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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

This week is the second week of Fairtrade Fortnight, the annual celebration which raises awareness of the benefits fairtrade brings to people and communities both at home and abroad.

The goal of fairtrade is to improve the living standards, workers rights and environmental impact of trade with farmers in developing economies. The Fairtrade Foundation UK has been working since 1992 to deliver more equitable and sustainable trading relationships with farming communities to enable better living conditions and economic development. The co-operative movement has been a partner of the Fairtrade Foundation since the start – with The Co-op Group being the first supermarket to stock fairtrade goods. The co-operative movement remains committed to supporting and promoting fairtrade globally – so we can build a more equitable and sustainable world.

This year’s Fairtrade Fortnight focuses on the threat of climate change to major agricultural products, highlighting how fairtrade relations can enable more sustainable farming practices. The
Fairtrade Foundation’s new report, The Endangered Aisle, reveals that many of the UK’s favourite food products, including chocolate, bananas and coffee, could become scarce from our supermarket shelves as climate change impacts farming communities. Climate change is causing significant weather-related losses to crops – including heatwaves, storms, floods and droughts.

This is coupled with damage to biodiversity and land use change – all contributing to harming the environment in which communities grow the produce which is integral to their livelihoods. The research finds almost half of UK banana imports and almost a quarter of coffee imports are from countries vulnerable to climate change. This represents an existential risk to these farming communities and their agricultural products.

This is why supporting and promoting fairtrade is so important to global sustainability. The Fairtrade Standards require farmers to work to improve their sustainability by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improve soil and water quality, protect biodiversity and reduce chemical usage. The Fairtrade Foundation is building on this by calling for five key actions from global leaders in the wake of COP 27:

1. Meeting the $100bn climate aid commitment promised by richer nations

2. Ensuring climate finance delivers for smallholder farmers by including them in the design of climate programmes

3. Supporting farmers and workers with the costs of adaption and mitigation

4. Agreeing on regulations that tackle the root causes of environmental degradation, such as deforestation

The Co-operative Party supports this timely call to arms from the Fairtrade Foundation. We need to see greater efforts to confront climate change and make agriculture more sustainable. By supporting and getting involved in Fairtrade Fortnight you can play your part in working towards a fairer, more sustainable trade system which benefits some of the most disadvantaged communities in the world.