01 Nov Don’t Ditch Fairtrade
On Saturday 28th October four members of Keswick Fair Trade Campaign stood outside Sainsbury’s in Cockermouth: they talked to customers and collected signatures on a letter to the store manager. The letter called attention of the manager to the concerns of those who shopped at his branch to the moves Sainsbury’s is making away from their long-term commitment to Fairtrade.
Sainsbury’s abandoned Fairtrade certification on some of their own-brand tea products and pilot their own ‘Fairly Traded’ scheme instead. Over 80,000 people have signed a petition asking Sainsbury’s to reconsider their plans.
While Sainsbury’s has claimed the ‘Fairly Traded’ scheme operates in a similar way to Fairtrade, small scale tea producers say they are concerned that they will lose control over how the money made from their goods can be spent. A big difference with Sainsbury’s proposed scheme is that, while the supermarket says it would continue to pay the social premium, the Sainsbury’s Foundation would decide how it is spent, rather than the communities themselves. Producers would have to apply to the Sainsbury’s foundations for grants to access the premium
A quarter of a million African farmers have protested these changes in an open letter to Sainsbury’s. They said, “As producers we believe that we have the best understanding of our local context and what is needed to make our businesses and communities thrive. Our destiny must be kept in our hands.”