Sandra Uwera

Honouring Climate Promises: An Open Letter from Fairtrade

By Sandra Uwera, Global CEO, Fairtrade International

In an Open Letter, Fairtrade calls on Member States at COP27 to ‘honor their climate promises’ and ‘act now’ for our planet’s farmers.

In an Open Letter, Fairtrade calls on Member States at COP27 to ‘honor their climate promises’ and ‘act now’ for our planet’s farmers.

Dear Government Leaders, Global Dignitaries, and United Nations delegates:

We demand action. As representatives of over 1.9 million Fairtrade farmers and the thousands of global businesses sourcing from them, we see first-hand how the climate crisis directly and disproportionately impacts the people in our supply chains. Increasingly volatile weather is damaging crops and harming the livelihoods of farmers and agricultural workers. Extreme weather events are sweeping away farming communities and threatening the very products consumers around the world have long enjoyed. Unless we clamp down hard and fast on global emissions and support farmers in low- and middle-income countries to build climate resilience, all of us will suffer.

That’s why Fairtrade is calling on you to step up, take action, and honour your climate promises, ensuring that the needs of farming communities in historically disenfranchised regions around the world are prioritised in the COP27 outcome and in your Governments’ individual trade and Human Rights and Environmental Due Diligence (HREDD) policies.

We welcome the climate finance commitments that Member States reconfirm last year in Glasgow, Scotland at COP26. However, we fear these announcements will not benefit the farming communities we work with unless those communities themselves are able to contribute to the design of the funds. Fairtrade farmers have unique insights into the climate adaptation and mitigation inputs they need and informed thinking on how external support can build their resilience, halt deforestation, and prepare for changing weather. Farmers are also the ones on the ground during implementation. Bringing farmers and their communities in at the design stage will help ensure that funding gets where it is needed and is used effectively.

We also call on you to negotiate trade agreements that support human and labour rights and the highest environmental standards with a view to drastically reduce carbon emissions. This is to drive best practices and low-carbon innovation, encourage the production and trade of sustainable products, and encourage the uptake of sustainable technologies along supply chains, as well an investment in sustainable freight options. All trade agreements must demonstrate an unwavering commitment to Human Rights, ILO conventions, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the Paris Agreement through binding and enforceable requirements

Finally, we urge you to set policies on HREDD that tackle the root causes of deforestation. HREDD regulations must include robust measures to penalise companies that do not comply with climate regulations and ensure that smallholder farmers and workers are financially supported with the cost of complying with due diligence measures. Smallholder farmers and workers cannot be left alone to shoulder the costs of a climate change they did not cause.

At Fairtrade, we are proud to take the lead in calling for a more equitable and sustainable trade system that delivers fairness and climate action to our planet’s farmers and their communities. And, together with our partners, we remain firm in our resolve as we call upon global leaders to do what is right at COP27 and beyond. The time for action is now. We are doing our part to ensure a sustainable and inclusive future for all. Now, it’s up to you to do yours.

Thank you,

Sandra Uwera

Global CEO

Fairtrade International

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