Forests in the mountains of Colombia

Fairtrade launches petition to protect forests and farmers

Monday 25th March, 2024. The Fairtrade Foundation is launching a petition calling on the UK Government to ensure that incoming deforestation legislation does not push extra costs on farmers. The petition also calls for the UK Government to deliver on climate funding commitments.

The move comes ahead of secondary legislation of the Environment Act which will come before Parliament this year and outlines further details on deforestation.

The new regulation will require big companies to prove that they are not importing products from illegally forested land. Although Fairtrade believes that the deforestation legislation will be a crucial step towards tackling environmental damage in our supply chains, the adoption of robust legislation should be producer focused. This means that it must be designed and implemented in a way that ensures smallholder farmers and workers do not carry the costs and burdens of compliance.

Alexander Carnwath, Head of Public Affairs at the Fairtrade Foundation said: “So far, the Government has failed to meet its pledged financial commitment of £11.6 billion to support communities most affected by climate change. And funding of £500m promised at COP26 for tackling deforestation has not yet been delivered.

The UK needs to make good on these promises, ensure small-scale farmers have a real say over how that money is spent, and support farmers to protect forests and build a fairer future.”

Fairtrade has spent the last three decades working alongside businesses, governments, consumers, and farmers to push for fairer prices and better trade deals. But over these 30 years, deforestation and other effects of the climate crisis also began threatening the lives and livelihoods of farmers around the world. For them, the need to make a change is now, or they might lose everything.

Jaime Alberto García Flórez, a Fairtrade coffee and cocoa farmer in Colombia says: “We farmers are the first to feel and the first to fight climate change. If we want to leave something for our children, we need to take measures to mitigate the effects of climate change now.”

Jaime is already taking action by protecting his local environment through forest-friendly farming methods and planting shade trees. He understands there must be “zero-tolerance” for deforestation but explains: “[the] regulation is imposed on us without consultation, and we feel like the responsibility is always on our shoulders.”

Jaime adds: “We farm from the heart, and we love growing. With the love I have for my land, I don’t see myself working anywhere else.”

The petition is part of Fairtrade’s Climate Justice campaign for urgent action on protecting the ability of farmers to continue farming in the future.

About Fairtrade 

Fairtrade changes the way trade works through better prices, decent working conditions, and a fairer deal for farmers and workers in low-income countries. 

Fairtrade International is an independent non-profit organization representing 2 million small-scale farmers and workers worldwide. It owns the FAIRTRADE Mark, a registered trademark of Fairtrade that appears on more than 30,000 products. Beyond certification, Fairtrade International and its member organisations – including the Fairtrade Foundations – support producers, partner with businesses, engage consumers, and advocate for a fair and sustainable future.

Notes to Editors

Link to the petition

UK Government announcement on the deforestation law

UK pledges to protect nature

UK’s £11.6 billion climate finance commitment


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