Most shoppers aren’t aware that climate change is threatening supplies of bananas, coffee and cocoa according to a new survey.
The survey by The Fairtrade Foundation also showed there is little public awareness of how fairer trade helps farmers in these countries adapt to climate change and create a sustainable future for tropical food products.
Growers of bananas, coffee and cocoa are already facing reductions in yields due to global warming, but the situation could accelerate with further temperature increases, leaving importing countries like the UK vulnerable to shortages.
New academic research from Vrije University and Bern University of Applied Sciences has found that ten banana growing countries could face “drastic” reductions in yield if climate change increases, and 90 per cent of cocoa growing regions could become unsuitable if temperatures increase by 2.1 degrees.
But 60 per cent of the 2,000 people surveyed by Fairtrade were not aware of the potential supply crisis caused by climate change.
While over three quarters of those asked said that it was important to help overseas farmers adapt to climate change, most participants didn’t realise that they can support overseas growers through fairer trade, as fair incomes for farmers can help build climate resilience.
“Smallholder farmers in low-income countries are on the frontlines of the climate crisis, with droughts, floods and storms severely threatening livelihoods of producers across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean,” said director of the Graduate Institute for International Development, Agriculture and Economics (GIIDAE) at the University of Reading, Dr Sarah Cardey.
“For these farmers and workers, a decent income is absolutely essential for building resilience to climate shocks and ensuring they can adapt to a continually evolving climate,” she said.
The survey was commissioned ahead of Fairtrade Fortnight, an annual campaign to raise awareness of the positive impact of buying Fairtrade products.
Although most of those asked did not understand the link between Fairtrade and the climate crisis, 70 per cent said that it would motivate them to buy certified products if it ensured future supply of tropical foods.
Chief executive of The Fairtrade Foundation, Michael Gidney, said: “Cocoa brings so much joy to anyone who loves chocolate, but more needs to be done to ensure that farmers growing these products are supported to live and work well and build their resilience to the devastating impacts of the climate crisis.
“By choosing Fairtrade, they can make a real, tangible difference to the lives of people who grow much of the food we love to eat in the UK.”