13 Feb Fairtrade and Climate Change
When you buy Fairtrade, you are supporting farmers through the often devastating impact of the climate emergency. Below is an explanation of how this is done. The full article can be found at https://www.fairtrade.org.uk/Media-Centre/Blog/2018/June/8-ways-Fairtrade-protects-the-environment
Farmers say the climate emergency is one of the number one threats they face. Millions of farmers around the world who rely on agriculture for their livelihoods are among the worst affected.
Environmental protection is ingrained in Fairtrade. To sell Fairtrade products, farmers have to improve soil and water quality, manage pests, avoid using harmful chemicals, manage waste, reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and protect biodiversity.
Here are seven ways Fairtrade supports farmers to survive the climate emergency and reduce their own carbon footprint.
- Reforestation projects to store carbon Many Fairtrade co-operatives choose to invest their Fairtrade Premiumin reforestation projects.
- Fairtrade prohibits the use of certain agrochemicalsthat are harmful to the environment and encourages farmers to reduce their use of pesticides.
- Growing trees and crops togetherGrowing trees and several kinds of crops together increases families’ farm yields and, with it, their access to food and income.Trees provide shade for crops and when the leaves fall and decompose, they make the soil more fertile and crops get a better yield4.
- Climate emergency adaptation training Fairtrade promotes training on climate crisis mitigation for farmers. For example, some training offers advice on switching to environmentally friendly practices, such as developing nutrient-rich soils that support healthy plants and encouraging wildlife to help control pests and diseases.
- Fairtrade Carbon CreditsCarbon credits in essence are tonnes of carbon dioxide that have been prevented from entering or have been removed from the atmosphere. Companies can purchase credits to take responsibility for the emissions they produce. These credits can be earned by smallholder farmers through sustainability projects such as reforestation and switching to biogas stoves. The funding for these projects is covered by the carbon credits and the farmers receive a Fairtrade Premium.
- Switching to Green Energy Fuels Deforestation for firewood is a big issue in Ethiopia. The rapid deforestation is directly related to poverty. As people need to sustain their livelihoods, 46 percent of felling is due to daily energy needs. Traditionally, many people cook over an open-fire, which is both harmful to the environment and women’s health. 3 million premature deaths each yearOromia Co-operativein Ethiopia has taken part in the carbon credit initiative to purchase biogas stoves.This project equipped 10,000 coffee farmers with 20,000 efficient cookstoves. The new stoves reduce the use of firewood by 50 percent.
- Reducing water usage COOCAFEco-operative in Costa Rica spent some of their Fairtrade Premium on a new water treatment system in processing plants. This new system has reduced water use from 2,000-3,000 litres per 225 kg of coffee to 200 litres.