their daily consumer behavior. “The triad of prudence, responsibility and knowledge plays a major role in behavior.” Consumers have to take responsibility when shopping and “they need knowledge about the living conditions of people in the producing countries.” This “acting responsibly on site” plays a major role in the local agenda in Daimlerstadt. This is visible from the outside in the title “Fairtrade City”.  

Related Links:   Exhibition “Amahoro Burundi”    


“EZ is dead”

With this statement, Günther Maihold from the Science and Politics Foundation (SWP) in Berlin summed up the current discussion about classic development cooperation.

At the seminar on the future of development cooperation, which took place in Weigarten, Upper Swabia, at the beginning of May, Maihold asked about the legitimacy of development cooperation in general. According to the scientist, she has penetrated almost all political areas and is now suffering from excessive demands on herself. He referred to the international debate about aid and development, triggered by the 2030 Agenda and the associated change of perspective. Maihold called for the dissolution of existing structures and the creation of a global sustainability fund. According to him, the aim of such a fund would be to bring together development and sustainability goals and to overcome rigid departmental boundaries.

In workshops, the participants of the event developed solutions and ideas for a self-image of a new development cooperation.

The seminar series Development Cooperation in the 21st Century is a joint event of the Academy of the Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences and the SEZ.

You can purchase publications from previous years' events here:


“Consumption” in the test

Ina, Nanni and Natascha write for the blog “fairlieben” and tested the consumption of second-hand clothes in Stuttgart for us.

SEZ: Can you briefly introduce yourself and your site?

fairlove: We are four women from Stuttgart and we deal with the topic of fair and slow fashion. On our homepage we provide suggestions and tips on how to live more sustainably.  

SEZ: How long have you been buying second hand?

Ina: I can't even remember the first time I bought second-hand. Even as a child, I loved selling at the flea market, whether at the clothes bazaar at school, on Karlsplatz in Stuttgart or in Esslingen's old town. Thanks to the Kleiderkreisel app, my second-hand buying and selling has increased significantly.  

SEZ: What is your personal favorite piece from the flea market or second-hand store and where did you find it?

Natasha: My personal favorite piece is my denim jacket, which I bought in the second-hand store Obscur in Stuttgart. Even though it has already been worn, it is still in perfect condition.  

Ina: My favorite piece is a small, brown leather backpack that I bought a few years ago at “Das Kaufhaus immer was Gutes” in Stuttgart-Wangen. It is a social department store that sells cheap second-hand clothes. The backpack belonged to someone who has walked with it several times through rain and sun. That's why the top side is completely faded. For me it is an absolute space saver and I have often been asked where I bought it.  

Nanni: My favorite piece is definitely my red vintage coat from Vinokilo. It keeps me cozy and warm in winter and is so fluffy that I fell in love with it from the start. Or my shiny metallic 80s bodysuit that I got at a clothing swap.  

SEZ: Where can you find the best things in Stuttgart? And how do you find them? When are the best flea markets?

Nanni: There are an awful lot of flea markets in the area. For example, you can discover lots of great things at the autumn flea market in the city center. The vintage market, a shop on Tübingerstrasse, is also a real treasure trove. If you are looking for something special, you will definitely find it at Kleiderkreisel. And whatever excites us is public or private clothing swap parties. This Friday we are hosting another one with friends. It's a nice feeling when someone else is blown away by your old sweater that's just gathering dust in your closet.      

SEZ: Why is the topic of fair fashion and second-hand important to you?

Nanni: Anyone who deals with the clothing industry will quickly come across unpleasant facts. That somehow spoils your desire to go shopping. Second-hand and fair labels are a good alternative.

Natasha: It was through the blog that I realized that even with small steps you can do something for yourself and therefore also for the world. But it's also about the fact that I've decided to no longer support conventional brands to the same extent that I did a year ago. I try to implement this decision every day and that makes me happy. 


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Competition: Two monthly subscriptions to the clothing store

Under the motto “You have style, you can borrow clothes,” customers of the clothing store can borrow clothes instead of buying everything new. We are giving away two monthly clothing subscriptions worth 49 euros each.

Under the motto “You have style, you can borrow clothes,” customers of the clothing store can borrow clothes instead of buying everything new. In a questionnaire they state their size, some style questions such as their favorite decade, their favorite city and their favorite pattern. The clothing company then creates a style profile. You can wear the matching items for a month, then send them back using a return slip and receive four new ones.

The Hamburg entrepreneurs Thekla Wilkening and Pola Fendel are successful. They have been running the online clothing rental business since 2012 and show that renting is a good consumer alternative.

We are giving away two monthly clothing subscriptions worth 49 euros each. To take part in the raffle, please write by May 30, 2018 with the subject “SEZletter clothing competition Your name and address to the email

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“Connecting”: SEZ partnership project 

The SEZ promotes long-term partnerships between people in Baden-Württemberg and people in so-called developing and emerging countries. Today we are introducing you to one of these partnerships. The Afrokids International association based in Korb works with an association operating in Burundi. For political reasons we are not allowed to mention the name of the club. Together they want to secure the professional future of unemployed young people in Baden-Württemberg's partner country.

SEZ: What is the goal of the project? 

Afrokids International eV: Young people in Burundi are faced with very difficult living situations due to the ongoing economic crises. If they want to satisfy their basic existential needs, they have to become very creative. They usually need support to realize their projects. We therefore see it as our responsibility to act in solidarity with these people and to seek and find the necessary professional and financial support.  

Association in Burundi: It is important to us that peace and social cohesion are promoted. We also want people here to be able to take on more responsibility, in many areas.  

SEZ: How did you come to the partnership?  

Afrokids International: During a trip to Africa we noticed that the Burundian club and Afrokids share the same goals and values. This is how the idea of ​​a joint project came about.  

SEZ: What three words come to mind when you think of partnership?  

Afrokids International eV: Trust, solidarity, transparency.

Association in Burundi: For us it is love, transparency and selflessness  

SEZ: What has changed locally as a result of the partnership? What else can change as a result?  

Afrokids International eV: Many young people in Burundi have become young leaders. For example, if they have founded their own company.

Association in Burundi: We were able to expand our exchange with other young people in our community. Our young people have succeeded in achieving a change of perspective. They have learned from others and acquired new professional skills that will make it easier for them to integrate into normal life. Your professional independence is now the focus. We hope that our young adults will feel more included in the various areas of public and private institutions in the future. Especially where important decisions are made.  

SEZ: If a fairy godmother came to you, what three wishes would you have for the future of the partnership project?  

Afrokids International: We hope that this partnership will continue to be successful for a long time and be a beacon for South – North partnerships. We would also like to have a sustainable budget for the development of the projects in order to provide many people with social security and prospects. And we would like to have a long-term, trusting cooperation with our partner association in Burundi. With future ideas for the next generations.  

Association in Burundi: It is important for us to deepen the activities we have started and to reach and train more young people. In this way you can contribute to the well-being and peace of the entire community and society.  

You can read more about the SEZ’s understanding of partnership here: Understanding of partnership

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“Here on site”: The fair trade fair

The Fair Trading trade fair took place at the beginning of April. Their success story began 13 years ago in the center of Stuttgart. Time to take a look at its beginnings.

The House of Economy with its impressive staircases, rooms and towers was built at the end of the 19th century as the royal central office for trade and commerce. An ideal place to launch the first nationwide “Fair Trade Fair”, as it was called at the time, on June 24th and 25th, 2005 together with 22 exhibitors. Klaus Weingärtner, consultant for fair trade at the SEZ, had the idea: “More and more active people from the world shop movement approached the foundation and wanted further networking and exchange, for example about products and offers in the area of ​​fair trade. “Since the SEZ was established in 1991, the topic of fair trade has been an important part of the foundation’s work. The world stores should come out of the back alleys and move into the main shopping streets. For example, to professionalize Weltladen employees, the SEZ offered a specially designed series of seminars.

“With the fair trade fair we wanted to show how broad the spectrum of fair trade actually is, because often the store employees only knew the big players in the industry, smaller labels had a hard time. “We also wanted to make the people of Baden-Württemberg interested in fairly traded products,” explains Weingärtner. In addition to the exhibition area, there was a four-day supporting program with lectures, discussions, film screenings and music performances. 

In 2006 another “Fair Trade Fair” took place in the Haus der Wirtschaft. The SEZ then took another big step forward and expanded its trade fair concept. It was clear to the foundation that we should not only act fairly in trade, but also in tourism, finance and corporate management. In addition, development policy institutions should also present their offerings to a larger public. For this purpose, the SEZ was looking for a “conventional” location, a real exhibition center, in order to bring these topics further into the center of society. In addition, the response to the trade fair was so great that Klaus Weingärtner and the SEZ team had to look for additional exhibition space anyway. Negotiations with the Stuttgart State Fair began. Since 2009, the trade fair has been taking place under the name “Fair Trade International Fair for Fair Trade and Globally Responsible Action” as part of the spring trade fairs.

“The majority of the products on display were presented on simple tables in banana crates 13 years ago. The stands were divided by partition walls that were provided to us by the Haus der Wirtschaft,” remembers Klaus Weingärtner. “Today, Fair Trade is as professional as any other trade fair.” And what else has changed since the first Fair Trade trade fair in 2005? Fair trade has arrived in Baden-Württemberg, especially in the food and craft sectors. The number of exhibitors has increased from 22 to 180, some of whom have been there every year since 2005. The events in the supporting program have also increased in quantity and diversity. Then as now, every day is dedicated to a different target group: Thursdays are primarily aimed at employees from world shops, Fridays are aimed at pupils and teachers as well as employees from local authorities, and the weekend attracts families in particular with a wide range of activities.

Fair Handel is the oldest and most important trade and consumer trade fair in Germany for fair trade, development cooperation, sustainable tourism, sustainable finance, responsible corporate management (CSR) and, since 2018, also for future fashion.

The next trade fair will take place from April 25th to 28th, 2019. Come by and continue to write the success story of Fair Trading! 

Related Links:…



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Film for the Fair Trade Fair 2018

SEZ consultation with: Jakob Mast

Jakob Mast is 18 years old, a student at the Freudenstadt Waldorf School and has only worn sustainable fashion since he was 14 years old. His favorite outfit: Veja sneakers, Nudie jeans and a shirt with graphic flowers and owls from KnowledgeCotton Apparel. During the SEZ consultation hour, we ask an expert about the topic of the SEZletter. Today Jakob reports on how he became a convinced fan of sustainable fashion and how he orientates himself in the ever-growing slow fashion market.

SEZ: When did you start working on sustainable textiles and conscious consumer behavior? Was there a pivotal moment in your life for this?  

Jacob: It was more of a process. After I bought my first clothes myself at the age of 14, the question arose in my mind as to what the clothing value chain actually looks like. My parents have always valued a sustainable lifestyle. I grew up knowing that our soil is the most valuable thing and that it needs to be protected. I have also known for a long time that we are currently using more resources than is acceptable for the ecosystems. In our everyday family life, this only applied to our food consumption. When I was 14 years old, I sat on the train and read Götz Werner's autobiography. So I started talking to a trainee teacher who was sitting across from me. We talked about economic issues and post-growth ideas. This is how we came to the conclusion that we bear a great deal of responsibility with our daily purchasing decisions. For the retailer, paying for something means: well done, keep it up! It is an expression of appreciation. Demand and supply shape our world. Therefore, where there is demand, sooner or later there will also be supply. It was clear to me at that moment that my sustainable purchases in the future could not only refer to fairly traded organic food, but that this would actually have to apply to all of my consumer goods, especially textiles. The person I spoke to on the train came from Freiburg and told me that there is a store in Freiburg called Zündstoff for sustainable textiles that also look good.  

SEZ: How satisfied were you with your first sustainable clothing items?  

Jacob: I was very pleased. The quality was very good and I have only had favorite clothes since then. After my first purchases at Zündstoff, Avocadostore, Greenality and Glore, I asked myself more and more questions about sustainable textiles. I asked myself more and more what the point of doing this was. It became increasingly clear to me that our consumer behavior bears a responsibility for many other people, such as the seamstresses in Bangladesh. We determine their lives with our purchases. We also influence which pesticides are used to poison cotton fields and soil by people in Africa, for example. Somehow we are also guilty. I simply didn't want and don't want a lot of the way things are going anymore.  

SEZ: How many clothes do you own and how do you finance this sustainable consumption?

Jacob: I probably own a lot less clothing than many people. That's why I really enjoy wearing them all. I have a sweater, 3 pairs of nude jeans and a few shirts from KnowledgeCotton Apparel. I made an agreement with my parents that I would have a certain amount available each year for my clothing. How and what I spend it on is up to me. So I decided less is more. When I was younger, I got all my clothes from my older cousins ​​when they were too small for them. For me, this is also sustainable textile consumption.

SEZ: How do you orient yourself in the ever-growing market?

Jacob: I primarily pay attention to whether the garment is GOTS certified. GOTS stands for Global Organic Textile Standard. Here, the raw material production, i.e. the cultivation or production of the fibers, the production and further processing of yarns and fabrics into a finished garment and the transport route from one production step to the next to the end consumer are checked. I also find the seal of the Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) very helpful. For me, these two seals cover important aspects of the value chain. I still like to look online at Zündstoff, Avocadostore or directly at my favorite brands. But I prefer going to the shops. You can easily do this on the internet platform Find and get seal clarity there.

SEZ: What do sustainable textiles mean to you?

Jacob: For me, sustainable textiles mean producing and consuming beautiful things with respect and respect for those who grew and made them. In short: responsible business.

SEZ: How do those around you, such as classmates and friends, react to your consumer behavior?  

Jacob: Appreciative and I have often received compliments on my KnowledgeCottonApparell shirts. Sometimes friends also tell me that they find the topic important. A few also buy sustainable clothes. We can inspire each other. 

SEZ: Why is it that relatively few people are still willing to consume more sustainably, especially in the area of ​​fashion?

Jacob: When I go shopping with friends, the price is often an obstacle. However, if you buy a little less and only buy your favorite clothes, then it's not as expensive as it seems. In my opinion, a second inhibition is that people think that their own consumer behavior won't change anything. Buying is not just about paying, but also about commissioning. My responsibility when buying is just not as obvious as when I make a contract face to face with someone who is in precarious circumstances, but actually it's the same thing. Another inhibition is habit. Change is always stressful if you are not simply swept along by the mainstream. The slow fashion movement mainly consists of many young labels, all of which are still growing. I think it takes time for them to become established, like organic food or fair trade coffee. 

SEZ: Many people know that someone pays the price for a $5 t-shirt. Nevertheless, they do not change their consumption behavior. What do you think is the reason for this?

Jacob: I also think that many people at least know that things cannot continue as they are now. I also assume that almost everyone knows that he or she can make a difference by purchasing a product. I call this passive responsibility, which we all bear through this knowledge. Responsibility for the working conditions of the people employed and responsibility for the ecological compatibility of the production of my consumer goods. The active responsibility lies in actually doing something. I think many people are paralyzed by the thought that one person alone cannot save the entire world. Because it seems like there are just too many problems in the world right now.

SEZ: And how do you deal with this responsibility?

Jacob: My aunt, who is always on her toes, always says “just do it!” And experience proves her right. Once you get started, it's actually quite easy to change something. My guitar teacher says the same thing: “If you're wondering whether you should practice or not, don't think about it for too long, just sit down and do it.” The problem is usually that there are just too many things to say "Just do it". In nature you can observe many things that are symbolic of human phenomena. The polyp is a very simple creature. He stands with his foot on the sea floor and waits for food to swim by. As soon as food is nearby, it stretches out its arms to enclose the food and then digest it. However, if two pieces of food are at the same distance from the polyp in opposite directions, it stretches one arm in one direction and the other in that direction. In theory, he can starve like that. Fortunately, there are currents in the sea, so this will never happen. We can't just make decisions from our heads. We have far too many options for that. If you have moved it in your heart, you can decide it from your gut. You can plunge into the unknown and leave your comfort zone; you shouldn't stop at yourself. The opportunities that lie within each individual are so incredible.

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