SDG1: No poverty

This overarching goal sets the target of ending poverty in all its forms everywhere by 2030. It’s an ambitious target – is it achievable and what role can Fairtrade play?

SDG1 off Centre 870
SDG icon courtesy of the United Nations

Poverty is one of the greatest challenges in the world today. Despite some progress, 780 million people (ten percent of the world’s population) still have to live under the poverty line of $1.90 a day. While these figures have improved over the last two decades, there is clearly still much work to do.

Poverty doesn’t just mean a lack of money. It means living with hunger; having limited access to education, health care and other services; facing discrimination; not being able to provide for one’s children; and much more.

Around 80 percent of the world’s poor live in rural areas and rely largely on farming and other agricultural work to make a living. Many of the farmers and workers who produce our favourite products like coffee, cocoa, and bananas live below or close to the poverty line and are vulnerable to price fluctuations, climate change and dishonest buyers. Extreme social inequality and lack of access to resources (such as education, land or credit) mean they are often stuck in a vicious cycle of debt and poverty, and forced into exploitative employment, or into sending their children to work.

How Fairtrade contributes to SDG1: no poverty

SDG1 sets out to eradicate extreme poverty (those living under $1.25 a day) everywhere, and halve the number of people living under the poverty line by 2030. It also promotes equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to basic services, control over land and access to finance, amongst others.

Fairtrade contributes to achieving this through:

  • The Fairtrade Minimum Price, which acts as a safety net for farmers and workers and protects them from fluctuations in the market price.

  • The Fairtrade Premium, which is an extra sum of money, which farmers and workers decide democratically how to spend. The Premium allows them to invest in their communities by improving the productivity of their farms, building schools, roads and clinics or converting to organic farming.

  • The Fairtrade Standards, which set out social, economic and environmental practices that better protect people and the planet. This includes ensuring no discrimination and equal distribution of the benefits of Fairtrade among members, amongst others.

  • Work towards achieving decent incomes for farmers and workers, through our Fairtrade programmes, partnerships and advocacy.

With the vast majority of the world’s poor living in rural areas, any efforts to end poverty must tackle terms of trade for small-scale farmers and workers. By choosing Fairtrade products, you are enabling farmers and workers in developing countries to have more stability, better prices for their crops and more control over their lives.

Fairtrade: creating change at the national and international level

In the Dominican Republic, Fairtrade contributed to ensuring Haitian migrant workers in banana plantations are legally recognised and can benefit directly from Fairtrade Premiums – workers can now vote to receive up to 20% of the premium as a direct individual payment (or 50% in cases of migrant labour).

According to Oxfam, “Of the certification bodies, Fairtrade has done most to make its commitment to living wage explicit”, through strengthening the hired labour standards, including a freedom of association policy and requiring that wages be negotiated with workers and rise more than inflation.

Fairtrade aspires to achieve a living wage for Fairtrade banana workers and to generate a global commitment from traders and retailers to pay living wages and meet the cost of sustainable production for small-scale farmers in coffee, cocoa and bananas.

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