Climate Change Adaptation & Mitigation

Smallholder farmers and rural communities have contributed the least to climate change but are often affected the most.

Meet Zeddy Rotich, a Kenyan coffee farmer and one of Fairtrade’s Climate Heroes!

The Problem

Climate change is one of the biggest threats for Fairtrade certified producer organizations and their local environments. Producers experience decreasing yields due to soil erosion, pests, diseases and changing weather patterns. It leads to food insecurity and income losses. For farmers, it is not a controversial political issue or computer model – it’s every day life.

For example, 50% of the coffee growing area in Central America and over 30% in South America is severely affected by coffee leaf rust disease, a fungus that thrives in changing weather patterns in the regions. Deforestation in West Africa is driving local climate change as the desert encroaches on key cocoa growing regions. Climate modeling studies predict that by 2050 coffee, tea, cocoa, and cotton will so severely affected that production in some areas much even disappear. Farmers need support to adapt to new climate patterns, or risk losing their livelihoods.

Fairtrade's Approach to Climate Change

While Fairtrade can’t solve climate change, we support producers with tools and practices to adapt.

When producers are certified as Fairtrade, they commit to environmental standards that protect the local ecosystem. Farmers must ensure minimized and safe use of agrochemicals, watershed protection through waste and water management, and no use of GMO seeds. They support local biodiversity through buffer zones between fields and ecologically sensitive areas, and are prohibited from cutting down primary forest for cultivation. Fairtrade also encourages farmers to become organic by offering a higher Fairtrade Premium to those who choose both certifications.

Fairtrade producers use nature-based solutions, like boosting soil health with worms and agroforestry.

Learn more about how Fairtrade supports producers’ response to climate change.

Explore the creative ways coffee farmers in Tanzania are using to tackle climate change.