Climate and environment

Nature is in crisis. Climate change and biodiversity losses are a daily experience for millions of farming families and communities worldwide. A sustainable environment should be the norm. However, the severity, frequency, and intensity of meteorological events have been rising and affecting livelihoods worldwide.


Higher temperatures, drought, floods, cyclones and hurricanes, crop diseases, soil depletion, and forest degradation are current reminders of how our livelihoods and food security are threatened. A sustainable environment is crucial for the more than 500 million small-scale farming families who depend on agriculture activities for their livelihoods. Consumers, retailers, and traders rely on farmers to produce the food, fibres, and fuels we need to satisfy the basic needs of a growing global population.

Climate change and environmental degradation aren't fair. Often, those with more exposure to environmental risks are hit the hardest. Nobody knows this better than Fairtrade farmers and producers, some of whom struggle to keep productivity levels high while experiencing unfair markets and weak landscape governance.

How Fairtrade addresses climate change and the environment

Fairtrade aims to promote sustainable food production and environmental protection through a unique, two-pronged approach.

By adhering to the Fairtrade standards and to be certified as a Fairtrade producer, farmers must improve soil and water quality, manage pests, avoid using harmful chemicals, manage waste, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and protect biodiversity. This allows farmers to improve their land and develop nutrient-rich soils which support healthy plants and encourage wildlife to help control pests and diseases.

Building farmers' skills and knowledge through technical support is also crucial. Being part of Fairtrade means having access to training and information and being better aware of environmental issues and the impact these have on their lives and crops.

On the production side, Fairtrade supports and incentivises agroecology principles to transition toward more resilient farming practices and implement climate change adaptation plans.

On the commercial side, Fairtrade is actively involved and advocates for better climate justice in trade by reviewing legislation that aims to tackle the negative impact of trade practices on the environment. This also includes working with traders and retailers to be accountable for their climate commitments and environmental due diligence.

Additionally, Fairtrade offers the possibility to generate Fairtrade Carbon Credits through the Fairtrade Climate Standard– in partnership with the Gold Standard – to enaxtle farmers and workers worldwide to access carbon finance to help tackle climate change's effects. Farmers get a double benefit from Fairtrade Carbon Credits because they get a minimum price to cover the costs of setting up and running a project. In addition, they can use the Fairtrade Premium on every credit sold to invest in climate adaptation.

The clock is ticking. There must be climate justice and trade justice!

Climate change and the nature crisis are closely linked. The 2022 World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) 's The State of Global Climate report further highlighted that 2015-2020 were the six warmest years, with 2020 being one of the three warmest years recorded. That same year, the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, called the growing temperatures "a code red for humanity."

Climate change is one of the most significant challenges we face. Fairtrade helps farmers adapt, mitigate and become more resilient and supports businesses and consumers to be part of a more sustainable supply chain.

Agroecology transitions

Fairtrade's Policy Position for sustainable agriculture is the result of an extensive consultative process, including inputs provided by 25 key informants from the Fairtrade system, 230 Fairtrade certified producer organizations, and 13 external peer reviewers/experts in the field of human rights, economy, gender, agronomy, forestry, and public health. It concludes with the consensus that Fairtrade must transition toward embracing agroecology to operationalize the 25 policy positions. Learn more here.

Sustainable agriculture policy

Additional resources

Key external resources

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Fair Climate Fund
– A social venture founded by ICCO in 2009 to invest in climate projects in developing countries that produce carbon offsets after passing through globally recognized standards.

The Gold Standard Foundation
– The Gold Standard is an award winning a standard and certification body working to maximise the impact of climate and development initiatives. The organization is Fairtrade International's partner in developing the Fairtrade Climate Standard.

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