13 November, 2018

SDG 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production

Neptaly & Claudio
by Ian Brown, Fairtrade Canada

Continuing our series of blog posts about the relationship between the Sustainable Development Goals and Fairtrade, Goal number 12 is: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

A number of the UN’s statements and policies resonate deeply with those of us who work in the Fairtrade system.

  • There is a need for “a profound transformation of business practices along global value chains”.
  • “It’s in businesses’ interest to find new solutions that enable sustainable consumption and production patterns. A better understanding of environmental and social impacts of products and services is needed.”
  • “Identifying ‘hot spots’ within the value chain where interventions have the greatest potential to improve the environmental and social impact of the system as a whole is a crucial first step.”

Fairtrade seeks to address all those issues, focusing on economic, environmental and social benefits for the people at the start of the value chain - those who produce the goods we consume on a regular basis, and who are most often marginalized by conventional trade. We achieve this through rigorous standards, pricing for sustainable incomes, sound environmental practices, and the Fairtrade Premium which is democratically invested in the improvement of farms and communities.

As we enter the holiday season when shopping and consumption reaches its peak, we encourage responsible sourcing and production by Canadian companies, along with responsible purchasing by Canadian consumers as a way for us all to help meet the targets of SDG 12.

Shop with your values in mind, and consider each purchase. If buying coffee, tea, chocolate, bananas, sugar and more, look for the FAIRTRADE Mark – the world’s most widely recognized and trusted ethical label - to know that the product was sustainably produced. Consult our brands guide to see what brands sell Fairtrade in Canada, or refer to this blog post from last year which provides some holiday shopping inspiration.

If you’re a business owner, join the more than 200 companies who are already making a difference by registering their supply chains with us and putting the FAIRTRADE Mark on their products. We audit supply chains regularly to ensure the full benefits of the Fairtrade system are in place for producers. We hear regularly from companies that sustainable sourcing is top of mind for Canadians. Will your company make that commitment? Learn more in our For Business section.

If you operate a retail store, stock Fairtrade certified products to meet this growing demand by Canadians for sustainable goods. Contact retail@fairtrade.ca to learn more.

Meeting the targets of SDG 12 is ambitious, but shifting the balance of trade to benefit those at its origins is an essential step along the way. Choose Fairtrade to make your commitment to responsible trade.

Image shows farmers Neptaly Peña Carhuapoma and Claudio Peña Román harvesting coffee cherries in Maray, a village located in northern Peru, for the Norandino cooperative. Photo by Danielle Villasana