As 2020 draws to a close, it’s tempting to reflect on what we haven’t done or been able to do this year. Whether that’s getting on with our jobs, seeing our family or simply taking a break. But trust us, you have done more than you think this year. Because you choose Fairtrade, farmers and workers across the world have had more power and more resources right when they need it most. Chief Executive Mike Gidney has refleceds on how critical the strength and solidarity of the global Fairtrade community has been for the people behind our everyday essentials, as they’ve faced up to the twin crisis of the Coronavirus pandemic and the escalating effects of climate change.
How Fairtrade helps fuel the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic. Every time you choose Fairtrade, you generate Fairtrade Premium funds. Then, the farmers and workers behind those products democratically decide how to best invest those funds locally. Throughout the pandemic, many Fairtrade co-operatives have used those funds to protect the most vulnerable in their communities. From sending vital supplies to a local elderly home and distributing thousands of face masks to giving funds to workers to ensure they have enough to get by, the Fairtrade Premium you have helped create by choosing Fairtrade has been a real lifeline this year.
How Fairtrade means a louder voice for those on the front line of the climate crisis. Rural farmers and workers in low-income countries have done the least to cause the climate crisis – the average carbon footprint of someone in Côte d’Ivoire is 17 times smaller than the average person in the UK – but they are already feeling the worst effects. And because of unjust global trade, they aren’t earning enough to adapt to increasingly erratic weather patterns, more rampant plant disease and declining soil quality. That’s why it was so critical that just last week Fairtrade Africa Chairperson Mary Kinyua joined world leaders at the Climate Ambition summit as one of the keynote speakers. Globally, our Fairtrade movement needs to be at the forefront of the campaign for climate justice, because our priorities are defined by the farmers and workers who deal with the reality of climate change every day. And next year during Fairtrade Fortnight you’ll be hearing much more about why the climate crisis means it’s more important than ever that farmers and workers earn enough to build a sustainable future.
Why Fairtrade means coming together to choose a better world. In short, what we’re trying to say is Fairtrade has meant something very special this year. It’s meant a global platform for those most affected by climate change to challenge those most responsible for the climate crisis to take urgent action. It’s meant a lifeline to those communities most vulnerable to the serious threats – health and economic – brought by the Coronavirus pandemic. But Fairtrade is only able to make this change happen because it means so much to so many of us. This was made even clearer this year, as over 300,000 people signed petitions in solidarity with cocoa and sugar farmers when Nestle stopped using Fairtrade ingredients in their KitKat bars. And every single day, millions of us choose to stand with farmers and workers across the world, when we take the time to look for a FAIRTRADE Mark when doing our shopping.
Whatever else you’ve done this year, thank you for choosing to be a part of all this. Thank you for choosing Fairtrade and choosing a better future. Season’s greetings from everyone at the Fairtrade Foundation.