Fairtrade

Fairtrade Fortnight to focus consumers’ minds on link between cocoa and climate crisis

By Anthony Myers contact

- Last updated on GMT

Fairtrade's giant grass painting of Bismark Kpabitey, a Fairtrade cocoa farmer, launches its fortnight of events to highlight sustainability issues. Pic: Sand In Your Eye
Fairtrade's giant grass painting of Bismark Kpabitey, a Fairtrade cocoa farmer, launches its fortnight of events to highlight sustainability issues. Pic: Sand In Your Eye

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The Annual Fairtrade Fortnight campaign, which kicks off on Monday 21 February, is set to highlight the impact of the climate crisis on cocoa and other commodities – as well as renewing its call for fairer incomes for farmers.

New data published by Opinium Research on behalf of Fairtrade reveals that over 60% of the British public are unaware of the threats that climate change poses to UK supplies of cocoa, coffee and bananas.

In addition, over three quarters (78%) of Brits say it’s important that people overseas who produce tea, coffee, food, flowers, cotton and other staple products imported by the UK are able to adapt to climate change.

It’s clear that the public want to see an end to trade that exploits those who produce the commodities we rely on every day – particularly in the context of climate -- Michael Gidney, CEO, Fairtrade Foundation

Fairtrade said public understanding of the links between decent incomes for farmers and climate resilience is low – but there is a strong public willingness to address inequality caused by exploitative trade and climate change.

New research from VU Amsterdam and Bern University of Applied Sciences also reveals that over the next three decades, adverse climate conditions will trigger a drastic decline in banana yields in 10 countries, including India, Brazil and Colombia. Furthermore, a rise of just 2.1°C could leave 89.5% of land used to cultivate cocoa unsuitable by 2050.

Fairtrade’s  survey also looked at whether increased public awareness around black history and racial equality in the UK over the last 18  months had had an effect on individuals’ understanding of exploitative trade, and their subsequent response.

It found that only 27% of Brits had become more aware of the UK’s colonial past and the exploitation that occurred at the hands of the British Empire, rising to just over a third (35%) of those aged between 18-34.

In light of increased awareness of historical exploitation, just one fifth (21%) have considered how they can avoid supporting exploitation in today’s trade and supply chains by buying certain products and avoiding others.

Choose The World You Want Festival

Fairtrade Fortnight is the organisation’s two-week annual campaign that aims to raise awareness about the positive impact of buying Fairtrade products.

Fairtrade’s Choose The World You Want Festival will run online throughout the two weeks, featuring around 40 virtual events designed to engage and inform people about the harmful impact of the climate crisis on farmers and food supplies. The festival also highlights how decent incomes and support through Fairtrade equips farmers to tackle climate impacts in their communities.

Michael Gidney, CEO of the Fairtrade Foundation, said: “It’s clear that the public want to see an end to trade that exploits those who produce the commodities we rely on every day – particularly in the context of climate. Cocoa brings so much joy to anyone who loves chocolate, but more needs to be done to ensure that farmers growing these products are supported to live and work well, and build their resilience to the devastating impacts of the climate crisis.

"Farmers in low-income countries are already using their expertise to tackle climate change, but they urgently need more resources and decent incomes to do so. Through Fairtrade Fortnight, and the Choose the World You Want Festival, we want to help more consumers to recognise the role they have in helping farmers and workers adapt to climate change. By choosing Fairtrade, they can make a real, tangible difference to the lives of people who grow much of the food we love to eat in the UK​.”

To mark the start of Fairtrade Fortnight, Fairtrade has commissioned a giant grass painting of Bismark Kpabitey, a Fairtrade cocoa farmer who is a member of the Kuapa Kokoo Farmers Union in the Ahafo region of Ghana.

Produced by Sand In Your Eye in West Yorkshire, UK, the image depicts Kpabitey holding a cocoa pod aloft, and is designed to help consumers make the link between their food and the people who produce it.

Kpabitey, who recently attended COP26 on behalf of Fairtrade, stated: “Looking at the situation now, it is very difficult to go into agriculture because the rainfall pattern has changed. There is a long drought – currently we are experiencing a very hot sun, which is affecting our crops and has really reduced production. And once production is reduced, financially you become handicapped. That is the challenge​.”

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