Brewing Change: Fairtrade Cuppa for Climate

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On the 9th of March, amidst the buzz of Fairtrade Fortnight, we came together with Fairtrade Ireland and Rafael Furtado Fonseca from COOMAP at Bewley's on Grafton Street, Dublin, to discuss how local action translates to global reach through the tea and coffee in our cups. We also had a cuppa with our Cuppa for Climate, but with a difference - a greater awareness of where our tea and coffee come from!

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Rafael joined us all the way from Brazil as we explored the vital role of fair trade products in shaping a more equitable and environmentally conscious world. We kicked off with a talk by Rafael. His work with the COOMAP coffee cooperative highlights the power of grassroots initiatives in driving positive change. Through initiatives focused on traceability, soil conservation, and compliance with environmental regulations, COOMAP promotes fair trade principles and implements sustainable practices.

Rafael Fonseca , COOMAP, Minas Gerais,  Brazil:

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Our organisation COOMAP earned about US$1 million in extra income last year. That money is spent in the community for everyone and not just the people who have sold the most coffee. The biodiversity and income diversification projects help the community and that's the one big difference between Fairtrade and other schemes - it's the only one looking after the producers.

Aidan Ring, from Fairtrade Ireland, then shed light on the significance of fair trade practices and the clear and urgent need for policies and actions that prioritise fairness and sustainability in global trade. The upcoming MEP elections provide an opportunity for us to demand and vote for the Global Green Deal. There is a need for fairness in both taxation and expenditure, directing spending towards international climate finance, overseas aid, and environmental initiatives while ensuring equity in income distribution and spending.

The panel was followed by a Cuppa for Climate conversation, where we explored how the climate crisis impacts us as individuals and as a society, along with how it disproportionately impacts people in the global south.

We grappled with the sobering reality that while the West often views climate change as a distant threat, the Global South is already living on the frontlines of climate injustice and its devastating impacts. However, examples of recent climate actions sparked optimism among the audience, highlighting how each of us can participate in climate action in our own way. Whether it's how we spend our money, choosing Fairtrade products, or engaging in conversations with others, every action counts. 

One key takeaway from our dialogue was the importance of voting as a climate action. By electing leaders who prioritise environmental stewardship and advocate for policies addressing climate change, we wield power in shaping the future of our planet. This serves as a reminder that collective action is essential for change, and just how powerful it is when individuals come together to take collective action. By using people power, we can create meaningful system change as we build on community resilience and community-led solutions for economic and climate justice.

Aidan Ring, Fairtrade Ireland:

I really enjoyed this rich discussion; we are focusing a lot more on the policy space with this Fairtrade Fortnight. This was reflected in the Launch Event where we initiated our #VoteFairtrade campaign on the upcoming MEP elections. It was also reflected in the expertise of our visiting producer, Rafael, who spoke at length about the new EU deforestation regulations. Great to collaborate with Friends of the Earth who have always excelled in policy and we look forward to future collaborations.

Read more about Fairtrade Ireland and what you can do ahead of the MEP and local elections here. If you are interested in holding your own climate conversation in your community, sign-up to host a Cuppa for Climate today!

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