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COP26 – Fairtrade farmers’ writing to politicians on climate change

‘Seize this moment, listen to our voices, and ensure that we can continue to feed the world.’

These words end a letter from 1.8 million Fairtrade farmers and workers, addressed to politicians coming to the COP26 UN climate conference in Glasgow next month. Fairtrade farmers and workers know this is our last, best chance for us to turn a corner on climate change together. We need to tell politicians it’s time to respect these farmers and workers as experts on tackling a climate crisis they see every day. Whole communities’ futures, and many of the Fairtrade products we love, are under immediate threat from climate change. But all around the world Fairtrade farmers and workers are pioneering innovative ways to tackle climate change. From tree planting in Ghana to bio-diversity projects in Guatemala, thousands of Fairtrade farmers are doing amazing work right now to build a more sustainable future. With more money in their hands, they could do so much more.

For years, the world’s wealthiest nations – those most responsible for climate change – have promised to create a $100 billion per year climate investment fund. A fund that could be used by communities in low-income countries feeling the worst effects of climate change. But politicians have failed to keep that promise. And of the funding that has been delivered, only 2 per cent reaches those smallholder farmers living with some of the worst effects of the climate crisis. In Fairtrade farmers and workers’ letter to world leaders, the message is clear: this needs to change,
for the future of their communities, for the future of the crops they grow and for all of us.

It’s time for an end to the generations of exploitation of people and planet. We will not survive the climate crisis unless we deliver what we have promised. Politicians must listen to and respect the expertise, needs and ambitions of farmers. It’s time to get behind Fairtrade farmers and workers demanding a fairer future.

News

Organic September – Over 50% of Fairtrade farmers are also organic-certified….

Organic September has just begun and we in Fairtrade are joining with the celebrations.

Because over 50 per cent of Fairtrade farmers are also organic-certified, and the extra earnings Fairtrade can offer makes it easier to invest in eco-friendly organic methods. Our expert Fairtrade Producer Networks also offer support to farmers making the switch.

Why are so many Fairtrade farmers choosing to go organic?

Because by improving soil quality and reducing pollution, organic methods help protect local environments. This so important when many Fairtrade farmers are already feeling the worst effects of climate change.

Also, farmers can frequently earn more for organic produce. It’s win-win!

 

Please keep looking out for Fairtrade and organic treats this organic September. From teas and coffees to pastas and pillow cases, there’s over 1,000 Fairtrade and organic certified products out there. And each one means a better deal for people and the planet.

Featured News

‘You must be the change you wish to see in the world’ Mahatma Gandhi

‘You must be the change you wish to see in the world’ Mahatma Gandhi

Fairtrade supporters in Guernsey will remember the two visits to our island some years ago by Greg Valerio MBE. Greg inspired many of us and opened our eyes to the challenges faced by small scale producers in the artisanal gold mining sector. Yet of even more importance, he showed us from his first hand experience how Fairtrade can be a solution.

In a new initiative, Greg shares the following with us: “Over the years as I have worked as a Fairtrade jeweller and community activist, I have collected the residue of refined gold that has come from the certified Fairtrade Gold mines. This residue, when re-refined, is Fairtrade Silver. What better way to use these kilos of silver, than to create a limited edition ring, profits of which will go directly to the restoration of The Society St Columba’s Celtic Education Centre (Community Education Learning Training and Innovation Centre).

The urgency of tackling the climate chaos that is now enveloping our beautiful world is an urgent CALL TO ACTION. As a jeweller, I witness how large scale mining destroys entire ecosystems and displaces resident communities. I witness small-scale miners using mercury to process gold, oblivious to the toxic impact mercury has to human health and ecosystems. I currently work alongside communities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo who have been devastated by the ongoing mineral funded conflicts of the region. The legacy of ethical jewellery must be greater than just the jewellery itself.

The Society of St Columba at Chanctonbury has a vision for an ecologically biodiverse and sustainable community farm. St Columba’s Farm is all about investing into a model of community-based living here in England. They have taken on a derelict heritage cattle farm and outbuildings and through prayer, work and education have set about restoring the farm, the land and the wildlife to a thriving integrated ecosystem. The Celtic Education Centre is the education hub of this vision.

Education is best served up as an experience, and in a restored centre where school kids, communities groups, and interested parties can come and learn about how we can restore our beautiful local environments and world to their original glory.

Discover more of the work here. An education centre dedicated to truth-telling and practical experiential learning is a legacy worth investing into.

Please visit my website gregvalerio.com/chanctonburyring to buy one of these limited edition rings.”

Valerio Jewellery Home

News Products

5 Fairtrade ingredients that might surprise you……

Which ingredients spring to mind when you think of Fairtrade? Chocolate, coffee, bananas and tea might be the most obvious products, but did you know that Fairtrade works with avocado and coconut farmers too?

Fairtrade certifies over 150 different ingredients and raw materials. Working with over 1.66 million farmers and workers, Fairtrade stands with farmers for fairness and equality, against some of the biggest challenges the world faces.

Here are five ingredients that you might not realise could be sourced as Fairtrade…….

https://www.fairtrade.org.uk/media-centre/blog/5-fairtrade-ingredients-that-might-surprise-you/

News

Climate crisis – power in the hands of farmers facing it.

After the deep disappointment of the G7 summit, and with the critical UN climate summit COP 26 coming to Glasgow in November it’s vital that we face the future focused and determined.

Let’s demand our politicians back their warm words on climate change with real action and financial commitments that mean more power in the hands of farmers facing a climate crisis.

We’re calling for the nations most responsible for the climate crisis to create a $100 billion climate fund. A fund which the communities most affected by climate change can use to adapt to the rapid changes they are already seeing, and to build sustainable futures.

It is absolutely critical that the expertise of farmers and workers is respected. Communities with first-hand experience of the worst realities of climate change – droughts, rampant plant diseases and more frequent natural disasters – must lead decisions on how any money is spent.

Why are we calling for this?

Because the Climate Crisis isn’t fair. The wealthiest 10 per cent of people produce 50 per cent of global carbon emissions. But it’s the lowest-earning farmers and workers whose lives and livelihoods are increasingly threatened by the consequences of climate change.

Centuries of exploitation of people and the planet by the world’s wealthiest have caused this climate emergency, and caused the extreme global inequality which is leaving millions unable to earn enough to adapt to the rapidly changing weather.

So it’s time our politicians owned up to their responsibilities. Let’s remind them we want do our bit to tackle the climate emergency and we want them to listen to the people most affected by climate change.

Events News Products

7 July 2021 – World Chocolate Day…..

What is World Chocolate Day?
World Chocolate Day is sometimes referred to as International Chocolate Day. It takes place on 7 July every year, and put simply, it’s a celebration of all things chocolate! The event was created in 2009. In some countries around the world, the day is celebrated on different dates. But July 7 was chosen for World Chocolate Day because this day is thought to be around the time that chocolate was introduced to European countries. It quickly became a favourite treat in South Africa and across the world!

Why is World Chocolate Day Celebrated?
World Chocolate Day is all about eating chocolate! It’s a celebration of chocolate creations everywhere. No matter what your favourite brand or kind of chocolate is, anyone can celebrate by treating themselves to a little nibble on 7 July. Think of it like a celebration of chocolate becoming well-known and well-loved around the world. Americans celebrate International Chocolate Day on 13 September, because this was the birthday of Milton Hershey, the founder of the Hershey chocolate company.

What is the history of chocolate?
Chocolate originated in Mexico, where Olmec people grew cacao for the first time. The cacao tree species is thought to be around 100 million years old! Word of mouth tales speak of the Olmecs using cacao to make drinks, but there’s no written evidence of this. Their knowledge was passed to the Ancient Maya, who lived in Mexico and Central America. They transformed chocolate into a spiced drink that was used in special ceremonies.

Cacao became a precious commodity, and later the Aztecs used cacao for trade, even using the seeds as a form of money! Cacao was presented to Christopher Columbus in 1502 as he explored the new world. Initially, he thought that the beans were a new type of almond. The true significance of chocolate wasn’t discovered by the wider world until 1519. It was in this year that Spanish Conquistador Hernan Cortez arrived in Central America and saw the Aztec emperor drinking ‘Xocalatl’, which would come to be known as the earliest known hot chocolate.

Ten years later, Cortez set up a cacao plantation for trading and the beans and recipe where transported to Spain, where cinnamon and other spices were added to it along with sugar to make it sweeter. Cacao on its own is very bitter! Chocolate spreads across Europe then, with this first chocolate house opening in London in 1657. Chocolate remains a drink until 1830, when the first moulded chocolate bar was produced.

When you choose Fairtrade chocolate, you know that the farmers and workers who produced the cocoa in it, received an additional Fairtrade Premium on top of the price of their crop which they can invest in their communities and use to fight the effects of climate change.

The price of cocoa beans has slumped in recent years despite high demand, and disease and age are damaging cocoa trees. Young people are increasingly reluctant to choose cocoa farming as a career, because the pay and rewards are so limited for what is a very labour intensive job.

Fairtrade cocoa farmers in places like Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana are guaranteed the Fairtrade minimum price for their crop, plus an additional Fairtrade Premium. It means they are more likely to be able to cover household costs like education, food and healthcare and invest the extra Premium to benefit the wider community, such as buying hospital and school equipment.

 

News Products

BUMPER COFFEE HARVEST FOR WORST HIT REGION


It is estimated that 125 million people depend on coffee for their livelihood, from the farmers, to those in transportation, as well as roasters and retailers. Baristas and coffee shops were some of the first to close the doors when lockdown began. Despite this challenging environment, coffee lovers have still sourced their favourite drink, due largely to the resilience of coffee producers and the supply chain. Consumer purchasing of coffee remains buoyant – already the number one e-commerce grocery product before the pandemic – the growing trend for online coffee subscriptions is key to this success.

Latin America has faced many challenges in the wake of Covid-19; reported at one point to be one of the worst hit regions in the world. The coffee growing countries of Honduras and Peru were impacted by severe lockdown restrictions, which affected the entire production process. However, despite this, many farmers reported a bumper harvest, surpassing expectations. Nevertheless, the volatility of global coffee prices continues due to uncertainty in the market, with ongoing speculation about supply and demand. We caught up with our regional team to understand more about the opportunities and challenges currently facing co-operatives and communities.

Lending Manager for Central America, Marco Garcia, said: “During the first wave of Covid-19, the major issue for our customers proved to be buyers cancelling or postponing contracts, due to the uncertain demand caused by lockdown. With the exception of Nicaragua (where the government did not impose restrictions), a general challenge for our producers was to maintain operations, with travel restrictions affecting export. For the current season, we expect a less complicated scenario, since buyers and farmers have made adjustments so they can continue to trade.”

The high altitude and rich soils of the Copán region of Honduras, are perfect for coffee growing and farmers here produce some of the highest quality beans in Central America. In 2014, a group of 25 farmers came together with the ambition to export this premium quality coffee to customers worldwide. They became known as Cafescor, and since then they have grown their membership to over 400 coffee farmers. In 2019, they became a Shared Interest customer and began to focus their efforts on enhancing the quality of their coffee even further, and as a result, improving the quality of life for farmers.

General Manager of Cafescor, Herminio Perdomo, said: “Shared Interest finance allows Cafescor to continue supporting farmers with timely payments for their produce.”

We asked Hermino about the impact Covid-19 has had on the co-operative. He said: “During 2020, the general population had to respect strict travel restrictions that allowed each citizen to work only one day out of five, based on their national ID number. Therefore, staff attended the production plant on a rotation basis for some months. In addition, coffee co-operatives in Honduras had to request a special working permit that allowed the operation of the production facility and the transport of some staff members to the premises. In 2021, the government has not requested this special permit anymore. We have adapted our operations to continue with production plans. To date, we have gathered 90% of the forecasted volume for the ongoing cycle thanks to good planning.”