Fairtrade calls on supermarket watchdog to do more for farmers overseas

Today, 27 June 2016, the Fairtrade Foundation responded to the Groceries Code Adjudicator's survey and annual conference.

As the annual Groceries Code Adjudicator conference is held today, 27 June 2016, the Fairtrade Foundation urges the supermarket watchdog to do more for exporters and farmers based in developing countries, who are at the sharp end of unfair trading in supply chains.

This year’s Annual Sector Survey revealed:

  • Only 54% of overseas direct suppliers were aware of the existence of the GCA compared with 94% inside the UK.
  • 62% of respondents said they had experienced an issue in the past year compared to 70% in 2015
  • However, as with last year, only 47% of direct suppliers said they would report breaches to the GCA for fear of losing business.

Positive findings showed that 62% of indirect suppliers said they would raise an issue compared with 41% in 2015 and the Fairtrade Foundation urges the GCA to continue raising awareness across the groceries’ supply chain.

The Groceries Code Adjudicator Network (GCAN), an independent coalition of NGOs, unions and food associations, of which the Fairtrade Foundation is a member, would like fair trading practices, such as paying suppliers on time and in full, to be enforced at every level of the supply chain.

Shivani Reddy, Senior Policy Manager, the Fairtrade Foundation, said: “Suppliers take vast hits to their businesses when supermarkets suddenly cancel orders or delay payments, but they are still too scared of losing contracts to report them. 

“At the sharp end of international trade, farmers in poor countries are particularly vulnerable to unfair trading by retailers in the UK, risking ruin when orders are cancelled and crops are left to rot. And many are not even aware of the GCA. To truly stamp out unfair trading, overseas suppliers must have a voice.” 

The Fairtrade Foundation would like the GCA to gather stronger intelligence on the industry, and extend its remit to ensure that fair trading relationships are supported at all levels, including overseas.


Members of the GCA include:

Fairtrade Foundation, Fairtrade Wales, Traidcraft, Feedback, War on Want, Friends of the Earth, Sustain, Bananalink, Bakers and Allied Food Workers Union, Unite, National Farmers Union, NFU Scotland, Land Workers' Alliance, Food Ethics Council, Global Justice Now, Oxfam, RSPB, Ethical Consumer, Tenant Farmers Association, British Independent Fruit Growers Association, Church of England, Think Global, Food Foundation

For more information contact:

Susannah Henty

Media and PR Manager

020 7440 8597


About Fairtrade:

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