Progress to net zero not fast enough, Mary Kinyua tells world leaders

    Written By: Claire Wanja

    Mary Kinyua is the chair of Fairtrade Africa and the representative of the Fairtrade International board to the COP26 Civil Society and Youth Council convened by the COP President Designate. Her speech is given on behalf of the 1.7 million farmers and workers in the global Fairtrade system. She is also the Director of Administration and Human Resources at Naivasha-based Oserian Ltd, Kenya’s largest flower farm and a Fairtrade Certified flower producer.

    Fairtrade Africa’s Mary Kinyua says progress to net zero is not fast enough, and called for governments to work harder to bring down supply chain emissions.

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    Speaking to world leaders at the Climate Ambition Summit, Mary Kinyua, the chair of Fairtrade Africa, delivered a rallying call on behalf of Fairtrade farmers to Heads of Government meeting at the COP26 Ambition Summit – on Saturday, 12 December, 2020.

    Speaking from Kenya on behalf of the 1.7 million farmers and workers around the world represented by Fairtrade, she welcomed business and government plans for net zero emissions, but said: ‘We’re not going fast enough. Change by 2050 is too late. The weather is changing now.’

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    Ms Kinyua called on governments around the world to act now and protect the world’s farmers by, ‘bringing down supply chain emissions, to set targets, and take steps to support and if need be compel businesses to decarbonise their supply chains.’

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    Climate change is the biggest threat to farmers’ livelihoods – not only in the global south, but worldwide. Ms Kinyua said, ‘We cannot expect – and it is not fair to expect – producers to absorb the costs of more sustainable methods of farming when they’re not even able to earn a living income or living wage, because the price they receive for their produce is far too low. This needs to change – and it needs to change fast.

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    ‘[Tackling climate change] properly means helping farmers and workers with the cost of switching to low carbon production and transport. And that cannot happen if we’re not prepared to pay for it.

    ‘So as a matter of justice and a matter of science, action on the climate crisis cannot be delayed any longer.’

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    Fairtrade welcomes the opportunity from the summit organisers for Ms Kinyua to bring the voices of farmers and workers directly to world leaders today. More and more companies are talking to Fairtrade about working to reduce emissions but stronger government action is needed.

    Ending her message, Ms Kinyua said, ‘the work we will do together over the next year we hope will result in a COP that puts us firmly on the path to net zero.’

    Watch Mary Kinyua’s message online (or on demand) using the “watch” option here.


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