Climate Change

EGALITÉ, FRATERNITÉ, SUSTAINABILITÉ  Why the climate revolution must be a fair revolution.

Climate change and Fairtrade are interlinked because those at the heart of the Fairtrade movement, poor farmers and workers in developing countries, are at the frontline of the climate crisis. The document ‘Egalité, Fraternité, Sustainabilité: why the climate revolution must be a fair revolution’, highlights how climate change is already affecting producers, reducing crop yields and making their lives more uncertain.

It explores how the Fairtrade system helps poor producers to adapt and prepare for the impacts of climate change and how the system might be developed to increase its impact. The Fairtrade system helps farmers to plan ahead and to invest in new ways of farming and switching to different crops. The system of organising into co-operatives also helps farmers to share information and work together in adapting to climate change.

Some people assume that there is an inherent contradiction between buying Fairtrade and shopping ‘sustainably’. However, the carbon impact of Fairtrade is far less than is often assumed. There is plenty of evidence that Fairtrade has a role to play in directly supporting adaptation to climate change by small farmers in countries of the global South as well as reducing inequality overall and as such, buying Fairtrade should be considered a positive consumption choice by those seeking to live more ‘sustainably’.

The Fairtrade movement has always fought to support small farmers and workers in their quest to find solutions to the challenges they face. As the climate crisis looms we will continue to do so, and ‘Egalité, Fraternité, Sustainabilité’ outlines how we believe that our founding principles, experience, and the networks we have built up, mean that we are uniquely placed to play a specific role in the global response to climate  change. There is plenty of evidence to demonstrate that Fairtrade provides a positive contribution to building up global equity and also has a role to play in directly supporting adaptation to climate change by small farmers in countries of the global South. We argue that supporting the development of the Fairtrade system is one way in which citizens and governments can support a fair global response to the challenges of climate change. The document also explores some ways in which the Fairtrade movement, both North and South, might build on its experience and networks in order to play as strong a role as possible in to climate change. This includes a re-framing of current debates on sustainable consumption, to include consideration of our ‘positive’ footprint and ensuring that purchasing on fair terms from developing countries through programmes such as Fairtrade remains a positive consumption choice by those trying to live more ‘sustainably’.

Please take the time to read ‘Egalité, Fraternité, Sustainabilité’. on the Fairtrade website and send in your views. If you wish, please copy us in.

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