Brussels, 29 February 2024 – Farmers protesting in the streets for living incomes could easily join unite in solidarity with their counterparts in the Global South. One in three workers[i] are employed in agriculture in most developing countries and, despite common belief, they do not reap significant benefits from trading with the EU. Furthermore, they are now forced to abide by the rules contained in the European Green Deal, which are not only hard to implement, but also threaten their livelihoods. Beyond farming, the EU needs to reconsider how it supports North and South producers to achieve environmental, social and trade justice in the context of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development.

Today, SOLIDAR, the Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO), Fairtrade International and the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) issued a powerful Call to Action to transform the European Green Deal into a Global Green Deal to make it more social, equitable, just and fair at the international level, and to recreate a common vision and commitment to its essential goals.

In its current form, the European Green Deal leads to environmentally and socially harmful impacts on the Global South and exacerbates, rather than eliminates, inequality and poverty. The Global Green Deal vision is of an inclusive European transformative agenda that firmly assumes its responsibilities vis-à-vis third and partner countries with regard to imposed externalities. The GGD is a Green Deal with an external dimension to guarantee a fair distribution of the transition costs between Europe and partner countries.

Today’s launch marks a pivotal moment in the discourse on adapting the EU flagship initiative to the social and political realities of a world in social and geopolitical turmoil. Low-income households and the disadvantaged were encouraged by populists to find fault with remedial environmental measures typified by the present European Green Deal. Setting this in a broader, global context and introducing aspects of fairness and justice will provide an antidote to the negative effects of populism and Euroscepticism. The GGD will also contribute to maintaining an international framework of law that is acceptable to all.

Professor Olivier De Schutter from UCLouvain and Sciences Po Paris lends his support to the initiative, which also received the generous contribution of the Sustainable Development Solution Network (SDSN). The Call To Action is the result of a year-long set of deliberations with like-minded organisations that have culminated in the event on “Just Transition for All: Why the European Green Deal needs to go Global” that was held at the European Economic and Social Committee on 23 January 2024.

The policy proposals contained in the Call To Action are available here.



Mikael Leyi, Secretary General, SOLIDAR: “The European Green Deal is definitely a major achievement for Europe, but it needs to be expanded and deepened through a strong external dimension to foster a Global Just Transition. We need a European society and a global order in which our needs do not threaten the needs of our neighbours. Where our needs do not destroy the planet.”

Sophie Aujean, Director of Global Advocacy, Fairtrade International: “No deal can really be called a Global Green Deal unless the very people who are most impacted – the climate-vulnerable small-scale farmers and workers in countries disadvantaged by unfair global trade structures – have an equal say in it. The Global green deal we’re calling for will enable a bold and fair transition in Europe and beyond”.

Eric Ponthieu, Strategy Director, Fair Trade Advocacy Office: “The European Green Deal has no future unless integrated with a binding set of Just Transition measures to support both EU and non-EU stakeholders. Public support across Europe for Fair Trade shows how this can be done, practically and effectively.”

Leida Rijnhout, Chief Executive, WFTO: “The EU Green Deal is not considering sufficiently what the impacts are for the Global South. Creating a green island is not what we want, and therefore the call for a Global Green Deal is necessary to guarantee that no harm is done to third countries and vulnerable groups like small scale farmers and small and medium enterprises”

Olivier de Schutter, Professor, UCLouvain & Sciences Po Paris: “The EU has pledged to align its external policies with the objectives of sustainable development: policy coherence for development now requires that it moves towards the Global Green Deal. This means reflecting it in its trade policies, and in the imposition on transnational corporations of human rights and environmental due diligence obligations in the vision of the Green Deal. This means placing globalisation at the service of the fight against poverty and climate mitigation, instead of allowing it to serve only to increase shareholder value.”


Press contact:

Fair Trade Advocacy Office
Eric Ponthieu
Strategic Director

Barbara Caracciolo
International Cooperation & Sustainable Development Coordinator

Fairtrade International
Rosamaria Mancini
Public Relations and Media Manager

World Fair Trade Organization
Leida Rijnhout

World Fair Trade Organization – Europe
Mikkel Kofod Nørgård
Regional Coordinator