Since its beginning, Fairtrade has grown to represent over 1.65 million small-scale farmers and workers. Producers now co-own the Fairtrade system, shaping global strategy and running operations across three continents. But Fairtrade remains far from achieving its ambitious goal of a world where trade can be a true tool of opportunity and inclusion for all.
The world is in difficult straits. The effects of climate change are resulting in the loss of 12 million hectares of productive land each year. Women work to produce 60-80% of the world's food, yet the number of women living below the poverty line has increased by 50% since the 1970s. About 168 million boys and girls around the world are engaged in child labour, mostly in agriculture.
"Climate change is affecting our productivity," according to Victor Biwot, of the Sireet Tea Cooperative in Kenya. "Farmers can no longer predict when is the best time to prepare their farms or start planting. In previous years it used to work like clockwork, but now you just can't tell."
Many of these issues are interconnected. Poverty cannot be resolved until inequality is addressed; rampant development exacerbates climate change; any approach to eradicating child labour and forced labour must address sustainable livelihoods throughout value chains; and a lack of equal rights for women inhibits progress across the board.
'Changing Trade, Changing Lives,' Fairtrade's global strategy for 2016-2020, sets out a vision on how fairer trade can make meaningful contributions to global problems.
"If we hope to close the gaps that exist across society, we must push trade further into the service of people," said Marike de Pena, Board Chair of Fairtrade International. "There is great optimism following the launch of the Global Goals and a successful COP 21 in Paris. We aim to make Fairtrade an important tool in seeing these global commitments through."
The new strategy is based on five goals:
- Goal 1: Building Benefits for Smallholders and Workers
- Goal 2: Deepening Impact Through Services and Programmes
- Goal 3: Building Fairtrade Markets
- Goal 4: Influencing Government Policies
- Goal 5: Building a Strong Global System
Changing Trade, Changing Lives is the product of a collaborative, wide-ranging effort integrating the thoughts and opinions of individuals from throughout the Fairtrade system. Farmers and workers, traders and brands, NGOs and consumers fed into a vision of how Fairtrade can change for the better and improve impact.