Co-operative commitment to Fairtrade remains strong

Tea farmer

Fairtrade responds to media coverage about the Co-operative AGM

The Co-operative Group is one of the UK’s longest-standing and most committed supporters of Fairtrade, sourcing 100 per cent of its own-label tea, coffee, sugar, block chocolate and bananas on Fairtrade terms, as well as being the world’s largest retailer of Fairtrade wines. The public should be in no doubt that the Board has reaffirmed this commitment.

However, it is widely known that the retailer is recovering from an exceptionally difficult period in its history and facing a tough trading climate. Within this context, it has informed its members that it is currently unable to scale-up its Fairtrade offer beyond current levels, but this does not affect existing commitments (Co-op backs off from Fairtrade commitment, 20 April).

We are encouraged by the motion tabled by Co-operative members, which demonstrates that the membership remains firmly behind Fairtrade. We, and the farmers and workers we represent, are hugely grateful for their tireless campaigning over the last 20 years, which has been instrumental in driving awareness of, and demand for, Fairtrade products.

With this continued support, and the first signs that the Co-operative’s fortunes are rising again, we hope that we will soon be able to reignite the common vision that we share with the Co-operative, of a world where more farmers and workers get a fair deal and can build a more sustainable future for themselves, their families and their communities.

ENDS

For more information please contact Nicola Frame, Media & PR Manager on nicola.frame@fairtrade.org.uk or 020 7440 8597, or Eileen Maybin, Head of Media Relations on Eileen.maybin@fairtrade.org.uk or 020 7440 7686 or 07770 957451.

Notes to Editors

The Fairtrade Foundation is an independent certification body which licenses the use of the FAIRTRADE Mark on products which meet international Fairtrade standards. This independent consumer label appears on products to show that disadvantaged producers are getting a better deal from trade. Today, more than 1.5 million people – farmers and workers – across more than 74 developing countries benefit from the international Fairtrade system.

Over 5,000 products have been licensed to carry the FAIRTRADE Mark in the UK including coffee, tea, herbal teas, chocolate, cocoa, sugar, bananas, grapes, pineapples, mangoes, avocados, apples, pears, plums, grapefruit, lemons, oranges, satsumas, clementines, mandarins, lychees, dried fruit, juices, smoothies, biscuits, cakes & snacks, honey, jams & preserves, chutney, rice, quinoa, herbs & spices, seeds, nuts, wines, ales, rum, confectionery, muesli, cereal bars, ice-cream, flowers, sports balls, sugar body scrub and cotton products including clothing, homeware, cotton wool, olive oil, gold, silver and platinum.

Awareness of the FAIRTRADE Mark continued to be high in 2014, at a level of 78%.