Climate Change and Fair Trade: Protecting People & Planet

Climate Change and Fair Trade: Protecting People & Planet

Sustainability in agriculture is concerned with two challenges: climate justice and trade justice | Learn more on Commonshare |. The two are interlinked through the Fair Trade movement, which seeks to empower small-scale farmers in the developing world and help them to be resilient in the face of climate change. 
The very genius of the Fair Trade movement lies in its recognition that protecting people and planet constitutes two sides of the same coin. One aspect of this insight is the recognition that both globalized trade policies and climate change threaten small-scale farmers. 
Going a little deeper, the floods, droughts, and unpredictable weather that assail beleaguered farmers in the Global South, the manifestations of climate change, are consequences of the same globalized industrial conventional order as unfair trading policies. Climate justice and trade justice, therefore, are complementary and mutually reinforcing. The Fair Trade movement now seeks to foster trade justice as a key element of climate resilience | https://www.fairtrade.net/news/fairtrade-calls-for-trade-justice-as-a-key-element-of-climate-resilience |. 
Fairer terms of trade with guaranteed minimum pricing are a key part of the trade justice approach championed by the organization Fairtrade. At the same time, the organization is concerned with helping farmers to assess climate risks and adapt their business – for example, by growing different varieties of crops, by growing more diverse crops, and by using water with greater efficiency. 
Farmers who are getting fair prices for their crops will be in a better position to adopt the kind of long-term strategic thinking and make the kind of investments needed to adapt to climate change. Both trade justice and climate justice, then, must be fundamentally concerned with the security and well-being of farmers in the Global South. 
At a time of climate crisis, the need to link climate justice and trade justice | http://fairtradeamerica.org/Why-Fairtrade/Climate-Change | has never been greater. Many of the world’s most valuable commodities, particularly coffee, cocoa, and cotton, are grown by small-scale farmers in the Global South and are severely threatened by climate change. Take coffee, for example. Changing weather patterns caused by climate change have driven the growth of fungal crop disease and coffee leaf rust disease. This disease now affects 50% of Central America’s coffee and 30% of South America’s. Cocoa, another consumer favorite, is under threat from desertification in Africa. And cotton, a crop with global importance for the textile industry, is also under threat by changing weather patterns that will render some areas too arid for economically efficient production. 
The Fair Trade movement advocates helping farmers to adapt to these challenges. While the broader solution to climate change involves the entire planet, farmers on the front lines of the climate crisis in the Global South need climate resilience now. Working in partnership with these farmers, fair trade advocates are helping them to choose environmentally sustainable solutions. The Fairtrade organization helps to support farmers as they adopt such practices as agroforestry, boosting soil health using worms, and preserving biodiversity through buffer zones between fields and ecologically sensitive areas. 
At a time when changing climate is threatening traditional agriculture in so much of the Global South and the North, climate justice and trade justice are necessary partners. 

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