World Franchise Council
The World Franchise Council (WFC) is the global organisation of franchise associations from all continents (except Antarctica!). There are currently 45 members supporting the development and protection of franchising and promoting a collective understanding of best practices in fair and ethical franchising worldwide.
The WFC’s vision is to be the leading source of credible information for and about the global franchise community, as well as the preeminent forum for promoting collaboration and cooperation between national franchise associations.
WFC members meet twice a year with a national association volunteering act as host. It is at these meetings where much of the work and the invaluable exchange of information between associations take place. Associations find that hosting up to 70 of the leading figures in franchising from around the world has a positive enhancement for franchising in their country, at both governmental and business levels.
All associations provide up-to-date information on the state of franchising in their country, with special regard to economic and legislative developments. This provides invaluable information to assist franchise systems that are members of WFC national associations and are seeking to export. The fraternal relationships between member associations can also play a role in providing personal introductions to the key people in those countries.
Background of the constitution
- The World Franchise Council is an amicable and non political association of national franchise associations. The Council was established following a meeting of executives of the national franchise associations held on Monday, February 14th, 1994 under the auspices of the International Franchise Association (IFA) and supported by the European Franchise Federation during IFA 1994 Convention in Las Vegas. That meeting considered a draft constitution produced following the first International franchise summit held on December 1st, 1993 with the assistance of the Mexican Franchise Association.
- A more detailed draft constitution for the World Franchise Council was produced by a working party established at the February meeting under the chairmanship of the British Franchise Association with representatives of the Canadian, Brazilian, Polish and Mexican Associations. The draft constitution was subsequently debated by the European Franchise Federation and a consolidated draft was considered by a meeting of National Associations held in Lisbon on June 15th,1994. The bulk of the proposed constitution was agreed at that meeting.
- This current constitution of the WFC incorporates changes of emphasis agreed at meetings held in Frankfurt in April 1999 and in San Diego in February 2000.
- All those concerned with these proposals recognised that the World Franchise Council’s most significant contribution would be the opportunity it would present for the informal development of international understanding and cooperation. A formal constitution is, nonetheless, essential to guarantee international bodies that a World Council opinion represents a genuine consensus amongst its members, and to secure for all the world’s properly constituted franchise associations confidence that the World Council offers an equitable forum within which to represent their views.
Purpose and objectives of the WFC
The encouragement of international understanding and co-operation in the protection and promotion of franchising worldwide.
- To provide a forum within which each properly constituted national franchise association in the world can take an equal seat with confidence that its views and its sovereignty will be respected and in the expectation that their common interests and needs will be supported internationally.
- To determine those aspects of knowledge and experience of franchising which can be usefully shared internationally and to provide mechanisms for the efficient communication of that 'know-how'.
- To represent international information on franchising and the common views of national franchise associations to international bodies.
- To encourage the development of properly constituted national franchise associations in all countries of the world, as recognised by the United Nations.
Membership of the WFC
- Full Membership of the WFC will be open to all national franchise associations which are constituted as not for profit organisations and whose constitution requires, and which in practice have:
- A subscribing membership which is, on the whole, composed of franchising companies or their representatives
- A governing body which is largely composed of franchising companies or their representatives
- A means of encouraging the adoption of good franchising practise which is consistent with the principles of ethics promulgated by the WFC
- No member can object to or block the application of another member on political or government grounds.
- The first Full Members of the World Franchise Council were those national franchise associations set out in the schedule to this constitution, and which form a part of it.
- The WFC will also accept as Associate Members, national franchise associations which give a written commitment to work towards the WFC's Full Membership requirements and which, in practise, are seen to be so doing. Such associations may not meet those requirements at the time of application, or up until 28 days after the publication of the minutes of the meeting, but can be accepted into the Association as an Associate member. Associate membership may be retained for up to 2 years.
- Only one national franchise association per country will be recognised by the WFC together with one single properly constituted franchise association for the territory of Hong Kong and other such exceptions, as may be decided by the WFC on a case-by-case basis. The WFC will not accept any subscription from any organisation which is not considered by the WFC to be the prime industry body for the country or territory of origin concerned. The WFC will not accept any other association of the country as Associate member if a Full member already exist.
- In addition, the WFC will accept as subscribing members with speaking rights, supra-national federations of national franchise associations representing continental or other geographic country groupings in the world, provided their membership requirements are equivalent to the WFC's membership requirements as determined by the WFC and provided the national franchise associations within the territory (which are already recognised by the WFC) give their consent.
- Where a supra-national federation of associations is recognised by the WFC, national associations within the territory of the supra-national federation will only be recognised if their membership criteria are consistent with those of the supra-national federation – whether or not they are members of that federation.
- National associations whose countries have chosen to submit themselves to the common parliamentary and legislative framework of the European Union shall be members of the European Franchise Federation in order to be recognised by the WFC.
- In determining any application for membership of the WFC, only the criteria of this constitution shall be taken into account.
- Each recognised national association and supra-national federation member of the WFC will be entitled, but not obliged, to nominate two representatives to attend and speak at meetings of the WFC. One of those representatives must be (in order of preference)
a. The elected chairman of the association
b. The appointed chief executive officer of the association
c. A representative appointed at least two weeks in advance and in writing by the elected chairman of the association. The second, if any, representative will be (in order of preference either (b) above, (c) above, or a representative duly appointed at least two weeks in advance and in writing by the elected chairman of the association.
- Each Associate Member of the WFC will be entitled, but not obliged, to send up to two observers (without speaking rights) to meetings of the WFC. Nominations made at least two weeks in advance and in writing by the chairman of the association will have priority over observers nominated under paragraph 13.
- Each Full Member of the WFC, in addition to their speaking representatives, will be entitled, but not obliged, to send up to two observers (without speaking rights) to meetings of the WFC subject to the maximum number of observers as determined by the persons appointed to run the meeting. All nominations must be made at least two weeks in advance in writing by the chairman of the association .All such nominations will be circulated by the secretariat to all members of the WFC in advance of the meeting.
Quorum at the WFC meetings
The WFC may hold and conduct meetings whatever number of its Full Members or other subscribers are present provided it is a meeting held under the terms determined by a preceding and properly constituted meeting, except that the date and venue may be varied on 28 days notice by the persons appointed to run the meeting.
Chairpersons of the WFC meetings
The WFC will not have a chairperson as a permanent body for its existence. Each meeting of the WFC will have two co-chairpersons, each of whom must be a franchisor. One of the co-chairpersons will ordinarily be from a continent other than the host country continent. Only those Full Members who confirm their willingness to act as a co-chairman will be considered.
Secretariat for the WFC meetings
- The WFC will not have a permanent secretariat. The first meeting of the WFC will appoint a Full Member national franchise association to provide secretariat services for an initial period of one year. In making the initial and any subsequent appointments the WFC will have due regard to the need to appoint a Full Member organisation which has, or has access to, the resources and linguistic capacity to fulfil the function. The same Full Member may be appointed to provide the secretariat on succeeding occasions. However, the meeting will have due regard to balance the benefits of continuity with the benefits of rotation. Only those Full Members who confirm their willingness to provide the secretariat will be considered.
- The business of the WFC will be conducted in English and its subscription will be in US dollars.
The voice of the WFC
- Except as provided for in paragraph 19, the WFC will only have a voice on those matters where there is unanimity amongst its Full Members. Full Members may authorise any other Full Member or the supra-national federation to which they belong, to confirm their agreement to a proposition by proxy to that organisation given at least two weeks in advance in writing by the chairman of the association and copied in the Secretariat. For the purpose of unanimity at a meeting of the WFC at which all Full Members are not present or represented by proxy, the views of Full Members not represented will be confirmed or rejected subsequently in writing by response within 28 days of the secretariat's request to do so. Full Members failing to respond will be taken to endorse the proposal. Notwithstanding any WFC agreement on representations to an international or other body, WFC members will remain entirely free to make whatever representations they may determine to any person or body of their choice but not under the name, logo or other endorsement of the WFC.
- The appointment at one meeting of the co-chairs, or secretariat for the following meeting, may be determined by a simple majority of those Full Members represented either in person or by proxy.
- The signatories to the WFC's letterhead and other documents will be the co-chairs and secretariat for the next meeting.
- The co-chairs and the secretariat will be authorised to speak in the WFC's name only on those matters which fall clearly and unambiguously within the policies previously and properly agreed for external communication by the WFC. The WFC may also agree at a properly constituted meeting to appoint any Full Member to represent its views on a specific subject to a specific organisation.
Funding the WFC
- The direct costs of administering the meetings of the WFC (stationery, facsimile charges, etc) will be met from the subscriptions of Full, Associate and other members at the rate of $ 1500 annually, to be reviewed at the first meeting of each year. The staff costs of administration are expected to be met by the national association volunteering and appointed to provide or arrange the secretariat.
- Annual subscription rates will be determined annually by a properly constituted meeting of the WFC. Subscriptions will be paid into an account maintained and separately audited by the International Franchise Association or other such organisation as may be elected for the purpose of a properly constituted meeting of the WFC.
- Subscriptions will become due and payable 30 days after invoicing by the secretariat for the calendar year concerned.
- Any projects outside the administration of WFC meetings will be subject to separate funding proposals for each project (including the specification of the respective currency). No such project will be considered and agreed except in conjunction with proposals warranting the availability of the funds required in the specified country.
- The WFC may only commit its funds on the signature of both cocChairs and the Full Member association holding the WFC's account and only on the basis of funds already held in the WFC's name. Commitments outside these limits, which are not subsequently approved by a meeting of the WFC, will become the liability of the associations whose representatives entered into those commitments.
- The organisation responsible for holding and accounting for the WFC funds shall provide annual accounts for the preceding calendar year and a budget for the next calendar year.
- All members and observers will be responsible for meeting their own travel, accommodation and subsistence costs for attending meetings of the WFC. The WFC may agree to meet all or part of the costs of its representation to an international body by one or more of its Full Members. In case that a national association is invited to a meeting of the WFC to represent the WFC's view towards an organisation in the representative's own country, the Full Member concerned will be expected to meet any costs involved.
Records of the WFC
- The proceedings of the WFC will be recorded in minutes produced by the secretariat. The Minutes will be signed off by the co-chairs of the succeeding meeting on the agreement of those present that they are accurate as a record of the meeting.
- Copies of the WFC records, letters and other documents will be maintained by the secretariat in office at the time of issue, and passed on in their entirety to any succeeding members appointed to provide secretariat services.
- Records of any separate agreed and funded WFC project will be kept by the organisation appointed to undertake it, and will be freely open to any WFC Full or Associate member requesting access. The benefit of any database using WFC funds will reside in the WFC and will be held in trust for the WFC's benefit by the secretariat or by the organisation appointed to undertake the project concerned.
Use of the WFC name
- Any Full or Associate member may request that the WFC at a meeting to agree to provides its endorsement to an event, function, publication or other service intended to offer a benefit to the franchising community in their country. Any commercial gains must be beneficial to the majority of the companies in the respective country and can only be permitted if the event, function, publication or other service has some international dimension which cannot be adequately or appropriately covered by endorsement from the member concerned or by a supra-national federation of which they are a member.
- The WFC may, but is not obliged, to seek a fee or fee share in respect of the use of its name; such fees are to be used in meeting WFC secretariat costs or project costs as determined by the WFC.
Confirmed under the signature of the co-chairs for the March 29th 2001 meeting of the WFC held in Paris, France.
Contacting the World Franchise Council
For further information on the World Franchise Council and its Member Associations, please contact WFC via their website: www.worldfranchisecouncil.net