Yes, we are Fairtrade!

We did it! The Save80 Climate Protection Group is now officially the first Fairtrade carbon credit producer organisation worldwide! Furthermore, it adds an additional country to the family of Fairtrade by being the first project in Lesotho!

Wait…? Carbon Credits? Fairtrade? Save80? Explain, please!

So as Gesa already explained in “The Save80 Project” post, the reason why I´m here for is a climate protection project using an efficient stove called Save80. During the last year, the two companies atmosfair and Solar Lights were working intensively on the first carbon credit project implementing a new standard together with Fairtrade which is commonly known for the fair trading of coffee, tea, chocolate, fruits and much more stuff.

At this point I would like to give you a brief introduction to what is called carbon credits and the work of atmosfair (the German project partner I´ve been working for). With our world mainly consuming fossil fuels and therefore increasing emission due to the rising energy consumption, the awareness of Climate Change has become a constantly growing political issue over the past 20 years. And as carbon dioxide is the most common greenhouse gas, its reduction has become the main objective to fight Climate Change.

Therefore, there is a limited market for carbon credits which regulates the emissions of our industry in a way that you have to pay for your pollution in buying those carbon certificates. Basically you pay a certain price per ton (1 ton = 1 credit) of greenhouse gas emission. Well guess what, these certificates are way to cheap and not as rare as it might sounds.

NGOs like atmosfair work with a different system. First of all, they stand for avoiding, reducing and only then compensating emissions. To start working with them changed my perspective on carbon offsetting. Well, I guess I didn´t really have a clue about it in the first place but I´ve heard a lot of criticism which I was curious to talk about. As a briefly introduction the principle of carbon offsetting is to reduce your carbon footprint by saving greenhouse emissions somewhere else. This so called “somewhere” else mainly takes place in countries of the global south. For the Lesotho project I´m working on right now, DHL payed a subsidy for efficient stoves to reduce the consumption of firewood and therefore the emission of carbon dioxide. But that´s a topic for another day, or for the comment section – you decide if you want to know more about carbon offsetting! For a better understanding of what coffee, tea and chocolate now have in common with carbon credits, check out the clip below:

Well, it´s still really abstract because you can´t buy them in a shop like usual Fairtrade products. But it´s now the Fairtrade standards applying to this producer organisation, the so called Save80 Climate Protection Group, giving them the ability to start their own projects and raise from a customer to an equal project partner. Furthermore, all participating project partners have to be approved by Fairtrade standards to be able to produce, trade or use the first Fair Carbon Credits.

For more information, check out the joint press release by Fairtrade and DHL or our project website at atmosfair.