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Divine Chocolate has released 5 new and delicious Fairtrade bars! Indulge in either Dark Chocolate with Whole Almonds, Milk Chocolate with Whole Almonds, Dark Chocolate with Mango and Coconut, Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Truffle or Milk Chocolate with Toffee and Sea Salt. To purchase the bars, visit your local Fair Trade retailer or visit their online shop!

Divine Chocolate has released 5 new and delicious Fairtrade bars! Indulge in either Dark Chocolate with Whole Almonds, Milk Chocolate with Whole Almonds, Dark Chocolate with Mango and Coconut, Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Truffle or Milk Chocolate with Toffee and Sea Salt. To purchase the bars, visit your local Fair Trade retailer or visit their online shop!

We are pleased to share this awesome documentary on fair trade coffee from Kivu. A team of journalists visited three coffee cooperatives in this region on the border between the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda, which is chiefly known for its endemic violence. The documentary shows how fair coffee can impact the living conditions of the local population, even when the circumstances are tough.

"You cannot attach a monetary value to what we learn in Fairtrade on transparency and the environment." - John Kanjagaile, Export Manager at KCU, a Fairtrade cooperative of 60,000 farmers in Tanzania. Read more about his story here.

"You cannot attach a monetary value to what we learn in Fairtrade on transparency and the environment." - John Kanjagaile, Export Manager at KCU, a Fairtrade cooperative of 60,000 farmers in Tanzania. Read more about his story here.

Climate Change: Committing to helping producers adapt

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Today, top scientists from the IPCC warned climate change is having, and will have, a devastating impact on our planet. They predict that drought and floods will lead to life-threatening food shortages.

Unpredictable weather means that food prices will shoot up, while food quality, and access to it, will go down. Tim AldredHead of Policy at the Fairtrade Foundation, explains what Fairtrade is doing to help smallholder farmers, who feed  70% of the world’s people, mitigate and adapt to climate change.


It has long been past the point where we can pretend climate change is something that will not impact us in our own lifetimes. Today’s report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) outlines in even greater detail the catastrophic effects greenhouse gases are having on our planet, and the impact this in turn is having on agriculture – specifically food production, human health and ecosystems, now – not within centuries.  

The picture is not positive for the millions of smallholder farmers who produce the food for 70 per cent of the world’s people. Several studies have predicted that by 2050, the productivity of coffee, cocoa, tea or cotton will be severely affected and production in some areas might even disappear. Many farmers will need to adapt their practices, or risk losing their livelihoods.

Earlier studies from the IPCC predicted that crop yields from rain-fed agriculture will likely fall due to global warming – by up to 50 per cent by 2020 in some African countries and by up to 30 per cent by 2050 in Central and South Asia.

Coffee farmers are already experiencing the spread of pests and disease. Higher temperatures, erratic rains or periods of drought are disrupting production. For the KDCU cooperative in Tanzania, which has produced Fairtrade coffee since 1995, changing weather patterns are disrupting coffee growing. Its 17,838 members have been left with a vastly reduced output of coffee beans as a result, with a crippling drought from 2011 wiping out some members’ coffee crop. Fairtrade coffee producers in Latin America are currently being severely affected by the spread of the leaf rust disease, which is affecting over 50 per cent of the total coffee growing area in Central America. Climate change has been identified as a key factor in the outbreak.

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Flood damage in Costa Rica caused landslides through coffee fields in 2009


Tea production in East Africa is likely to become less viable at lower altitudes within the next few decades as rainfall increases and becomes less predictable, while a reduction in quality is also likely.

Cocoa production is threatened by the increased susceptibility of trees to drought – in West Africa, where large volumes of cocoa are produced for the chocolate we love here in the UK, variability in seasonal rainfall is already affecting cocoa yields, and farmers’ livelihoods.

The reality is that all agricultural output will be affected by changing temperatures and erratic rainfall. What is Fairtrade doing to support the farmers and workers in the Fairtrade system? Fairtrade is working to help smallholder farmers adapt, by enabling technical and financial support to help confront the challenges ahead. We want to enable vulnerable producers to adapt to climate change and support them to mitigate the impacts, as part of promoting good sustainable development practices.

Fairtrade standards include strong environmental standards to promote both sustainable development and good agricultural practice. These include measures like banning the use of listed pesticides and ensuring farmers are trained properly in the correct disposal of harmful waste that could impact both the producer’s health and the environment. Producers are required to protect existing natural resources and are encouraged to reduce their energy consumption. Soil conservation, using animal and green manure, agro-forestry and water harvesting are all part of sustainable farming methods being used by Fairtrade farmers.

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Banana farmers have also been affected by erratic weather conditions, like the hurricane that hit Saint Lucia in 2011


But, we are also helping our producers go beyond the standards.

For many smallholders, the need is for small loans to make investments in their more sustainable production methods and technologies, or to diversify into new varieties or crops. Fairtrade helps by encouraging companies buying from Fairtrade producers to provide pre-financing. Producers can also decide together where the Fairtrade Premium is used, and can choose to invest in technologies to help adapt to climate change or other environmental sustainability measures.  More stable and additional finance like this helps farmers working with Fairtrade invest in adapting to climate change and mitigate against its impacts on their livelihoods.

But the challenge is massive, and much more needs to be done.

In our 2013 report, Powering Up Smallholder Farmers to Make Food Fair, we said that governments, international donors and multilateral institutions needed to greatly increase investment in promoting sustainable agriculture and helping farmers adapt to climate change. This recommendation is just as relevant today. Donors providing climate change funding also need to consult smallholder farmer groups closely so their needs are kept central to plans.

Businesses too need to increase investment in climate adaptation techniques and technologies for the smallholder farmers with which they work, and from whom they source. Apart from being the right thing to do, it is in their self-interest to do so: today’s report makes clear that without such investment their ability to source food products from staple crops such as cereals and fresh fruit, to commodities such as coffee, cocoa and tea in the future is profoundly at risk.

Perhaps such a realization would also encourage the business community to raise their voice more loudly to increase pressure on governments to move quicker and with greater ambition to reduce CO2 emissions.

Fairtrade is ready to play its part in helping producers adapt to climate change. But we can’t do it alone – we need businesses and governments to step up their level of commitment. I hope that the stark warnings from the IPCC help to make that happen.

You can read more about Fairtrade’s approach to climate change here

FREE Cone day at Ben & Jerry’s has arrived! 
To find your nearest shop full of Fairtrade flavors use their Scoop Shop Locator. Upload pictures of your cones and join the conversation by tagging #FreeConeDay #Fairtrade 

FREE Cone day at Ben & Jerry’s has arrived!

To find your nearest shop full of Fairtrade flavors use their Scoop Shop Locator. Upload pictures of your cones and join the conversation by tagging #FreeConeDay #Fairtrade 

Looking for a delicious Fairtrade breakfast recipe to try?

Check out  the Baby French Toast with Creamy Blueberry Stuffing by Chef Gale Gand from Wholesome Sweeteners.It features Wholesome’s Fairtrade Organic Sugar, Dark Brown Sugar, and Sucanant. The quick and simple recipe is a sure way to welcome spring and warmer weather!

"Fairtrade is not a sugar coated pill" - Harriet Lamb, CEO Fairtrade International

"Fairtrade is not a sugar coated pill" - Harriet Lamb, CEO Fairtrade International

Coffee Keeps Young with Fairtrade and Sustainable Harvest

Fatima Ismael of SOPPEXCCA in Nicaragua

This article is the second of two featuring stories about how cooperatives and their partners are working to create greater opportunities for youth in their communities. Read the first article here.

It’s a poorly-kept secret in the coffee industry that the current generation of coffee farmers isn’t getting younger, and the next generation is being drawn away from the coffee farms for opportunities in cities and other industries.

If the coffee sector is going to continue to thrive in the long term, sustainability issues need to be addressed. But this goes beyond implementing new methods of cultivation or adapting to the effects of climate change. Sustainability needs to address the future of the men and women who work on the farms – a fact that Fairtrade International and coffee importerSustainable Harvest are keenly aware of.

“Coffee is complicated,” said Olga Cuellar-Gomez, Strategic Relations Director at Sustainable Harvest. “There are so many challenges and there are not a lot of opportunities to earn a lot of money. I don’t think we - and I say ‘we’ as an industry - are doing a great job of promoting (the fact that) coffee is something you can explore in any profession.”

She says the challenge in keeping the younger generation of coffee farmers involved in the industry is showing the wide-range of jobs that can be associated with coffee. From biologists to baristas, Cuellar-Gomez says there are plenty of opportunities in coffee.

“You can create, you can have different things to do – but I don’t think we are good at communicating that,” she said.

Industry-wide opportunity

One of the key components of selling this message is making all levels of the supply chain aware that coffee needs to be an appealing endeavor if it is going to take hold with the next generation.

“If a young person stays on the farm and they do some experiment; they create a very special coffee, but then the industry doesn’t pay for it - what is that?” said Cuellar-Gomez.

To emphasize the importance of getting youth involved in the coffee sector, Fairtrade and Sustainable Harvest teamed up at the 2012 edition of the importers Let’s Talk Coffee forum to offer a grant from a newly established Youth Development Fund that supports the development of projects spearheaded by youth in Latin American coffee communities.

The winner last year was the Fairtrade-certified SOPPEXCCA cooperative in Nicaragua for their youth-led eco-tourism project.

“Eco-tourism represents an economic alternative for young people,” said Fatima Ismael, the General Manager of the co-op. “[Tourists] can go see how coffee is being processed. We can go visit a farm. We can also see how coffee is being produced, as well as organic fertilizer. In all of these branches of eco-tourism, [the coop’s] young people are involved.”

Keeping the discussion going

The conversation about youth in the coffee industry continued at this year’s “Let’s Talk Coffee” forum, which took place at the beginning of November 2013 in El Salvador. A panel discussion took place with a father and daughter exporter duo from Brazil, a mother and son from a coffee producing family in Colombia, and representatives from two American roasting companies.

The discussion showed that the coffee industry is ready to tackle the issue of generational sustainability, but large corporations and coffee buyers need to be part of the process. Governments in coffee producing countries have a role to play as well, especially when it comes to quality education, technology, innovation, and basic resources such as roads, water, and energy.

“How we can convince young people to stay in rural areas when we are not offering all that a city can offer?” said Cuellar-Gomez in an email after the conference. “This is not only an industry concern but a national and international matter.”

It’s a complex situation which requires many pieces to fit in order to build a sustainable coffee scenario – a goal Fairtrade and Sustainable Harvest support and actively pursue.

Read ‘Innovation in Education: The Fairtrade Learning Curve' for more on how Fairtrade is working to ensure a sustainable coffee industry with a future that includes the next generation.

Ben & Jerry’s has released two brand new Fairtrade flavors just in time for FREE Cone Day on April 8th! To learn more about the new ethically sourced Coffee Toffee Bar Crunch and Vanilla Toffee Bar Crunch flavors watch this awesome video. 

Nominate your favorite traders and companies for the first ever Fairtrade Awards! Take a look at the nomination requirements and share. The award ceremony will take place during the June 2014 General Assembly in Bonn, Germany.

Nominate your favorite traders and companies for the first ever Fairtrade Awards! Take a look at the nomination requirements and share. The award ceremony will take place during the June 2014 General Assembly in Bonn, Germany.

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