Knowledge for a sustainable world

Valerie Nelson

NRI has recently completed study on the implications of climate change for Fairtrade in agricultural products. The study, Climate Change, Agricultural Adaptation and Fairtrade: Identifying the Challenges and Opportunities by Valerie Nelson, John Morton, Peter Burt, Tim Chancellor and Barry Pound was commissioned in early 2010 by the Fairtrade Foundation, the UK national labelling initiative which licenses use of the FAIRTRADE Mark on products in the UK in accordance with internationally agreed Fairtrade standards. The study indicates that climate change is projected, with high degrees of certainty, to have mainly negative impacts upon agricultural production, food security and economic development, especially in developing countries. It thus poses significant challenges for the Fairtrade movement.

This report sets out what we know at present about those challenges and ways to face them, and makes recommendations for actions to build the resilience of farmers against climate change that can be followed within the avenues of impact of the Fairtrade movement. The study has already been used extensively by different organisations within the Fairtrade movement to shape their responses to climate change, including the Fairtrade Labelling Organisation in Bonn, and the ISEAL Alliance, which is the global association for social and environmental standards, (such as Rainforest Alliance, Forest Stewardship Council, IFOAM, FLO etc) which has drawn heavily on this study in developing its imminent guidelines for standard systems on adaptation.

This study is the first of a New NRI Working Paper Series on Climate Change, Agriculture and Natural Resources, of which more will follow soon.