12 Feb Choosing the world we want
This has been a strange and thorny year for us all. Most of us have probably been focused on ways to endure the trials of COVID-19. Yet we are well aware that around the world there are people who have less capacity to cope with a pandemic and it is hard perhaps to find a way of responding to our concern. Yet the pandemic has shown us more than ever how interconnected we are globally and these interconnection are at the very heart of the Fairtrade movement.
If you are reading this you are almost certainly aware that our global trading system is balanced in favour of the powerful few. Trapped in this system, farmers already struggle to meet their immediate needs. More than ever, they need a fair price for their crops and their hard work. You will know what Fairtrade offers small farmers in the developing world who have to struggle to achieve a minimum living income in best of times. Every single time you choose Fairtrade, or decided to campaign with us, you’re choosing to put more power and more money in the hands of those farmers and workers who are sorely disadvantaged by unfair global trade. Your support leads to more clinics delivering life-saving care, more businesses growing sustainably and more children getting a quality education, thanks to farmers democratically choosing how to invest their Fairtrade Premium locally.
Fairtrade producers have used their premiums to help their communities respond to the pandemic. Groups of Fairtrade producers in Myanmar and Sri Lanka have distributed medical assistance to small and scattered communities. Flower growers in Kenya have used Fair-trade funded sewing machines to make masks.
Beneath and beyond these measures Fairtrade has formed a climate change strategy aimed at securing sustainable livelihoods by assisting farmers with adaptation and reducing their climate change footprints. Smallholders have access to the carbon market through Fairtrade Carbon Credits. Farmers are provided with information and training so that they can play an increasingly active role while receiving technical support in adapting to the inexorable threats of climate change.
We can all help, both by buying Fairtrade products and by listening to and echoing the voices of farmers at the heart of tackling both the pandemic and the climate crisis and thus share the reality of their struggles. Fairtrade works to raise the voices of farmers and workers and prioritise what they need to respond to the environmental crises unfolding in already vulnerable communities.
This Fairtrade Fortnight, the Fairtrade Foundation is asking us to ‘Choose the World You Want’ and use our voices to tell others about the challenges that farmers face from climate change. You can join the virtual Festival on this theme:
In essence Fairtrade can be part of choosing a better world.