Of course here at Just we are about fair trade all year round and have been since we opened our first pop up shop in November 1996, (wow, that’s getting on for 24 years!) So in many ways we could be forgiven for thinking we know all about fair trade and these days the climate emergency is is more important and what we should be focusing on. However I’m becoming increasingly aware that Fairtrade has a really important role to play in combating climate change and by continuing to choose Fairtrade marked products we are making positive choices for the world and its climate as well as the humans living on it.
First some scary figures. It is predicted that without any action now, if we just carry on business as usual, by 2050;
There will be 50% less suitable land to grow coffee world wide. Coffee is extremely vulnerable to small changes in temperature. In Latin America they are already experiencing huge growth in fungal diseases that are destroying coffee plants. It is predicted that 25% of coffee farms in Brazil and 37% in Indonesia will be lost due to climate change if no action is taken.
Wine production in South Africa will be reduced by 50% and down 40% in Chile.
In Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire large areas of land that are currently cocoa farms will be too hot for cocoa production. The concern is that the farmers will be forced to go up to higher altitude, cooler areas to farm. They will be forced to clear the valuable forested biodiverse areas currently there so they can plant their cocoa trees.
So how can Fairtrade help? Of course Fairtrade can not solve the climate crisis but it can help by Advocacy, Adaption and Avoiding emissions. Fairtrade helps the farmers have a voice so that their concerns are heard by policy makers and by giving them a living wage so they can afford to act. Fairtrade is already helping farmers to adapt their farming practices through training and support. The Fairtrade standards that farmers must follow already include standards in areas such as deforestation, carbon emissions, soil erosion and water wastage.
When farmers are part of the Fairtrade system they have the confidence it brings, that of long term trading relationships, fair prices and the Fairtrade premium. This means that they can make long term plans, do things like access training and invest in more environmentally friendly farming practices. For example in Costa Rica Fairtrade farmers have invested premium money in reforestation and water recycling systems. In Kerala India farmers have invested in solar panels halving their use of fire wood. In Kenya the women farmers have purchased biogas cookers for their homes, lessening their emissions and reducing their use of fire wood.
So remember; when we choose a Fairtrade product we are helping farmers around the world tackle the climate crisis. And we at Just will continue to be proud to be all about fair trade!