4 Nov 2022

Fairtrade producers plant more than 300,000 trees, highlighting urgent need for climate action

Youth meeting El Salvador Tree Challenge
Tree Challenge_El Salvador

Fairtrade producers across Latin America and the Caribbean have planted more than 300,000 trees in a six-month tree-planting drive, with more than 100 Fairtrade organizations across 20 countries getting involved.

The “Plant for the Future” Tree Challenge was launched in May by Fairtrade’s producer network for Latin America and the Caribbean, CLAC. The aim is to plant as many native trees as possible in the run up to the UN Climate Change Conference (COP27), being held in Egypt this November.

“Trees are the symbol of life, the symbol of a healthier environment and ecosystem,” said Marike de Peña, President of the CLAC board. “This campaign motivates our producers, our young people, our communities, and helps to position Fairtrade not only as a movement that seeks greater social justice, but also a movement committed to the environment, care for the planet and a fairer future for everyone.”

ASOSEYNEKUN, a Fairtrade certified organization of indigenous people in Colombia, is one of the organizations which took part, planting 2,500 trees.

“We planted trees of native species in the area, such as oaks,” said Ramón Alberto Hernández, a member of ASOSEYNEKUN. “Trees were here before us. If human beings are the head, the tree is the sole of the foot: the part of the body which supports everything else. That's how important trees are.”

Small-scale farmers in low-income countries are amongst the hardest hit by climate change, although they have contributed the least to its impacts. Fairtrade small-scale producer organizations have been working on environmental protection efforts for many years – reforesting areas, using organic fertilizers, promoting the use of clean energy sources and raising awareness about climate change. Some Fairtrade producers used part of their Fairtrade Premium to plant the trees, but most used their own resources and existing tree nurseries.

“In the last three years, we have planted more than 154,000 trees at PRODECOOP. We consciously decided to joined the Tree Challenge, aware that taking care of the environment is a very important issue for our health and for our community,” said Merling Preza, member of Fairtrade´s board of directors and general manager of PRODECOOP in Nicaragua, which planted 10,000 trees as part of the campaign.

Following the launch in Latin America, people and organizations across the Fairtrade movement have also joined the tree planting challenge.

In Ghana, a joint project with Grow Ahead and Kuapa Kokoo cocoa cooperative has raised funding to plant 150,000 timber tree species and 30,000 fruits trees. The reforestation project will help create microclimates, reducing the impact of climate change on cocoa farmers.

In Asia, the Network of Asia and Pacific Producers (NAPP) has launched a project to plant one million trees across the region. As part of this, NAPP is sponsoring an afforestation project in North India, providing funding to 20 producer organizations to plant fruit trees and other native species.

And at the annual Fairtrade General Assembly in Kenya this June, Fairtrade CEOs and board members each symbolically planted a tree.

Fairtrade farmers are doing what they can to address the effects of climate change, but action cannot stop here. As COP27 approaches, Fairtrade calls on world leaders and all supply chain actors to increase their support for producer countries in managing environmental risks and increasing climate resilience. There can be no climate justice without trade justice.