Fairtrade: Ensuring a future for tropical forests

May 27, 2024

Seventy-three per cent of all tropical deforestation is caused by a small number of key agricultural commodities, including coffee and cacao. However, Fairtrade has a role to play in ensuring no deforestation of tropical forests.

Much of the food and drink we consume in Wales is grown by farming communities on the frontline of climate change – communities who have contributed the least to the climate crisis, yet suffer the most from its consequences. Tea, coffee, cacao and bananas are just a few of these commodities, all of which are regular staples consumed here in Wales.

By ensuring a fair income for local farmers, Fairtrade ensures they are better able to adapt and survive the climate crisis. Environmental protection standards are a key component of the certification process and through training farmers are supported to switch to more environmentally friendly practices, such as encouraging wildlife to help control pests and diseases.

In addition, since 2019, Fairtrade has included a no-deforestation criteria, which means that as well as supporting farmers, we can also reduce imported deforestation in Wales by choosing Fairtrade products.

What are tropical forests?

Our planet’s tropical forests sit roughly 28 degrees north or south of the equator. They are essential to life on Earth. They absorb vast amounts of carbon, produce oxygen, maintain the water cycle, and play a significant role in maintaining the global climate.

Tropical forests are hotspots for biodiversity and are home to around 80% of documented species. A single hectare may contain 200 species of tree and over 40,000 species of insect.

Tropical forests and deforestation

In the last 20 year’s, the world has lost enough trees to cover Wales 200 times over!

Coffee and cocoa are amongst some of the items grown that are driving deforestation. So, looking for the Fairtrade mark is so important in reducing our impact on deforestation.

How can I support tropical forests?

  1. Fair Trade Wales Youth Art Competition
  2. Look for the Fairtrade mark
  3. Support the work of the charity Size of Wales

Size of Wales is a unique charity that is making Wales part of the global solution to climate change. Together, they work with Indigenous and local people worldwide to grow trees and protect at least 2 million hectares of tropical forests – an area the size of Wales. We are also supporting their campaign for Wales to become the world’s first Deforestation Free Nation.