Thank you to Michael Combes for sharing this email from the Fairtrade Foundation explaining some recent developments in the relationship between the supermarkets and Fairtrade. The numerous links in the article provide access to background sources.
Many parishioners have probably seen that Fairtrade tea has been hitting the headlines recently. You may have seen that...
Waitrose will complete the conversion of all their own-brand teas to Fairtrade by October, whilst the Co-op (whose own-brand tea has been Fairtrade since 2008) raised enough money through their Growing Stories initiative to fund the construction of a new community centre with tea farming communities in Kenya. Co-op’s relationship with Fintea goes back over 10 years, since they helped set up the co-operative.
Sainsbury's have replaced Fairtrade certification on their own-brand Red and Gold Label, Green and Rooibos teas with their own 'Fairly Traded' brand. These are the first products to be launched as part of a pilot under their new approach to sustainable sourcing, suggesting that it may be extended across other categories including bananas and coffee. You can read our response here, and find an updated Q&A here explaining why the Fairtrade Foundation decided not to partner with Sainsbury’s on their new scheme, but remain open to finding a way forward in the best interests of tea farmers and workers. Over 220,000 tea producers globally stand to be affected by the change, and those we have spoken to are deeply dismayed. African Fairtrade farmers and workers have written an open letter to Sainsbury’s making it clear how unhappy they are.
You may have noticed that a number of organisations have voiced their concerns about Sainsbury’s announcement – from major NGOs, Church bodies like United Reformed Church and Church in Wales to Traidcraft. The media have picked up the story too, including Church Times, The Telegraph and The Catholic Universe.
CAFOD, Christian Aid, Traidcraft and Oxfam and some church denominations have encouraged their members or supporters to sign the petition started by a Fairtrade supporter, or to write directly to Sainsbury’s CEO Mike Coupe or to visit their local Sainsbury’s store manager. Cafod have produced some tools available to help local parishes.
And of course, please keep reminding your friends, family and church congregation to choose Fairtrade certified tea when they shop.
Thank you for your continuing support.