The fight for justice in the humanitarian and climate whelms tends to be compartmentalised and attended to as separate entities. Both are vital in sustaining the future of mankind on the planet, but apart from the obvious, they are vital to sustain the future of businesses. The way people are being treated along an entire value chain and the environmental damage being done are entirely intertwined.
Latest thinking has placed climate change in the language of human rights, placing theory into action. Many companies, including Aduna and HOWFAA Women Farmers, are showing success in tackling sustainability, human rights and increasing their success through the guidance of the most marginalised and most affected by both climate change and poverty – farming communities of the global South.
At the core of climate injustice is the fact that the least affected portion of the global population is most responsible. The global South is at the geographical forefront of climate change. Moreover, those most impacted often have the best solution, unable to place them into action in the midst of poverty. However, the world is nothing but interconnected, and businesses engaging with the issue of climate justice recognise the risk to their business as well as their power to make change happen by giving remote farmers a voice.
Aduna Superfoods sources its products from regions in Africa where remote communities struggle to maintain crops. “Land degradation and poverty are two sides of the coin” explains Andrew Hunt at the Business Fights Poverty Global Summit 2022.
Turns out that partnership is the key - not just as a global population, but within businesses. A feedback loop between farmers, NGOs and business leaders led to the implementation of transformational crops, revolutionising the ethics of businesses like Aduna. A sustainable means of maintaining crops secures a regenerative supply chain that in turn rewards the business with a higher income rate. At the same time, indigenous crops are protected and farmers receive a deserved living wage that increases motivation, loyalty, and a greater quality of life. The result is a market potential due to the health benefits, an income generation and regenerative crops.
This seems very fitting as Aduna’s products promote health and sustainability. However, the business strategy is possible in most systems, regardless of their product motto. Even in the tech industry, many materials can only be sought in very certain parts of the world where human rights aren’t foregrounded in the farming.
While living wages are a huge step in securing farmers' rights, as achieved by Aduna, HOWFAA Women Farmers suggest further steps to secure equality for women in agriculture. An example includes the direct payment to their accounts rather than to the husband's as is traditionally the case.
Sounds like the ultimate win-win. So what is the catch? It is an entirely new way of operating a business. The reality that stands between theory and action is the requirement for training, organisation and detailed problem solving that comes hand-in-hand with dedication and partnerships. While there is a lot of funding and aid out there for good projects, it is not a priority for most businesses.
The starting point ought to be an open engagement on the topic. Many companies taking on the strategy are here to share their power and knowledge.
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