Climate Change

Farmers and rural communities in developing countries like India have contributed the least to climate change but are often affected the most.

80% of the world’s food comes from 500 million small-scale farms.

According to @IPPC, crop yield declines of 10-25% may be widespread by 2050 due to #ClimateChange

Farmers are on the
frontline of climate change

There is no question that climate change is real and is affecting each of us in different ways. Droughts, natural disasters and extinction of plants and animals are all a result of changing weather patterns. Climate studies predict that by 2050 coffee, tea, cocoa and cotton will be so severely affected that production in some areas will even disappear. The mindset needs to change from can I live without chocolate or coffee as that is ignoring the millions of farmers and workers who depend on international trade and these crops in particular to survive.

Climate change results in decreasing crop yields, soil erosion, pests, diseases and extreme weather patterns - all of which threaten livelihoods and food security.
All of us – consumers, retailers, traders – rely on farmers to produce the food we need to feed a growing global population. 80 percent of the world’s food comes from 500 million small-scale farms. If they suffer, we all feel the consequences. Some studies suggest that a rise of just one degree could lead to reductions of between five and ten percent in the yields of major cereal crops.

Climate change isn’t fair. Often, it’s those with the lowest carbon footprint who are hit hardest. Fairtrade farmers and producers understand this challenge,, some of them are already struggling with loss of land, crops and livelihood. Extreme weather and rising temperatures are already hitting the production of major Fairtrade commodities including coffee, cocoa and tea.

For farmers and workers , climate change is not a far-off challenge. ItThis changing reality affects farmers and their communities directly in the form of:

  • Income loss
  • Food insecurity
  • The need to change their business models
  • Increased costs for adaptation and mitigation

Fairtrade interventions for Climate Resilience

Fairtrade cannot solve the issue of climate change, but we do support farmers with tools, practices and resources to become more resilient.

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.

At Fairtrade, environmental protection and sustainable production practices are ingrained in what we do. 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.

Fairtrade Premium

Producer organizations get extra money from the sales of Fairtrade certified products. They often use these funds on projects like tree planting, clean energy and crop diversification to better prepare their farms for climate change.

Environmental standards

Fairtrade producer organizations follow our environmental standards to minimize their impact on the environment—like not using GMO seeds or harmful chemicals and not cutting down protected forests.

Fairtrade carbon credits

In partnership with the Gold Standard, we established Fairtrade Carbon Credits so farming communities can access carbon finance to tackle the effects of climate change through renewable energy, energy efficiency and forestry projects.

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.

The Fairtrade Standards require small producers to take steps to

  • Adapt to climate change
  • Reduce greenhouse gases and increase carbon sequestration
  • Avoid deforestation and protect forests
  • Tackle soil erosion and increase soil fertility
  • Reduce water wastage

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