Fairtrade stands for climate justice

Climate change hits those in low-income countries the hardest. Increasingly extreme, unpredictable weather is destroying bananas, coffee, cocoa and other crops. That means farmers and workers who are already underpaid have even less to spend on essentials such as education, medical treatment and even food.

The climate crisis is not fair

  • The wealthiest 10 percent of people produce 50 percent of emissions. But those on the lowest incomes face the consequences – more frequent natural disasters, extreme unpredictable weather and rampant plant diseases.
  • That includes farmers and workers who grow crops like tea, coffee, cocoa and bananas.
  • Many of the world’s lowest earning farmers and workers understand the climate crisis all too well – it’s making their lives harder every day. But unfair trade means they can’t even earn enough for basics, let alone the money to invest in adapting to climate change and sustainable farming techniques.

We’re asking EU to be fair to farmers and forests!

Read Fairtrade’s letter and recommendations here Sign on as an Individual

The world’s forests provide for nearly four times as many livelihoods than the population of the European Union. Putting decent livelihoods at the centre of regulations for ending deforestation in tropical commodities is as important as protecting the forests themselves.

Climate change as a result of deforestation is attributable to three or four main commodities associated with large scale agriculture; beef, soy and palm oils, and forestry products; which between them account for over 72% of tropical forest loss. Cocoa and coffee between them account for less than 4%.

Small-scale farmers of course also have to manage their forests sustainably; to protect old growth forests and also support regenerative forestry where forests and soil have been degraded –- but they need decent livelihoods to be able to do this.

Fairtrade welcomes the EU regulations as a necessary first step towards the ending of imported deforestation. However Fairtrade is asking for improvements in key areas so that the regulations  better support and protect small holders and do not further marginalise them.

The world’s forests provide for nearly four times as many livelihoods than the population of the European Union. Putting decent livelihoods at the centre of regulations for ending deforestation in tropical commodities is as important as protecting the forests themselves.

In terms of any just transition, it is widely accepted that developing countries have only contributed 11% of carbon emissions since 1850 and that they should be supported to meet emission targets and adaptation strategies made necessary by the actions of others. Equally in terms of deforestation, 50% of global deforestation in the last 9,000 years coincided with European industrial development since 1900 1.

Several EU member states were heavily engaged in colonial trade based on extracting resources and wealth and depending on slavery and exploitation of the natural world and people alike. The EU and its Members have a moral obligation to ensure that the proposed EU regulations on deforestation support the most vulnerable in EU supply chains and redress the lingering burden of history. Smallholder farmers need livelihoods at living income levels - or the proposed regulation will fail to protect the forests and the farmers.

Creating a fairer future for farmers and forests

Fairtrade works with over 1.2 million cocoa and coffee smallholders, in over 40 countries. This is a subset of the millions of smallholder cocoa and coffee farmers who are reliant for income on selling to the European Union. The vast majority of these cocoa and coffee smallholders work on farms smaller than five hectares23, and are living in extremely vulnerable contexts. Ensuring cocoa and coffee smallholder farmer inclusion is a precondition for the proposed EU legislation to reach its objectives.

We Are Asking the EU To Be Fair To Farmers and To Forests

Read Fairtrade’s letter and recommendations here Sign on as an Individual

To clarify the number and extent to which cocoa and coffee smallholders will be impacted by the regulation before the proposal is enacted and damages their livelihoods.

  1. To engage responsibly with cocoa and coffee smallholders and their cooperatives, including encouraging companies to set long-term and supportive sourcing contracts.
  2. To require companies placing products on the European Union market to respect land and tenure rights of local communities and Indigenous and Traditional peoples.
  3. To use financial support in European Union Partnerships and Programmes to help smallholder farmers comply with new EU sustainability requirements.
  4. To provide adequate support and safeguards on data ownership for cocoa and coffee smallholders and their producer organizations in relation to traceability requirements.
  5. To tackle the root causes of deforestation as a precondition to reduce the European Union deforestation footprint.

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