Fairtrade Foundation applauds UK government’s move to tighten climate targets and include international aviation and shipping in climate laws

20 April 2021 

The UK government’s ambitious move to cut carbon emissions by 78% by 2035, and to include international aviation and shipping in its climate targets for the first time, is a strong step in the right direction the Fairtrade Foundation has said.  

These commitments, announced by the Government today, will become enshrined in law and will see the UK bringing forward the deadline for its climate ambitions by 15 years.   

Dr Louisa Cox, Director of Impact at the Fairtrade Foundation, said: “We strongly welcome today’s news that the Government is set to extend the UK’s climate law to cover international aviation and shipping, which must be a first step towards the UK taking responsibility for the emissions coming from the produce we import. This is something Fairtrade Foundation has been calling for: farmers on the forefront of the climate crisis have long been appealing for those who bear the most responsibility for carbon emissions to take the crisis more seriously. We are pleased these calls have been heard. 

“Currently, our overseas emissions account for nearly half of those that the UK is responsible for, and the proportion is expected to grow to up to 80 percent by 2050. Tackling these emissions means promoting low-carbon investment along the whole supply chain – including not only greener freight options, but also more sustainable farming methods.”  

Dr Louisa Cox continued: “Farmers and workers overseas who grow the produce we love to consume in the UK want climate change tackled, because they see the harmful effects it is having on their ability to grow food every day, and on the lives of their families and communities. They want to be part of the solution, but they are already struggling to make ends meet – so they will need adequate financial support if they are to afford the cost of moving to more sustainable methods of farming.  

“Today’s announcement from the Government sets a strong signal that our imported emissions need to come down. We must see the Government and UK businesses work together, as matter of urgency, to green our supply chains – including by paying fair prices, ensuring fair trading practices and funding programmes to resource the investment farmers in low-income countries need for adaptation, diversification and resilience in the face of the climate crisis.” 

Read Fairtrade Foundation’s report, A Climate of Crisis: Farmers, Our Food and the Fight for Climate Justice, on the need for stronger, faster action to drive down emissions in agricultural supply chains (published during Fairtrade Fortnight, in February 2021).

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