Sustainability and climate change in fair trade

Should the fair trade movement include policies to ensure that fair trade is environmentally sustainable; so that climate change becomes a part of that movement?

(This is an open space session so I will try and draw out the main themes of discussion as it flows).

Studio Allaya is a craft based organization that supports producers so that they can take charge of their own enterprises themselves. Climate change is a part of this.

Café Direct is at the end of a 3 year project: chaotic weather conditions had impacted sales however the producers did not see this as a result of climate change. There is a need for education of climate change alongside fair trade. It would make sense for fair trade organsations to partner up with organisations that specialise on climate change.

75% of the environmental issues of coffee trade is the kettle boiling over here, not where it’s made.

Sustainability is seen as an add on – it must be a part of fair trade.

Children and young people are ‘where it’s at’ with climate change – it sits well with this age group, they are open to learning and can carry it forward. They’re the future (and not corrupt!). Children of the 80s and 90s are ‘brand obsessed’ and move from one project to the next (we talked about children of the 60s/70s growing up worrying about the costs of electricity so cutting back on expenditure; and children of the 80s/90s not having money worries or long term concerns about energy resources and the climate – yes it was a generalisation; however children of today are the ones who will be living with what we do – or don’t do – now).

There is a short window of time to change as by 2050 we will see the impact of climate change and fair trade has to play a part of this now.

‘Our land is barren; not because we can’t grow on it but because we can’t sell from it’

Environment education is needed at both ends of the chain; producers and consumers.

‘Live simply’ : do we really need to buy flowers in winter? but if we stop now – we have already instigated the supply-demand… To trade or not to trade: let it be fair trade’.

We need to address adaptation requirements of producers; what are the climate change implications for them? Should it be funded by the big organisations as they are getting so much benefit from fair trade?

The fair trade movement will need to move from an ‘enable-centric’ market to an ‘equal-centric’ market.

We need to adopt a more cautious approach to consumption: FLO (fair trade labeling) is one part and the other is the fair trade market run by WFTO-type organization.

Could social media could help change this?

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