green and brown trees during daytime
Photo by Lucian Dachman on Unsplash

Fairtrade Fortnight is upon us again and, as with all years, reminds us both of our proud internationalist history as a movement and also of the power that we as co-operators and consumers have to make the world a better place.

This year’s Fairtrade Fortnight is focused on the actions we can take to halt and reverse the climate crisis.  Co-operators have always understood the interconnectedness of our global food system, and our responsibilities as consumers to the producers and the communities they support across the world.  So it comes as no surprise that our movement has also been at the forefront of the fight against the climate crisis.

Like Covid-19, the climate crisis is having and will continue to have a disproportionate affect on the most vulnerable across the globe. Western consumption is driving deforestation in the Amazon, the world’s lungs, and other vital carbon-capturing landscapes. Illegal deforestation to make room for cattle grazing and soy production (which is grown overwhelmingly to feed animals around the world) is compounding the climate crises and resulting in violence and persecution towards workers and indigenous peoples. Meat from some of the worst performing companies in the world on deforestation, such as beef giant JBS and soy producer Cargill, find their way to dinner plates in the UK.

But there is hope.

Fairtrade Fortnight proves that British consumers can work together to fight injustice in an increasingly globalized world and co-operation offers a model which can work for both people and the planet.

As we slowly emerge from this pandemic we must also look ahead and shape a world where diseases like this, highly likely born from the destruction of the natural world, cannot continue to emerge.

As co-operators, let us use these two weeks to reaffirm our commitment to climate and social justice around the world by using the power of our wallets to support business and products that are guaranteed to be free from deforestation. Co-operative Party representatives are also uniquely placed to hold the Government to account on their environmental record, especially with Glasgow as the location for this year’s COP26, and our global responsibilities as a country as we negotiate post-Brexit trade deals with countries at the center of these networks, such as Brazil and palm-oil producing Indonesia.

Co-operative Party members must be in the driving seat for what a future Labour and Co-op Government would do to create a fairer system for all life on this planet, but we are not a movement that sits on our hands and waits to be elected to make a real difference. Join us to help us drive that change from the shelves of our supermarkets to the rainforests of the world.