Regional disparities in impacts of climate extremes require targeted adaptation of Fairtrade supply chains

Elsevier, One Earth, Volume 5, Issue 8, 2022, Pages 917-931
Žiga Malek, Margret Loeffen, Mélanie Feurer, Peter H. Verburg

Supply chains of agricultural commodities, such as banana, cocoa, coffee, and tea, are vulnerable to climate change. Their ability to adapt depends on assessments of climate change impacts on producing regions. Such assessments are, however, missing despite available climate projections. Here, we analyze how drought, heat stress, and heavy precipitation could affect over 1.6 million producers within the Fairtrade supply chain by 2050 by using projections from general circulation models. Globally, Fairtrade producers will mainly be subject to increased heat stress. Drought might present particular pressures on Brazilian and Central American coffee producers and on tea producers in southeastern Africa. Heavy precipitation might become more common for producers of cocoa and coffee in the Andes, coffee producers in East Africa, and tea producers in South Asia. Our approach enables the identification of how sensitive different regions are to climate change, allowing for timely adaptation. This is crucial for continued commodity supply and sustainability of farmers’ livelihoods.