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Is buying Fairtrade products a good idea given concerns on climate emergency?

Smallholder producers in conventional world trade suffer from volatility of prices and unfair trading practices. On top of this, they are increasingly on the front line of climate disaster, and the marginalised are often hit hardest by problems they did not cause. They contribute to global food security and to their national economies, yet increasingly farmers are now suffering through increasing crop failures, water shortages and natural disasters and this in turn is jeopardising the future of agricultural and artisanal supply chains. The Fairtrade movement promotes a fairer model of trade, which encourages sustainable production and consumption. A recent study on coffee and climate disaster by Le BASIC has shown that fair trading practices improve producers’ livelihoods by ensuring they receive a higher share of value created in the supply chain, helping to significantly mitigate environmental and societal costs borne by producer communities in the Global South. Trade justice is therefore a vital step towards achieving climate justice; prioritising the needs of small-scale farmers and taking into account their increased vulnerabilities. However, Fairtrade alone cannot meet the scale of the challenges posed by climate emergencies and the inequality in value chains; the current global economic system urgently needs to be transformed.

Can buying Fairtrade products help to tackle climate disaster?

Fairtrade mainly certifies small-scale farmers who sign up to rigorous standards, which include environmental criteria such as, protecting the natural environment, banning the use of harmful pesticides, minimising the use of energy, especially from non-renewable sources, and making environmental protection part of farm management. Fairtrade also organises training for farmers so they can learn how to grow in harmony with the local environment and avoid creating monocultures. Many producers also invest their Fairtrade Premium – the extra money they get for selling on Fairtrade terms – in various projects aimed at restoring natural areas or reforestation. Fairtrade is a choice for nature, and a way of farming that safeguards both humans and the environment. By choosing Fairtrade, shoppers in the UK are ensuring that farmers and workers receive a Fairtrade Premium to invest in economic, social and environmental products of their own choice. It means they can implement a range of environmental protection programmes which contribute to the range of solutions needed to mitigate against the effects of climate catastrophes and ultimately benefit us all.  To give two examples, tea workers in India have invested some of their Fairtrade Premium into replacing the traditional wood-burning heating with a solar-panelled system. Coffee farmers in Costa Rica have used the Premium to replant trees to prevent soil erosion and have invested in environmentally friendly ovens, fuelled by recycled coffee hulls and the dried shells of macadamia nuts. This means that they no longer need to cut forest trees and so can preserve the rainforest and the oxygen they produce. By choosing Fairtrade products, you can help farmers and workers preserve their own environment and allow them to have a positive social benefit in their community. Climate disasters hit marginalised farmers in developing countries hardest. This includes people whose livelihoods depend on agriculture. Through the Fairtrade Premium farmers and workers have a little extra to use when harvests fail, or if they need to change to growing a different crop if the climate becomes unsuitable for the way they currently farm. The International Fair Trade Movement called on the Parties of the UNFCCC at COP24 to recognise fair trading policies and practices as an important component of climate mitigation and adaptation strategies. Read their joint Policy Paper, 'Trade Justice: A key component of building smallholder farmers’ climate resilience', which outlines five concrete steps needed to urgently transform the global economic system so that it works for people and planet: transparency & binding regulation; financial support; farmer-focused trainings and technical expertise; investment into agronomical research; and tax justice.

How we use your personal information

We may use your personal information in the following ways: - To provide support in relation to our services, products or other information requested by you, or in relation to correspondence entered into with us. For example, we use your personal information to look into, and respond to, enquiries, complaints, legal claims or other issues.  - To process shop orders (as well as send them), donations (including claiming Gift Aid), as well as to verify any transactions entered into with us. - To administer events, online orders, donations, fundraising or any other support required or where required or authorised by law to do so. - We use your information to keep a record of your relationship with us and for administrative purposes (such as our accounting and record-keeping). We also use your personal information to advise you on updates and changes to our services or policies. - If you enter personal information into a form on our website (such as a campaign action, donation or purchase) and start but don’t complete it, we may send you an email to check and see if there is any help we can give or any problems you encountered. - To update you on our work at Fairtrade, and the difference your support is making to farmers and workers around the world. - To ensure we know how you prefer to be contacted. - For marketing, campaigning or fundraising (e.g. raising awareness, inviting you to events, sharing posts, signing campaign actions, helping us raise money, donating to us) by mail, email, phone or social media to send you information about our latest news, campaigns and occasional fundraising activities.  For example, we may make petition submissions to third parties, where you have signed the petition that the third party is the target of (e.g. The Prime Minister), or we may send you fundraising appeals or ways to help us raise money. - We also use personal information to administer employment, volunteering and internship applications. Legal basis for processing personal information - When sending marketing information via email to you as an individual, we will only do so with your consent. This may include information about our campaigns, our work and occasional fundraising activities.  - When sending information and appeals by post, we rely on ‘legitimate interest’ legal basis, sending information we consider may be relevant and of interest to you based on your previous interest in the Fairtrade Foundation’s overall work to change unfair trade. We will make it easy for you to opt-out of postal communications and fundraising activities at any time if you wish. - We also rely on ‘legitimate interest’ legal basis if we gather publicly available information about supporters when planning specific appeals, or when analysing or profiling supporters to help us be more efficient in our fundraising (see the Analysis, research and building supporter profiles section below.) - You can change how we communicate with you by email or unsubscribe by completing our online form. - If you would prefer we do not use your personal information in this way, or want to change the way you hear from us, please email us at data.protection@fairtrade.org.uk or call our Supporter Services Team on +44 (0)20 7440 7676 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. Analysis, research and building supporter profiles - To help us understand how we can improve our services and create a tailored experience for you, we may create a profile or use profiling techniques, using personal information we collect in conjunction with publicly available information (see the 'Where we collect personal information' section of this notice) to better understand our audiences. - When building a profile we may conduct research and/or analyse demographic, geographic and other information you’ve provided about your interests and preferences. We may also use this information to help us determine other things you might be interested in getting involved in, or what capacity you might have to donate or fundraise for us, particularly if you have made a substantial donation or are highly engaged with the Foundation. Currently we do very little research and analysis at this level, but we may do more in future. If you do not want us to analyse your information or combine it with publicly available information in order to profile you, please email us at mail@fairtrade.org.uk or call our Supporter Services Team on +44 (0)20 7440 7676 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. - We may occasionally invite you to participate in surveys or research about Fairtrade. We will explain how we will use the answers and data you provide when we ask you to participate. Below is an explanation of how we use your personal information if you are associated with Fairtrade as a community, place of worship, school, university group or business. Communities, Schools, Places of Worship, Universities and Colleges If you are the key contact for a Community, Place of Worship, Fairtrade School, University or College group, we will send you information about your type of group and the award scheme that you are involved with unless you specifically ask us not to, or notify us of a new key contact. We will provide information about the award process, progress of your application and send reminders about when your award is due to be renewed. We will also send you communications that we think may be of interest to award holders, such as information about new resources and newsletters. A key contact at a school should always be a member of staff rather than a student. If you are a key contact for a Fairtrade Community group (Town, City, Village), and have given us explicit consent, we may share your contact information with other individuals or organisations in your area that wish to support Fairtrade or your group’s activities. For example, other supporters or organisations in your area who wish to support Fairtrade campaigning or journalists wishing to promote your group’s activities. You are not obliged to grant this permission, and it can be revoked at any time. Fairtrade Places of Worship If you are the key contact for a Fairtrade Place of Worship, and have given us explicit consent, we may share your name and email address with the regional or national authority your place of worship is affiliated to e.g. your diocese, circuit, or national authority or membership body for the relevant place of worship. This would only occur in order to co-ordinate activity to promote Fairtrade in those networks and provide greater support to you and your place of worship in campaigning for fairer trade. Businesses We may process your personal information for our legitimate business interests, which pertains to any activity which is mutually beneficial for ourselves as a service provider and you as an end user. For example, we have an interest in making sure our marketing is relevant for you, so we may process your information to send you marketing that is tailored to your interests. You have the right to object to your data being processed if you wish – if so, please email us at data.protection@fairtrade.org.uk. To find a more detailed explanation of ‘legitimate business interests’ read the Guidance on the use of Legitimate Interests under the EU General Data Protection Regulation.

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