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Sainsbury quits Fairtrade?

May 26th, 2017

Sainsbury’s have announced that from June 2017 most of their own-brand tea range, including Red Label tea, will not longer carry the Fairtrade Mark and will instead be sold as ‘fairly traded’ under their own in-house sustainability standard.

This is a ‘pilot’ and they have made it clear they intend to extend this approach to other products. We are faced with the very real prospect that Sainsbury’s will withdraw entirely from using Fairtrade certification for its own label products, including bananas, coffee, chocolate and flowers.

This would be a blow for the Fairtrade movement. Sainsbury’s currently has the biggest sales of Fairtrade Marked goods in the world and has long been a Fairtrade leader in the supermarket sector.

The Fairtrade Foundation was invited to partner with the new Sainsbury’s Foundation pilot in tea, but did not take up the offer due to concerns that it falls below the core principles of Fairtrade.

A major concern is that the new scheme will take control away from producers, the new ‘Fairly Traded Social Premium’ will be housed and managed by the Sainsbury’s Foundation. Farmers and workers will only be able to access these funds if they are successful in applying for grant funding for investment following project proposals.

“We told Sainsbury’s loud and clear: your model will bring about disempowerment. We are extremely concerned about the power and control that Sainsbury’s seeks to exert over us. We work for, OWN our product and OWN our premium. We see the proposed approach as an attempt to replace the autonomous role which Fairtrade brings and replace it with a model which no longer balances the power between producers and buyers.”
– Open letter from tea producers of the East and Central Africa and Southern Africa Networks of Fairtrade Africa


Send Sainsbury’s CEO Mike Coupe an email via Global Justice Now

Sign the Change.org petition to Sainsbury’s CEO Mike Coupe

Contact Mike Coupe directly by email

Tweet Sainsbury at @Sainsburys

Send a letter to Mike Coupe: Mr Mike Coupe, Chief Executive, J Sainsbury’s, Sainsbury’s Store Support Centre, 33 Holborn, London EC1N 2HT

Statements from other organisations:

Sainsbury’s announcement
An open letter to Sainsbury’s from Fairtrade producers
Fairtrade Foundation statement on their withdrawal from proposed partnership with Sainsbury’s
Traidcraft statement on Sainsbury’s announcement of a pilot ‘Fairly Traded’ tea programme
Divine Chocolate statement regarding the announcement that Sainsbury’s is switching from Fairtrade certification to its own “fairly traded” programme
Oxfam reaction to Sainsbury’s launch of Fairly Traded pilot project
Fairtrade Foundation FAQs about Sainsbury’s Foundation and Fairtrade

Article by John Vidal in Guardian:

Move by UK supermarkets threatens to bring Fairtrade crashing down

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