Today Fairtrade joined several NGOs, including CAFOD, Christian Aid and WWF to sign an open letter to Secretary of State for International Trade Liz Truss calling for trade deals to be aligned to environmental goals and to go further in reducing carbon emissions.
Dear Secretary of State,
The Conservative manifesto included a welcome promise to ensure trade negotiations do not compromise the UK’s domestic environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards. Now is the time to make that promise a reality – but also to go further. It is time to cut the UK’s wider environmental footprint, and to put our international commitments to protect our environment, tackle the climate emergency and promote sustainable development at the heart of trade policy.
The UK has a unique opportunity to lead the world in making trade work for people and the planet. At the same time as negotiating new trade deals for the first time in nearly fifty years, the UK will host the next international climate conference, COP26, as well as the 2021 G7 summit. Aligning these agendas in 2020 will demonstrate how we intend to contribute to a green global recovery that accelerates delivery against the Sustainable Development Goals.
We know that UK trade deals will impact on nature and the climate. They could severely limit our ability to meet climate commitments under the Paris Agreement, to support a fair transition to a resilient economy, to maintain and improve environmental, animal welfare and food standards, and to ensure the global protection of forests.
We can do things better. The UK can ensure a positive impact by legislating to fully align trade policy with our climate, environment and sustainable development commitments. The current Trade Bill – or a new future-focused Trade Bill – provides the ideal vehicle to set out the UK’s overarching trade policy and guide the prioritisation of negotiations and the content of trade deals.
Currently, neither civil society nor our elected representatives have adequate means to hold the Government to account for the trade deals it strikes. We must ensure the UK has a scrutiny process for trade that is at least as good as the US and EU. The government should, as a matter of urgency, introduce provisions to ensure that MPs have a say on negotiating mandates, maximum access to negotiating texts and a binding vote once a deal has been agreed.
Time is running out: the Trade Bill provides a key opportunity to lay the foundations for gold-standard deals that support our climate, environment and sustainable development ambitions. We urge you to be bold in crafting a truly 21st-century, world-leading trade policy that responds to the challenges faced by our natural world.
Stephanie Draper, Chief Executive, Bond
Dr Michael Warhurst, Executive Director, CHEM Trust
Amanda Mukwashi, CEO, Christian Aid
Christine Allen, Director, CAFOD
James Thornton, CEO, ClientEarth
Philip Lymbery, Global Chief Executive, Compassion in World Farming
Crispin Truman, CEO, CPRE The countryside charity
Nick Mabey, Chief Executive Officer, E3G
Dr. Louisa Cox, Director of Impact, Fairtrade Foundation
Miriam Turner and Hugh Knowles, Co-CEO, Friends of the Earth
Shaun Spiers, Executive Director, Green Alliance
John Sauven, Executive Director, Greenpeace UK
Jyoti Fernandes, Chair, Landworkers Alliance
Sandy Luk, Chief Executive Officer, Marine Conservation Society
Dr Keith Tyrell, Director, Pesticide Action Network UK
Christopher Price, Chief Executive Officer, Rare Breeds Survival Trust
Beccy Speight, CEO, RSPB
Kath Dalmeny, Chief Executive, Sustain Food and Farming Alliance
Nigel Harris, Chief Executive, Tearfund
Charlotte Timson, Chief Executive, Traidcraft Exchange
James Robinson, Director of Conservation, Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust
Craig Bennett, CEO, The Wildlife Trusts
Lynne Stubbings, Chair, The Women’s Institute
Darren Moorcroft, CEO, Woodland Trust
Tanya Steele, CEO, WWF UK