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Good morning, it's Kasmira, and today we're looking at whether blockchain technology can be used to help bridge the financing gap faced by Fairtrade farmers in developing countries. A Swiss investment firm and Zurich university researchers believe it can.

And in an important step, world finance chiefs last week agreed to extend temporary debt-relief for low-income countries hit hard by the economic impacts of Covid-19. Still, analysts at the UN say more drastic action is needed, with nearly $600bn of external public debt service payments at risk according to their latest findings.

Plus, more environmental campaigners - and companies - are taking a stand against future deep-sea mining, which for the time being is still off-limits but is seen as a future source of metals for our cars and smartphone.

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Kasmira Jefford


Sustainable business & finance news

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Norcafé producers holding coffee berries in Peru. (Credit: Norcafé)

🌾 Can blockchain help bridge the financing gap for Fairtrade farmers? Fairtrade farmers in Latin America may soon be able to tap consumers in Switzerland for finance through a new tokenised system that uses blockchain technology. That’s the idea being developed by a Swiss investment firm with Zurich University of Applied Sciences, supported by Innosuisse. But can the model take off?

Geneva Solutions (EN)

💵 G20 extends debt relief for low-income countries. In a welcome move, world finance chiefs last week agreed to extend a freeze on developing countries' debt service repayments in the latest series of efforts to stave off a debt crisis sparked by the Covid-19 pandemic. Still, economists say more must be done, with a recent UN report presented to journalists in Geneva showing that 23 of the 72 countries facing liquidity challenges are not covered by current relief initiatives.

Financial Times (EN)

Here's what else is happening

Image of the day

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© Marten van Dijl / Greenpeace

🦑 Greenpeace stages Pacific Ocean protest against deep-sea mining. The environmental organisation's Rainbow Warrior boat last week trailed a ship doing research for DeepGreen, a company that plans to mine the seabed for battery minerals. The latest action comes amid growing concern and debate among scientists, activists and NGOs in Geneva and abroad around the protection of the seabed, as reported by Geneva Solutions last month.

Reuters (EN)

Next on the agenda

📍12 April | When tariffs disrupt global supply chains Part of the Geneva Trade and Development Workshop (GTDW) seminar series, Princeton University professor Gene Grossman will present his recent paper "when tariffs disrupt global supply chains".

The Graduate Institute (EN)

📍21 April | Cosmetics Coming Clean This documentary screening, followed by a virtual presentation led by the UN Environment Programme, will highlight changes in the cosmetics industry brought about by concerns from consumers and scientific research.

Geneva Environment Network (EN)

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