The Fairtrade Foundation is aware of the link between trade justice and climate change. This awareness is clearly reflected in their Charter – “The protection of the environment and the long term viability of natural resources and biodiversity are fundamental pillars of Fair Trade.”
So how does climate change affect Fairtrade producers?
Fairtrade producers are smallscale farmers and artisans and as such do not have the financial resilience of industrial conglomerates and the like. Abrupt changes in weather and increases in temperature can result in unpredictable yields, price increases and lack of competitiveness. Coffee production is particularly sensitive to changes in weather, but bananas, sugar, cocoa are also affected. Notable examples of destructive weather in 2020 were the raging fires in Australia and the severe drought in India.
How do Fairtrade producers help tackle climate change?
The need to look after (and work with) the immediate environment during food production has always been ingrained in the Fairtrade ethos. Furthermore, recent global awareness of climate change has accelerated action in Fairtrade communities to protect the soil, use energy and water more efficiently, invest in renewables, reduce carbon emissions and waste, as well as reforestation projects and protection of wildlife. With a large percentage of global food grown by smallscale producers, the potential for climate change mitigation in this sector is considerable.