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How buying fairtrade can benefit the environment

What is Fairtrade?

Fairtrade, in its essence, ensures that farmers and producers in developing countries receive a fair, equitable and liveable wage in safer working conditions for the goods they produce.; In the UK, the most consumed fairtrade products include coffee, tea, sugar, chocolate, and wine. The very nature of these items and the areas in which they are farmed have the inherent risk that farmers may fall into unfair trading agreements, therefore amplifying the risk of poverty and leading to a difficult life in a difficult environment.

Why buy Fairtrade?

Buying Fairtrade is a principled choice that allows us, the consumer, to use our money to directly support the farmers who produce the goods we love.

By using our “wallet power”, we are making a positive impact on the lives of those farmers and their families by alleviating the worry of poverty and providing access to vital resources. The Fairtrade logo provides peace of mind.

A magical shop with wooden shelves of products
"Seeing our impact" interpretation of positive consumer choices on the environment. Anonymous ZERO volunteer

How does Fairtrade benefit the environment?

As businesses, charities, and individuals, we are aware that climate change is affecting our seasons in the UK, and the effects increase with each passing year. But countries from which Fairtrade goods are sourced are even more susceptible and vulnerable to changes in the climate. For example, African countries such as Ethiopia, where a large percentage of the country’s economy is based on the farming, production and exportation of coffee are at risk from rising temperatures, droughts, and variability in rainfall. Putting further risk on the ability of those farmers on the frontline of climate change to produce enough to earn a wage, let alone a liveable one.

Through buying Fairtrade, we are providing a liveable wage and also ensuring conformance to the eco-friendly fair-trading standards set out by the foundation for farmers and workers that promotes improvements and protection for the natural capital utilised for farming and producing purposes. It covers subjects such as:

  • Soil and water quality

  • Pest management

  • Avoidance of harmful chemicals

  • Waste management

  • Emissions reduction

  • Biodiversity protection

The Fairtrade Foundation provides the resources to encourage farmers to meet the standards for all of the above through training and advice that build skills in environmentally friendly practices, helping those farmers to cope with the challenging farming conditions highlighted in the Ethiopian coffee example.

What changes could we make today?

We can support the 71 countries where Fairtrade supports local farmers simply by using our purchasing power during our day-to-day or weekly purchases, we as a community in Guildford can make a tangible difference to the lives of people across the world that produce our most loved goods, helping the Fairtrade Foundation to provide a liveable wage and foster sustainable farming practices to the people on the frontline of climate change.

To celebrate fairtrade fortnight, join ZERO for the Fairtrade Fest 11 Mar, 12:30 – 16:00 ZERO, 14 Friary St, Guildford GU1 4EH, UK for a fun afternoon for individuals, friends and families, where we will host a series of interactive activities with a chance to win delicious fairtrade goodies. This is a local community event which seeks to promote awareness of fairtrade and be a part of the wider dialogue around climate justice.


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