CASE STUDY FAIRTRADE FOUNDATION
Evaluating risks to UK coffee, cocoa and banana supply chains for Fairtrade Foundation
o mark Fairtrade Fortnight 2023 our research has been used to support the launch of the Endangered Aisle – a pop-up store in east London created by Alfred and Fairtrade Foundation to mark Fairtrade Fortnight 2023. Featuring empty supermarket shelves, the Endangered Aisle highlighted how the impacts of climate change and other environmental risks could affect the future supply of popular products, and the role Fairtrade plays in supporting the farmers who grow these products.
Applying an updated and tailored version of a methodology we’ve used in past projects, including the Risky Business report series with WWF, we looked at the UK’s imports of much-loved commodities – cocoa, coffee and bananas. We also identified key origin countries producing these imports.
We then used published environmental risk metrics to assess the risks facing these producer countries, with a particular focus on climate change – specifically, the vulnerability of the country to extreme climatic events and habitat loss.
The research showed that:
- Almost half (48%) of UK banana imports by volume – totalling more than half a million tonnes of bananas – originate from countries that face high and increasing risks of catastrophic events linked to climate change.
- Almost a quarter (24%) of the UK’s total land footprint for UK annual coffee imports (corresponding to almost 60,000 hectares of land) originates from countries considered to be highly or very highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
- Nearly a quarter (24%) of the UK’s imported cocoa volumes are estimated to originate from six cocoa producer countries; of that proportion, 91% – more than 350,000 tonnes of cocoa per year – originates from countries at very high or high risk for loss of forest, grassland and wetland habitat through changes in land use.
The research is used alongside a survey of consumers conducted by Fairtrade Foundation, which highlighted the popularity of these items in a weekly shop, but painted a mixed picture on whether consumers understand where they originate from. Only around a third of those interviewed (37%) believed that climate change will affect the price and availability of items in their weekly shop. Based on our analysis, the level of exposure to climate change is perhaps higher than many consumers perceive.The results of 3Keel’s research, the consumer survey and findings from other sources are collated in a report published by Fairtrade Foundation.