Finance & Innovation

Tell Sainsbury’s: Don’t Ditch Fairtrade!

Neil Palmer / CIAT via Flickr.

For over 20 years, the Fairtrade movement has made a huge difference to the lives of farmers and producers in developing countries. From bananas to coffee, any item marked with the Fairtrade logo is guaranteed to have met important production standards such as humane conditions for workers, and environmental sustainability.

But now, when you buy some of the most popular Sainsbury’s teas, you won’t be able to enjoy your cuppa in the knowledge that it has been produced to Fairtrade’s standards. Last year, Sainsbury’s decided to remove Fairtrade certification from some of its own-brand tea, instead replacing it with their own ‘Fairly Traded’ label — a new pilot scheme run by Sainsbury’s itself.

This sets a very dangerous precedent. The new scheme is untested, unverified, and tea producers worldwide are concerned they will be disempowered as a result. But so far, their worries have been ignored.

Right now, Fairtrade farmers receive a well-deserved cash bonus for their work — money they can choose to invest in whatever their community needs most, from schools, hospitals and clean drinking water to local businesses. But under the new scheme, Sainsbury’s will force farmers to apply to a London-based advisory board for this money, shifting power away from individual farmers, back to big business.

The label is also likely to mislead customers. ‘Fairly Traded’ sounds a lot like Fairtrade, but it does not come with the same independent assurance that farmers are getting the best deal.

Sign the petition calling on Sainsbury’s to return to Fairtrade certification, and then email and tweet the CEO Mike Coupe directly with one clear message: your ‘Fairly Traded’ label is #NotMyCupOfTea! If you’re a Sainsbury’s customer, remember to state this in your email — the supermarket will not want to lose your business, and your message could have more impact.