The Fair Trade movement has always recognised the importance of the environmental impact of humans’ activities. This is stressed in one of the 10 Fair Trade Principles by which WFTO makes sure that its member organisations are following environmental standards in their day to day work.

According to Principle Ten:

Organizations which produce Fair Trade products maximize the use of raw materials from sustainably managed sources in their ranges, buying locally when possible. They use production technologies that seek to reduce energy consumption and where possible use renewable energy technologies that minimize greenhouse gas emissions. They seek to minimize the impact of their waste stream on the environment. Fair Trade agricultural commodity producers minimize their environmental impacts, by using organic or low pesticide use production methods wherever possible.

Buyers and importers of Fair Trade products give priority to buying products made from raw materials that originate from sustainably managed sources, and have the least overall impact on the environment.

All organizations use recycled or easily biodegradable materials for packing to the extent possible, and goods are dispatched by sea wherever possible”.

Environmental issues and the consequences of climate change are, undoubtedly, one of the biggest challenges of our era.

Photo credit: peoplesclimate.org
Peoples Climate March in NYC – Photo credit: Robert van Waarden

The last 19th of August was Earth Overshoot Day, the day when humanity exhausted all the natural resources available for the year, in other words, humanity’s annual demand on the natural world has exceeded what the Earth can renew in a year since the 1970s (WWF).

In the last weeks, climate change has been in the spotlight. People’s Climate March and the UN Climate Summit 2014 caught citizens’ and politicians’ attention on the issue and raised the urgency for a call to action. It was the first time the world has seen such a large mobilisation for this important issue. Climate change is a global problem and regional measures are therefore not enough, what is needed are global solutions and fast actions before irreversible consequence can lead to catastrophic outcomes.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, developing countries are and will remain the most affected by the consequences that Climate Change has on our planet, experiencing, among others, severe droughts in drier areas, and stronger cyclones and unpredictable rains in tropical regions (The Guardian).

The last 10th of September during the seminar “Climate change & the post 2015 development framework: Developing country perspectives” organised by ODI and CDKN different actors participated in the debate. According to Andrew Scott, ODI’s Research Fellow in Climate and Environment, climate change is not only an environmental issue. Climate change and development are intrinsically linked. The actions that we take to address climate change are intimately connected with development processes, and the actions we take to achieve development objectives have impact on the actions we take to reach climate change goals. So far, most of the debate about climate change in the SDGs framework has taken place in Europe and North America. We need an opportunity for the debate to take place in developing countries and to get the perspective of developing countries into the debate.

 “It’s a fundamental injustice that the world’s poorest people are paying for a climate crisis that they didn’t cause” – ODI Executive Director Kevin Watkins on CNBC Africa: http://www.cnbcafrica.com/video/?bctid=3800438928001

Photo credit: Martin Michiels
Peoples Climate March in Brussels – Photo credit: Martin Michiels

Politics is not responding in the way we want and unfortunately people who maintain the power have impact on people who don’t have any. Politicians instead are still obsessed with economic growth, which seems not to be the right solution to the problem. This is why individuals taking responsibility is the first step towards a more sustainable world. Each citizen of the world can really make a difference, not only changing his/her daily habits into more environmentally friendly ones, but also campaigning, participating, and raising the voice to make themselves heard. Don’t wait tomorrow, start being active NOW!

“Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world, is either a madman or an economist.”  (Kenneth Boulding, Economics professor)

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