As part of Fair Trade Fortnight 2021 , WCIA’s online conversation focused on ‘remembering the people not the products’.
Guest speaker Mike Gidney CEO of Fair Trade UK provided an insightful talk on the intersection between Fair Trade and Climate Justice. He started by wondering what should we do next [to reach sustainability] and where are we going from here.
Mr. Gidney posed that people seem to think of climate change and Fair Trade as not connected, and the big geopolitical decisions need to focus on people’s interconnection. In discussing the effects of #Covid19 throughout the world, it seems that Fair Trade sales outperformed the market, and that they have increased more than general groceries. This means that people are actively choosing to look for Fair Trade, according to Mr. Gidney.
Despite this connectivity, farmers worldwide are battling with the pandemic and they do not have the safety nets we have [in the UK]. That is indicative of the fact that you cannot have Climate Justice without Social Justice. On this note, Mr. Gidney proceeded by suggesting that there is a systemic underpaying, and [consequently] the Fair Trade movement is all about fair wages.
At this point attendees (among which there was Welsh Labour Member of the Senedd for Cardiff Central, Jenny Rathbone) were really intrigued as to how do we go from theory to actions. In other words, how do we build back better? For Mr. Gidney, so many of the policy prescriptions are made by men in suit, but there is an urgent need to address who really know about their land. And that is the smallholders, that are not being considered.
In the Q&A session, Mr. Gidney pointed out that there is currently up to 5,000 Fair Trade products. Coffee, tea, banana, sugar… even gold. He too mentioned education and training as a good means to incentivize resourceful, respectful and effective farming policies whereby we are making the most out of the land, and not toxifying it.
At a personal level, Mr. Gidney admits to be preoccupied by the UK’s cut in international aid, and poses that [this fact] speaks something about the country and our ambitions. He too believes that there are very many across the nations of the UK that want to see us leading the way to international cooperation.
And for that, we have to work from the bottom up. Farmers need to be organized to face the global biases.
After this very interesting input on the intersection between Fair Trade and Climate Justice, Mr. Gidney concluded:
“When consuming, try to make it Fair Trade or local. In the end, it’s all about remembering the people before the products.”
#ChooseTheWorldYouWant #WCIAStandsforFairTradeandClimateJustice #FairTradeWales & #FairTradeUK
Written by Santi, our long term ESC Volunteer