Fairtrade says EU referendum result will have profound consequences for farmers


The Fairtrade Foundation responds to the UK referendum vote to leave the European Union.

In response to the UK referendum result on the European Union, Michael Gidney, Chief Executive, the Fairtrade Foundation, said:

“The decision to leave the European Union will have profound consequences for poor farmers and workers around the world, including those growing Fairtrade products. Many farmers and workers growing products for the UK's supermarket shelves go hungry during the year, suffer human rights abuses and live below the poverty line and with the consequences of climate change.

All the trade agreements currently in place via the EU will need to be renegotiated. The "Leave" campaign argued that the UK would be in a better position outside the EU to negotiate new trade deals which benefit poor countries, and the government now bears a heavy responsibility to make sure that the UK's new trade deals are truly fair.

Other UK policies (for example, the ability to specify ethical criteria in public procurement) could also change. The interests of poor farmers and workers must be properly considered in any policy reviews to avoid harm to livelihoods.

The government must fully uphold its international development commitments in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and ensure that the impact of the decision to leave does not fall on those least able to bear it.

Fairtrade will be working to ensure that the farmers and workers around the world who grow our food are not forgotten. We will continue to fight for Trade Justice.”