Without thriving biodiversity, we face increased food and water insecurity. A healthy natural environment is crucial for the quarter of the world’s population who depend on agriculture for their livelihoods.
If we are to protect nature, we have to change the way we farm our land and produce our food. Vast areas of monoculture crops which ruthlessly eliminate all other biodiversity are unnatural and risk destroying local ecosystems, leading to the extinction of both animal and plant species. Reintroducing crop diversity and sustainable farming methods will have positive long-term impacts.
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.
To be part of a Fairtrade certified producer organisation farmer members must strive to:
Fairtrade standards prohibit the use of certain agrochemicals that are harmful to the environment and encourage farmers to reduce their use of pesticides. This allows farmers to improve their land and develop nutrient-rich soils which support healthy plants and encourage wildlife to help control pests and diseases.
Fairtrade also organises training for farmers so they can learn how to grow in harmony with the local environment and avoid creating monocultures. Many producers also invest their Fairtrade Premium – the extra money they get for selling on Fairtrade terms – in various projects aimed at restoring natural areas or reforestation.
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 planting tress and for 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.