There is no question that climate change is real and affecting each of us in different ways. Droughts, natural disasters and extinction of plants and animals are all a result of changing weather patterns.
The people who are most deeply affected are those who are the least responsible for it – farmers in developing countries. They are also the least able to respond to climate change unless they are supported by partners like Fairtrade.
First and foremost, Fairtrade deals with the connection between fair pay for farmers and sustainable farming.
We recognise that the simple truth is that farmers in developing countries are often paid very low prices for their goods and that means they have to make tough choices. Even if they care about the long-term future of their land, feeding their families will always come first. This is why fair pay is at the core of everything we do.
However, in addition to addressing the root causes of poverty, environmental protection and sustainable production practices are also ingrained in all our programs. The role of Fairtrade is to support producer organisations to identify climate-friendly actions that will both enable the farmers to reduce their footprint while also benefiting their business.
To be part of a Fairtrade certified producer organisation farmer members must strive to improve soil and water quality, manage pests, avoid using harmful chemicals, effectively manage waste, reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and protect biodiversity.
That’s a lot of work, right – here’s how we support this:
Fairtrade provides education, training and opportunities for development projects in climate adaptation and carbon credit programs. The Fairtrade Premium is often used to finance environmental actions such as tree planting and improvements in water management. Being part of a cooperative also makes this easier for the producers – it’s strength and power in numbers.
Fairtrade Standards also prohibit the felling of forests of high conservation value. Cooperatives need to establish a continuous process to map risk areas, raise the farmers’ climate awareness and promote climate-friendly production methods.
Fairtrade Carbon Credits
Another program offered by Fairtrade to address climate change are Fairtrade Carbon Credits. In partnership with the Gold Standard – this program enables farming communities in developing countries to benefit from access to carbon finance to tackle the effects of climate change. Farmers get a double benefit from Fairtrade Carbon Credits because they get a minimum price to cover the costs of setting up and running a project, and in addition they can use the Fairtrade Premium on every credit sold to invest in adaption and mitigation.