SUSTAINABILITY

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Social Case Study

4 March 2021

How Fairtrade helps growers to build resilience to climate change

How Fairtrade helps growers to build resilience to climate change

All the Fairtrade sugar sold by us directly helps farmers in our Southern African operations to help build resilient and thriving communities while fighting climate change.

Through the Fairtrade global certification programme which helps ensure farmers have access to better working conditions and fairer prices for their goods, Illovo Sugar Africa is helping to grow a sustainable future for our communities and the environment.

Every tonne of Fairtrade sugar sold globally generates a $60 premium[1], which goes straight back to the farmers to help them invest in projects that benefit their crops and communities. In Malawi, for the Kasinthula and Phata Fairtrade sugar cooperatives which Illovo Sugar Africa has supported since 2004, this money is directly invested into local projects that create change where it matters most.

Fairtrade helps fight climate change

In Malawi, farmers are experiencing the effects of climate change first-hand, with intense droughts and flooding affecting their crops and putting their livelihoods at risk. Healthy forests have a major role to play in reducing the effects of this change, but widespread deforestation threatens this impact.

Phata and Kasinthula have both invested in tree nurseries and sustainable woodlots, and in January 2021, three thousand seedlings were planted at the Kasinthula Estate tree nursery to encourage healthy forests. These woodlots and nurseries are managed and sustainably harvested by members of the community for use at home.

But it’s not just about planting new trees, the Phata cooperative have used Fairtrade funding to increase the use of energy-efficient stoves to help use less wood and therefore reliance on wood for cooking and also for heat, as night-time temperatures are well below 10 degrees.

Helping future generations

As well as addressing today’s challenges, we’re also committed to helping tomorrow’s generation thrive. Our local cooperatives are investing in school facilities to ensure every young person – particularly young girls – have access to education, an essential tool for healthy communities.

When Malawi was hit by Cyclone Idai in 2019, as well as impacting crops, heavy rains and flooding caused severe damage to the local community school, forcing children to study in the open air without a roof over their heads. Some stopped attending school completely.

Having funded the construction of the school in 2012, Kasinthula invested in restoring the building, helping get its 900 students back into the classroom and ensuring a brighter future for them and their families.

Alongside education, supporting underprivileged girls and women is a priority for Illovo Sugar Africa and working together with Phata, invests in projects which ensure safe access to electricity and drinking water. These projects are upscaled every year to reach more of the wider community. Meanwhile, work on subsurface drainage in areas with shallow ground water has helped address flooding and other soil problems for farmers.

Fairtrade sugar is found in many products – from chocolate bars to beverages. Choosing products that feature the Fairtrade logo means you’re helping farmers, like those in Malawi, fight climate change and grow a sustainable future for themselves and their communities.

 


[1] https://www.fairtrade.org.uk/farmers-and-workers/sugar/about-sugar/

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