Gordon MP Richard Thomson has affirmed his support for this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight campaign, which is raising awareness of the need to protect the farmers behind some of our best loved foods from the harmful effects of climate change.
During Fairtrade Fortnight 2022, which ends on 6 March, the Fairtrade Foundation is running a campaign highlighting the growing challenges that climate change brings to farmers and agricultural workers overseas who grow popular products such as tea, coffee, cocoa and bananas.
In a show of support for Fairtrade, Mr Thomson was among some 55 MPs who recently participated in parliamentary events held to mark Fairtrade Fortnight.
MPs heard from Fairtrade farmer Patrick Kaberia Muthaura, who shared first-hand accounts of the impacts of climate change on his tea farm in Kenya and spoke about the need for commitments at the COP26 summit to be realised. Mr Muthaura also urged policy makers to ensure that finance goes to farmers and workers like him who have the expertise and knowledge to adapt and mitigate to the changing climate, but who lack the funding to do so.
The Fairtrade All-Party Parliamentary Group also held an event where MPs were invited to drop in take the opportunity to hear more about the importance of involving farmers and agricultural workers in plans to tackle the climate crisis.
Commenting afterwards, Richard Thomson MP said:
“I am proud to support Fairtrade Fortnight this year. As we know, the climate crisis is the biggest threat to the livelihoods of millions of small-scale farmers and agricultural workers in low-income countries worldwide. Farmers and workers in countries such as Kenya, Ethiopia and Honduras, who have done the least to contribute to climate change, are disproportionately affected by it.
“Fairtrade plays a valuable role in supporting farmers to respond to the environmental crises unfolding in their communities. However, it’s important that we all play our part in tackling climate change. For instance, shopping for Fairtrade goods is a simple yet effective step that we can all take to enable farmers to have better incomes vital for protecting their bananas, coffee, cocoa and other crops from climate threats like drought, floods and rising temperatures.
‘I am delighted that so many constituents, schools, communities and businesses here in Gordon support Fairtrade’s mission to make trade fair, and are committed to using Fairtrade products where they can. I would urge MPs from across all parties to work towards a world where trade justice and climate justice is a reality for all.”
This Fairtrade Fortnight, the Fairtrade Foundation is once again hosting its Choose The World You Want Festival, alongside businesses, farmers, campaigners, local communities and other partners. The festival features a range of online events aimed at raising awareness of how decent incomes and support through Fairtrade equips farmers to tackle changing weather patterns in their communities.
As the climate crisis continues to unfold, the Fairtrade Foundation is campaigning for funds to reach farmers and workers immediately, so that they can invest in adaptation and mitigation techniques to secure their future. This Fairtrade Fortnight, it has been inviting constituents to write to their MPs, asking them to urge the government to deliver on the UK’s commitments to communities in climate vulnerable countries.
This comes as new data* commissioned by the Fairtrade Foundation, and run by Opinium, reveals that over 60% of the British public are unaware of the threats that climate change poses to UK supplies of cocoa, coffee and bananas. The survey also shows that three quarters (78%) of Brits believe it is important that people overseas who produce tea, coffee, food, flowers, cotton and other staple products imported by the UK are able to adapt to climate change.
Richard Thomson MP pictured at a special event in Portcullis House, Westminster, to mark Fairtrade Fortnight. Photo credit: The Fairtrade Foundation.