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Fairtrade for Sustainability

From 3-5th July fairandfunky will be in Bristol along with Fairtrade supporters and campaigners from across the globe at the International Fair Trade Towns Conference. The theme this year is ‘Fairtrade for Sustainability’ so we asked Jenny Foster from hosts Fairtrade Bristol to share her thoughts on this important connection:

 

JCP_7786“Most of you know that buying products with the Fairtrade Mark guarantees a fair price for small farmers and a social premium to invest in their business and in community projects such as schools, fresh water and health care. How many of you know that Fairtrade also has strict environmental standards that all Producer groups have to meet to gain Fairtrade accreditation? Not so many I should think! Fairtrade has 12 environmental standards covering :

* Environmental monitoring and training

* Protecting biodiversity, soil and rainforests

* Waste, recycling and pesticides

* Lowering carbon emissions and switching to renewable energy

http://www.fairtrade.net/our-standards.html

 

IFTTC logo RGBWe also know that climate change is affecting the poorest areas of the world the most –those people who have done the least to cause the problem. We hear from our farmers about changes in rainfall patterns, more drought and, conversely, more flooding, as well as an increase in crop diseases. So Fairtrade is helping farmers to adapt to climate change – by developing crop varieties that need less water, improving irrigation methods, diversifying to prevent dependence on one crop if there’s a blight, and investing in solar technologies. There is also training and help to assist farmers to switch to organic farming to increase their income and improve health – 56% of Fairtrade products are now certified Organic too. There’s a great film on the work of the Sonomoro Co-operative in Peru if you’d like to know more : http://vimeo.com/75468496

 

Of course we all want to support local farmers, and are concerned about the carbon footprint of our food. Most Fairtrade goods cannot be grown in the EU, and are shipped not flown. Many Fairtrade products have a lower carbon footprint than those driven around UK or produced in hothouses in the EU. So, buying Local and buying Fairtrade are complementary.

 

Fairtrade is about social AND environmental justice, so buying Fairtrade really is part of a sustainable shopping basket.

FT Banner greenWe’ve been focussing on these issues in Bristol because 2015 is not only the year that Bristol is European Green Capital, but also Bristol’s 10th Anniversary as a Fairtrade City. We are so proud to be hosting the International Fair Trade Towns Conference ‘Fairtrade For Sustainability’ on 4th/5th July, welcoming hundreds of delegates from across the world to hear from experts and each other how Fair Trade is a key part of sustainable living.

 

You can get a taster of what the Conference will cover here: https://vimeo.com/120058316

 

Be part of something amazing – join us at the Conference, and buy Fairtrade!”

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