Fair Trader contributes to reducing global warming!
Updated: Jun 7, 2018
Our charity of the year in 2014 was Root to Fruit in Malawi, a social enterprise that grows and distributes tree seedlings into the local community in the north of the country. The trees improve the air, rain cycle, and soil around their homes, while creating income-generating activities through the sale of their harvested fruits and making medicinal remedies. They also remove the greenhouse gas mainly responsible for climate change from the atmosphere, which is in all our interests.
While Fair Trader does its best to minimise energy consumption and has acted on advice from a volunteer expert in sustainable ways of achieving this, we still generate carbon by the use of gas and electricity for heating, hot water and electrical appliances. There is also the use of diesel by our supplier’s ships and delivery drivers.
As a result of the £850 donation raised by our events and member donations (notably Chelmsford Star Co-operative), Root to Fruit are distributing and planting 640 trees.
Now for a little science lesson!
Every ten trees offset two tonnes of CO2 over ten years, stored in the roots, trunk, branches and leaves of the trees. The trees are very likely to survive much longer than ten years, but they use this very conservative estimate to ensure the desired offsetting is achieved.
In an effort to ensure that the trees are left to grow into maturity, they plant three extra trees for every ten trees purchased, free of charge.
One of the extra trees provides local communities with a wood lot for use in their daily lives (cooking, building etc), reducing the threat of the trees being harvested.
The remaining two extra trees are planted to provide a buffer for any seedlings that might die in the field.
The carbon we have offset is therefore 640/10 X 2 equivalent to 128 tonnes.
We have looked at our energy bills to calculate our average annual energy consumption in Kilowatt hours –it is 14500 Kwh electricity and 27,800 Kwh gas. Using the Carbon Trust’s conversion factors for UK energy generation this equates to just under 12 tonnes of carbon dioxide compared with the 128 tonnes offset so we are not just carbon neutral but carbon negative!
We are now planning to work with a group of local artists who have planted a plot of 200 trees so far, to work towards being sustainable in their carving. We will be giving them advice on designs, and quality with a view to selling their work in the UK.