CO-OP ANNOUNCES FURTHER £3M BENEFITS TO FARMING COMMUNITIES

Image of shopper with basket and bananas

Today, at the Co-operative Group’s Annual General Meeting (AGM), The Fairtrade Foundation’s Chief Executive welcomed the retailer’s plans to deliver an additional £3m worth of benefits to Fairtrade farming communities over the next five years.

Speaking at the AGM, Michael Gidney, Chief Executive, Fairtrade Foundation, said:

“As one of our longest standing Fairtrade champions, the Co-op has helped to transform the lives of people in farming communities worldwide and this additional £3m commitment is further fantastic news for farmers. These new commitments mean farmers and workers in the Fairtrade system will gain greater opportunities to access the UK market, benefit from increased sales and Premium funds, resulting in greater investment back into their businesses and communities. We thank the Co-op’s management, members and customers for their continued support and look forward to working together more to achieve the most impact for Fairtrade producers.”
Since last year’s AGM the Co-operative has continued to lead the way for Fairtrade across a range of products, converting its entire sugar range and own-brand chocolate Easter eggs to be 100% Fairtrade. It is also the largest retailer of Fairtrade wine, which delivers two thirds of all sales in the UK. To celebrate the innovative Growing Stories website, which enables people to find out more about their food by communicating directly with producers, today, any messages shared on the site will see the Co-operative donate £5 to an extra development fund for producers. 

           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 1.65 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 UKincluding 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 continues to be high in 2014, at a level of 78%. Estimated retail sales of Fairtrade products in 2015 exceeded £1.6billion.