Climate Change: It Hurts!

It hurts, when one of our longest standing supplier partners loses a key Fair Trade customer – but that’s business. We worked hard set up a contact to a new Fair Trade buyer to help fill the gap.

It really hurt, when, just as that new member (and potentially new buyer) asked the supplier partner for a sample – and the answer was : Sorry, but because of the unseasonal bad weather we cannot tap – it will take a few weeks before we can restart.

Unfortunately, this scenario is increasingly common even for the relatively small number of Fair Trade suppliers: The Climate Crisis and the resulting ‘Climate weirding’ is hitting growers of natural rubber in multiple ways: Torrential rains and droughts hit tropical and subtropical countries even harder than countries in more temperate regions. Unseasonal droughts result in trees not producing raw latex milk, and to drinking water wells drying up. Unseasonal (heavy) rains make tapping impossible for days and weeks and, and can lead to land slides and floods washing away roads and bridges. Intense tropical cyclones can uproot trees and blow roofs off buildings.

Fair Trade premiums have helped provide more resilient drinking water, replace roofs, … but for it to work – rubber needs to be available for purchase under Fair Trade terms.