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Fairtrade calls on next UK Government to ensure trade policy works for people and planet

The Fairtrade Foundation has urged the next UK government to ensure trade policy works for people and planet as it unveiled its manifesto ahead of the General Election.

The Fairtrade Foundation has launched the manifesto, calling on the next UK government to build fairness and resilience for producers and consumers.

Alexander Carnwath, Head of Public Affairs at the Fairtrade Foundation, commented: “It’s just over a week before the UK public head to the polls, and it’s crucial that following the election, the next government builds a fairer and more resilient trade system that works better for both UK consumers and those who produce much of our food in low-income countries.

“The UK imports almost half its food, with 16 per cent coming from countries exposed to climate change and lacking the capacity to adapt and respond. In recent years, we’ve seen how global events can have a massive impact on UK food supplies, with the cost of some of our favourite food products soaring and increasingly difficult conditions for farmers overseas. We urgently need to invest for the future, building fair and strong trading partnerships, with businesses working for people and planet, that will ensure the ongoing availability of our food in the face of a changing climate.

“The next UK government – whichever party or parties make it up – should commit to publishing a trade strategy that addresses the key links between trade, development and environmental sustainability and supports the UK to meet objectives across all three. It should also address UK competition law to provide support for innovations in the area of pre-competitive collaboration between businesses, through initiatives such as Fairtrade’s Shared Impact, to support environmental and development objectives.”

The Fairtrade Foundation election manifesto has three key asks:

  • Develop trade policy that works for people and planet. These policies must improve resilience for the small holder farmers and workers producing food overseas and support innovative business approaches to enhance environmental and social sustainability.
  • Legislate to ensure responsible business. The legislation must ensure that businesses address human rights and environmental violations in supply chains, including deforestation, while taking full account of the needs of farmers and workers.
  • Strengthen UK aid by responding to the needs and priorities of farmers and workers who make a crucial contribution to the global food system.

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