What has Fairtrade got to do with Climate Justice?
2nd March 2022
The facts are straightforward. Worldwide, millions of farmers and workers, who have done the least to contribute to climate change, find themselves on the front line of the climate crisis and without the means to protect themselves from it. And that’s why this year, the theme of Fairtrade Fortnight is Climate Justice.
What’s the problem?
The climate crisis disproportionately affects the Southern Hemisphere where it is projected that countries will experience:
- rising temperatures and reduced rainfall
- unpredictable weather patterns
- increasing droughts and wildfires
- increasingly degraded land for farming
Already, farmers are reporting that climate change is the biggest challenge they are facing right now. Add to this the existing challenges putting livelihoods at risk:
- unfair trade prices
- squeezed profit margins
- lack of support
- limited spare income to invest in resources for climate change adaptation or to improve farming practices that would make them more sustainable
This is where Fairtrade comes in, to confront and tackle all of these issues.
By 2050, as much as 50% of the global surface area currently used for coffee farming may no longer be suitable and many cocoa growing areas will become too hot to grow the crop – Fairtrade.org
How does Fairtrade help?
Fairtrade is about social justice. It is a system of certification that works to ensure workers’ and farmers’ rights, safe working conditions, and fairer pay, as well as high quality and ethically-sourced products for consumers. In addition to the work they do with farmers, companies and governments to deliver this, Fairtrade also brought about the Fairtrade Premium, which is an additional payment to farmers to be used to improve their quality of life and those of their community. The premium can be spent on initiatives such as community projects, education, resources such as clean water or electricity, or environmental sustainability.
In reality, the less farmers earn, the harder it is for them to secure good harvests. This leaves them financially incapable of adapting to the challenges of climate change. With farmers already struggling to cover basic human rights such as health and education, there is little money left to put towards climate adaption and mitigation. Ensuring fairer prices and the delivery of the Fairtrade Premium, the Fairtrade certification can help to overcome this. Put simply, more money means more climate resilience for farmers.
What can you do?
Switch to Fairtrade products! Choosing Fairtrade is one of the easiest ways you can take a stand with farmers and workers on the frontline of the climate crisis. Fairtrade works with farmers to strengthen environmental and climate protection, to provide resources, training and knowledge so they can face climate challenges right now.
Understandably, you may think that on a student budget you can’t swap afford to swap to Fairtrade. But there are so many easy and affordable switches you can make. Supermarkets including ALDI and LIDL have a good range of Fairtrade products, as does the Co-op (where students can get a 10% discount). You’ll also find that many Fairtrade products are items that will last a fairly long time, such as a bag of sugar, a jar of instant coffee, or a box of tea bags.
Here’s an example for you….
- Tesco’s own brand gold blend instant coffee that isn’t Fairtrade is £1.50 for 100g.
- At ALDI a 100g jar of medium blend, instant coffee that’s also Fairtrade is £1.79.
That’s just 29p extra! Over the approximate 55 servings you can get from 100g of instant coffee, that’s less than 1p extra per mug. And just think of the difference we can make if we all choose to switch!
So, choose Fairtrade this Fairtrade Fortnight and beyond; choose to fight for climate justice, for farmers on the front line of climate change, for our planet and for future generations.
Choose the world you want!