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Fairtrade and the Environment – is it possible to support both?

In Daily Life by Jeanette

Writer: Marie Allen, member of Fairtrade Horsham Executive Committee, and owner of local business Web Clarity

Fairtrade Fortnight February 29th – March 13th

As we enter Fairtrade Fortnight this year the recent, hugely successful, Paris Summit on Climate Change, is fresh in the minds of many. And for those of us who believe in Fairtrade the question is:

 “Can Fairtrade be compatible with protecting our environment?” 

Doesn’t buying Fairtrade products from developing countries mean lots of unnecessary airmiles? The answer is far from straightforward, but yes, they can be compatible. A very helpful way to look at it is to use the LOAF principle when doing your shopping! LOAF was developed by Christian Ecology Link and it means that you should make your food buying decisions with these four things in mind:

L – Locally-produced

O – Organic

A – Animal-friendly

F – Fairly traded

Essentially the message is:

Buy Fairtrade when the item is not available from local producers.  Products like tea, coffee and bananas cannot be produced in the UK, so buy Fairtrade. But when you can buy foods produced locally you should do so.

It is worth noting also that Fairtrade certification requires that certain environmental standards are met. The Fair Trade Labelling Organisation (FLO) sets basic minimum standards for small producer groups, whatever they are growing. In general, these take the form of an expectation that producers “protect the natural environment and . . . make environment protection a part of farm management”

“Our farmers are becoming better educated about the use of agrochemicals and environmental protection. With Fairtrade, you can’t just think about selling your products without considering how you produce them and who benefits. Fairtrade helps you look at agricultural work as an integral whole, comprising human, environmental and economic aspects.”   Bernardo Jaen, CEO of Asoproagroin (pineapple growers cooperative)

Fairtrade and concern for the environment go hand in hand. They are part of a spectrum of holistic human development which puts human beings and their long-term future at the centre of everything.

So this Fairtrade Fortnight, buy Fairtrade and buy local!

That way you are helping poor farmers in the developing world and protecting our environment for future generations.

Marie Allen

Marie Allen

Marie helps startup and small businesses get maximum benefit from their website and online presence

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