Poor producers to tackle global climate change from their communities with new ‘Fairtrade Climate Standard’

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Fairtrade - New Climate Standard - Building bricks for clean cookstoves
Building bricks for clean cookstoves. 20,000 coffee producing families in Ethiopia received clean cookstoves in an energy efficiency pilot project. Photo by Roger Van Zaal. Fairtrade International

Businesses and individuals can now make a direct impact on reducing carbon emissions from their communities through the new Fairtrade Climate Standard. The standard will allow producers to use innovative ways to improve their resilience to climate change and reduce their carbon footprint.

The Fairtrade Climate Standard indicates that the final step in the development of the Fairtrade Carbon Credits is set to launch at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris later in 2015. The standard is part of the Gold Standard certification of cutting carbon emissions and providing benefits from sustainable development.

Those eligible for the carbon credits include Fairtrade producers and vulnerable rural communities running projects focused on energy efficiency, renewable energy and forestry. The new standard was developed in a collaboration between Fairtrade Australia and New Zealand and the Gold Standard Foundation, an international organisation working on climate and development projects.

Fairtrade Australia and New Zealand said that the minimum price will “ensure the costs of running the carbon reduction project are covered.” A Fairtrade Premium, the money for projects to fight climate change in rural communities, will be given to producers for each credit they will sell.

The credits are available on the voluntary market by companies, organisations and individuals, who aim at compensating their carbon emissions. Farmers can invest the premium for projects to improve their resilience to the impacts of climate change, including planting climate-resilient crops, shade trees or investing into food security.

“Fairtrade Carbon Credits are an important innovation to help poor producers who suffer some of the worst impacts of climate change,” said Molly Harriss Olson, CEO of Fairtrade Australia and New Zealand. “Buying Fairtrade Carbon Credits means we can both reduce climate carbon while empowering producers in developing countries to take control of their futures and adapt and mitigate the climate change impacts they are already feeling.”

“Every Fairtrade Carbon Credit means one less tonne of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere,” said Victor Biwot, operations manager at the Sireet Fairtrade tea cooperative in Kenya.

In Gimbi, Ethiopia, a Fairtrade project is working to be certified on the new standard by shifting to energy-efficient cookstoves used by women coffee growers. Fairtrade is currently on the process to select the first certified road-testing projects, and the first Carbon Credits are set to be available in early 2016.

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