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Take Action: Tell Olympic Caterers to Source Fairtrade

December 2nd, 2010


Sign the open letter to the Olympic organisers and the catering companies. Tell them to “Source Fairtrade: make every Olympic catering purchase a winning one”.


Within the next few weeks, the first big wave of Olympic 2012 catering contracts will be awarded. This is a critical opportunity for us to remind the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG), the main sponsors (McDonalds, Cadburys and Coca-Cola) and the contract catering companies about keeping the Fairtrade commitments already made, and about Londoners’ enthusiasm for caterers to go further and extend the range of Fairtrade products used.

Our message is simple:

Source Fairtrade: make every Olympic catering purchase a winning one”.

LOCOG has already shown its willingness to set high standards on ethical sourcing, and its willingness to be receptive to public pressure to go further.  That is how commitments were secured for all tea, coffee, sugar, bananas and chocolate snacks  used in official Olympic catering to be Fairtrade.

Now, as the actual contracts are awarded, we must make sure there is no backtracking from these commitments.  And importantly, we need to highlight the areas where we feel caterers could do more. We want to encourage caterers to source Fairtrade wherever a suitable Fairtrade product is available.

Join fellow Londoners in reminding the Olympic organisers of their commitments

The Campaign so Far:

We kicked off the campaign with a photo at our Borough workshops event in November:

Source Fairtrade at Olympics - photo 1

We’ve written an open letter to LOCOG et al, for which we’ve already gathered over 40 signatures at an Envision ‘young London leaders’ event and then more at our recent Christmas Marketplace and FairChristmas Fayre events.

Now it is over to you.  Help us to turn up the pressure on the Olympic organisers.

Click here to add your name to our message

What we are calling for:

LOCOG and the catering companies being awarded Olympic contracts:

We recognise your support for establishing sustainable sourcing of catering products for the London Olympics.   We now call on you to turn those policies into action.  In particular, to:

1) Keep your commitment that all tea, coffee and sugar served is Fairtrade – i.e FAIRTRADE Marked.

2) Go beyond simply having Fairtrade sugar available for hot beverages, and make sure any sugar used in your cooking / catering is Fairtrade sugar. Fairtrade-certified sugar is now available in catering-size packs.

3) Attain the best aspirational standards on fresh fruit, and nuts and dried fruit. Work with suppliers to source Fairtrade pineapples, oranges, mangoes, avocados, lemons, soft citrus fruit, grapes, nuts and dried fruit – i.e. any fruit and nuts not grown in UK and for which a Fairtrade alternative is available during the Games period.

4) Make it easy for your customers to know you are meeting the benchmark on chocolate products:  sell/serve FAIRTRADE-Marked chocolate, chocolate products and chocolate-based ingredients – the publicly most-recognised and independent guarantee that the cocoa is ethically sourced and fairly traded.

5) Aspire to use Fairtrade cocoa in all snack, meal or dessert products and beverages that include cocoa or chocolate-based ingredients.

6) Investigate sourcing other Fairtrade products – taking items from the full range of Fairtrade food, including alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, rice, cotton, soap, flowers, and many other products, which you use during the Olympics (a full list of Fairtrade-certified product types can be found here).

7) Promote the Fairtrade Mark on all Fairtrade certified products, menus and promotional materials where Fairtrade products or ingredients are used, and explain what it means. This will help to raise the profile of ethical sourcing with the millions of athletes, dignitaries, media, staff, visitors and volunteers who will take part in London 2012.

Click here to add your name to this open letter


The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) is responsible for managing the provision of catering to all the athletes, their teams, spectators, the media and volunteers at the official Olympic venues during the Olympics.  This will work out to an estimated 40 million meals in total, served at approx 40 venues in and around London.

LOCOG set out its ‘Food Vision’ strategy in Dec 2009.

LOCOG divided its product sourcing standards into two categories: benchmark (mandatory) and aspirational.  All catering that it is directly responsible for must meet the benchmark standards.

  • Benchmark standards: all food must achieve this standard or a demonstrable equivalent and comply with the LOCOG Sustainable Sourcing Code.
  • Aspirational standards:  as many of these standards should be achieved, or a demonstrable equivalent where food is available and affordable.

Olympic caterers and supplier outside the direct management of LOCOG will also be encouraged and supported to go beyond the benchmark standards and work towards even higher levels of animal and worker welfare, ethical sourcing, environmental sustainability and food safety (called the ‘aspirational standards’) wherever they can.

Fruit & Vegetables

  • Benchmark = where products are not available from the UK, and not available under the Red Tractor Assurance Scheme, they will need to be fully traceable.  Bananas to be Fairtrade. Tea, coffee and sugar to be Fairtrade.

  • Aspirational = LEAF Marque certified; Organic; Products that are ethically traded/sourced (including Fairtrade certified and/or Rainforest Alliance certified)

Chocolate Products

  • Benchmark = Chocolate products to be Fairtrade or ethically sourced.
  • Aspirational = products that are ethically traded / sourced.

NB. Cadbury is the “official snack provider of the Olympic Games” and the exclusive provider of confectionery.

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