The climate justice initiative says net zero guidelines for airfreight are vital to protect market access for developing world producers
Fairmiles, an initiative supported by a consortium of organisations in industry and academia, is calling for science-based net-zero guidelines which balance social and economic impacts with the drive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Fairmiles argues that in the absence of such guidelines, there is a significant risk that businesses adopt decarbonisation policies which overlook wider sustainability benefits and impacts, including climate justice implications for vulnerable communities within global supply chains.
While Fairmiles supports the drive to net zero emissions, the consortium makes the following points in relation to airfreight:
- Airfreighted fresh produce from developing countries is low carbon and supports sustainable development. It provides vital access to global markets for producers, providing a route out of poverty for millions of people.
- Airfreighted fresh produce from developing countries ensures consumers have access to high quality sun-ripened produce which is low-input, but with a very high social impact (in contrast, airfreighted exports from the UK are dominated by the salmon industry which has a comparatively lower social and economic impact)
- Much of the air freighted fresh produce supplied from developing countries is transported in the belly-hold of existing scheduled passenger services from commercial airlines.
- Targeting airfreighted fresh produce risks harming poor producers and workers in developing countries, who are themselves contributing very little to global greenhouse gas emissions.
- Ensuring that net zero policies align with climate justice principles is in accordance with accepted sustainability best-practices.
Fairmiles says its aim is to support industry in ensuring a fair transition to net zero that does not marginalise vulnerable people in low- and middle-income countries. It follows past initiatives that have sought to raise awareness of the benefits of airfreight for developing countries. This includes a report published by IIED and Oxfam in 2009 which estimated how 1 to 1.5 million livelihoods in sub-Saharan Africa depended directly and indirectly on UK-based supply chains.
The consortium aims to publish research to provide updated data on the impacts of airfreight and hold an industry roundtable on the 15th of December to discuss how to ensure a fair approach to Net Zero is followed.
Fairmiles was established in cooperation with Beanstalk.Global, Blue Skies, Air France-KLM Cargo, COLEAD, the University of Exeter, the University of Northampton and ODI. It is supported by a consortium of over 15 organisations representing African fresh produce businesses, the air cargo industry, academia and the international development sector.