There is No Climate Justice Without Fair Trade

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by Fanny Olhats

cop-26-climate-justice-fairtrade
Yury Sanchez cultivates coffee on El Limón farm, in the Colombian village of El Nazareno, and is a member of CADIBRINE

The international community must confront trade injustice, enforce transparency and accountability in supply chains, and secure climate financing mechanisms, living incomes and wages for the world’s smallholder agricultural producers, artisans and workers in order to successfully address the climate crisis and guarantee a sustainable future for all, the world’s leading Fair Trade organizations announced today.  

In a position paper released ahead of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, Fairtrade, the World Fair Trade Organization, and the Fair Trade Advocacy Office and 14 additional signatories from the global Fair Trade movement, have outlined the critical steps deemed necessary for achieving comprehensive climate justice, including urging the private sector to increase transparency and accountability over sustainability in supply chains; demanding strengthened environmental regulations and trade rules; and calling for facilitated access to appropriate funding mechanisms for smallholder farmers and producers.  

Farmers on the frontline and at the negotiating table

Without these measures in place, the signatory organizations argue, the international community’s climate ambitions will continue to fail the planet’s most vulnerable communities, particularly the smallholder farmers and agricultural producers, who remain increasingly affected by the consequences of climate change.    

“Our planet’s farmers and agricultural workers are on the frontline of the global climate crisis. But far from being victims, they are integral in developing those key climate solutions that can reverse environmental degradation and pave the way towards a more sustainable tomorrow,” declared Dr. Nyagoy Nyong’o, Global CEO of Fairtrade International.  

“That’s why the Fair Trade movement is raising its voice in this bold position paper – to ensure farmers and agricultural workers are included in the COP26 outcomes; to guarantee fair incomes for our planet’s agricultural producers; and to build back better and greener in a post-COVID world.”    

colombia-coffee-climate-fairtrade
Yury Sanchez has been growing coffee since she was a child and understands the importance of the climate on her family’s coffee crops.

Held in Glasgow, Scotland from 31 October to 12 November 2021, COP26 will bring together global leaders and leading stakeholders to discuss the international community’s climate ambitions and a pathway to building back sustainably following the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Against this backdrop, the Fair Trade movement’s position paper calls on global leaders to immediately deliver on climate targets by:  

  • Urging governments to impose transparency and accountability measures for private sector supply chains while working to ensure sustainable livelihoods for smallholder agricultural and non-agricultural producers and workers;  
  • Demanding facilitated access to climate finance that empowers smallholder farmers, producers, artisans, and workers to adapt and become more resilient to climate change while shifting to net zero production on-farm; 
  • Calling on the private sector to pay “fair value, fair prices, and adhere to fair trading practices to ensure producers have the resources to make the investment needed for climate adaptation and mitigation”; 
  • and Lobbying for binding legal framework conditions that embed the highest environmental standards into a new, sustainable global trade policy.        

Climate justice is a fight for inclusivity

“An economic system that thrives on the exploitation of our planet’s resources and our planet’s people is a broken economic system,” said Juan Pablo Solís, Fairtrade’s Senior Advisor for Environment and Climate. “And climate measures that exclude fairness and climate justice from the core of their targets are measures that will once again fail to achieve real climate action. In Glasgow, global leaders will need to think inclusively if they want to have a meaningful impact in creating a sustainable tomorrow for all.” 

Citing IFAD/CPI research, the Fair Trade movement’s COP26 position paper points out that less than 2% of climate finance makes its way to small scale farmers, adding that awarding criteria and procedures of financial mechanisms such as the Green Climate Fund must be aligned to small producers and their organizations so that they can access available funding and manage it in a non-bureaucratic way.  

“Marginalized communities across the world are suffering the severest impact of climate change. Their production practices and personal choices have contributed the least to the current climate crisis but they are the most affected by it,” said Roopa Mehta, President of WFTO. 

“The call for climate justice requires that these communities have a seat at the negotiating table – their voices heard and their concerns addressed.”  

“Fair Trade business models contribute to the prosperity and well-being of the most marginalized, ensuring trade justice,” Mehta continued. “We urge big businesses, policymakers and other stakeholders to collectively work towards trade and climate justice for building a fairer and sustainable future.” 

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climate climate justice fair trade Fairtrade

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