Fairtrade Foundation welcomes government’s revamped climate goals

The Fairtrade Foundation has welcomed UK government policy to cut carbon emissions by 78% by 2035, delivering a first in including global aviation and shipping within its targets, reports Neill Barston.

The newly adopted goals are set to become British law, and bring forward initial timelines on climate impact by around 15 years on previously outlined policies.

As Fairtrade noted – including transport of goods – which includes a wide range of food products including cocoa supplies that are largely shipped from key producing nations in Ivory Coast and Ghana, will now be taken into consideration as part of broader commercial supply chains.

Dr Louisa Cox, Director of Impact at the Fairtrade Foundation, said: “We strongly welcome today’s news that the Government is set to extend the UK’s climate law to cover international aviation and shipping, which must be a first step towards the UK taking responsibility for the emissions coming from the produce we import.

“This is something Fairtrade Foundation has been calling for: farmers on the forefront of the climate crisis have long been appealing for those who bear the most responsibility for carbon emissions to take the crisis more seriously. We are pleased these calls have been heard.

“Currently, our overseas emissions account for nearly half of those that the UK is responsible for, and the proportion is expected to grow to up to 80 percent by 2050. Tackling these emissions means promoting low-carbon investment along the whole supply chain – including not only greener freight options, but also more sustainable farming methods.”

Significantly, she added that farmers and workers overseas who grow a wide range of produce consumed in the UK wanted climate change tackled, due to the harmful effects it is having on their ability to farm within key territories.

As Fox noted, many such workers are struggling to make ends meet, with many living below UN defined poverty levels, and required further financial support to transform their operations to more sustainable farming methods.

She added: “This announcement from the Government sets a strong signal that our imported emissions need to come down.

“We must see the Government and UK businesses work together, as matter of urgency, to green our supply chains – including by paying fair prices, ensuring fair trading practices and funding programmes to resource the investment farmers in low-income countries need for adaptation, diversification and resilience in the face of the climate crisis.”

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