15 August, 2018

SDG 10 - Reduced inequalities

by Ian Brown, Fairtrade Canada

Continuing our series of blog posts about the relationship between the Sustainable Development Goals and Fairtrade, Goal number 10 is Reduce inequality within and among countries.

The UN states “The most vulnerable nations […] continue to make inroads into poverty reduction.  However, inequality still persists and large disparities remain in access to health and education services and other assets. To reduce inequality, policies should be universal in principle paying attention to the needs of disadvantaged and marginalized populations.”

Fairtrade was created to work with some of those disadvantaged and marginalized populations – small-scale farmers and agricultural workers who have been left behind by global trade policies.

Target 10.4 is “Adopt policies, especially fiscal, wage and social protection policies, and progressively achieve greater equality.”

Fairtrade’s three pillars of sustainability – economic, social and environmental – help to promote equality with financial practices including:

  • The Fairtrade Minimum Price which aims to ensure that producers can cover their average costs of sustainable production. It acts as a safety net for farmers at times when world markets fall below a sustainable level.
  • The Fairtrade Premium which is an additional sum of money that farmers receive for products sold on Fairtrade terms. This money goes into a communal fund for workers and farmers to use to benefit their communities. This is often used to improve farming practices as well as to provide education, healthcare, clean water, and other social and environmental programs for the wider community. The image above shows part of a 17km transport line built with the Fairtrade Premium at APPBOSMAM in Peru. It makes the manual labour of harvesting bananas much easier.

The UN also states: “The voices of developing countries still need to be strengthened in decision-making forums of international economic and financial institutions.”

Fairtrade is the only ethical certification scheme 50% owned and governed by producers from the Global South, giving them an equal say in running the global Fairtrade movement.