Climate goals at risk from trade race to the bottom says International Fair Trade Movement

29 November 2018

The International Fair Trade Movement has issued an unprecedented call to tackle climate change by demanding companies pay farmers more for the food we eat.

With just days to go before the start of the UN climate change conference in Katowice, Poland, groups representing more than 2.5 million fair trade farmers, workers, and consumers are calling for companies to ensure living wages and incomes throughout their supply chains in order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

“The world’s climate goals cannot be met if the incomes of farmers and workers on the front line of global warming are further squeezed,” said Liz May, Director of Policy and Advocacy for Traidcraft Exchange, one of the members of the International Fair Trade Movement and a signatory to its political declaration.

500 million small-scale farms produce 80 percent of the food consumed in developing countries. But they are disproportionately threatened by poverty and hunger, and are amongst those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

Climate-induced pests and plant diseases have forced some small-scale farmers to adopt short-term measures, such as the intensive use of chemicals. These have long-term impacts on their production costs, human health and environmental sustainability.

“Unless companies treat their suppliers fairly and pay sustainable prices, farmers and workers will be forced to resort to methods that threaten their own health and that of our planet,” added Liz May.

International development plans agreed in 2015 are intended to end poverty, fight inequality and stop climate change.

The UN sustainable development goals (SDGs) include targets for progress towards ‘decent work and economic growth’ (SDG8) and ‘responsible consumption and production’ (SDG12) that require governments and businesses to act.

“As well as companies stepping up to these challenges we need to see governments take responsibility and act to regulate global supply chains,” concluded Liz May.


For more information or to interview Liz May contact Tom Sharman: or 07757 753 318

Notes for editors:

  • Traidcraft Exchange is an international development charity which uses the power of trade to bring about lasting solutions to poverty. It runs development programmes in South Asia and Africa, works directly with businesses to improve their supply chains, and does advocacy and campaigning in the UK to promote justice and fairness in international trade. It works closely with specialist fair trade company Traidcraft plc. Traidcraft Exchange is a registered charity, no. 1048752:

  • Traidcraft Exchange is a member of the International Fair Trade Movement and a signatory of its political declaration. The political declaration is here:

  • The next UN climate change conference will be held in Katowice, Poland from 2-14 December 2018:

  • The UN sustainable development goals can be found here:

Tom Sharman