The announcement that Sainsbury's and Asda plan to merge, means that, if permitted, it will create the biggest supermarket chain in the UK. The new business will have unprecedented power with regard to both consumers and suppliers, and this will bring with it high expectations and responsibilities. In today's world, businesses have clear duties to uphold the common good and our shared ambitions for a fair, sustainable future.
Fairtrade's hope is that ambitious ethical commitments, including existing Fairtrade commitments will be extended across both chains, in line with consumer demand for Fairtrade. The new business would have an unprecedented opportunity to invest for fairness and sustainability, delivering more for the farmers and workers that we all rely on, building on Sainsbury's existing position as the world's largest Fairtrade retailer.
At the same time, the merger could further reduce choice for both consumers and suppliers, including Fairtrade producers. Sainsbury's has suggested that significant savings are being sought, and this could lead to increased price pressure in a grocery market which is already highly competitive. It is important to ask what commitments the new business will make to avoid passing price pressure onto farmers and workers around the world, many of whom still live in conditions of poverty level incomes, but rather to increase investment to end poverty and other problems affecting those who grow our food.
Note to editors
Fairtrade commitments ensure that whatever the retail price, farmers receive at least the Fairtrade minimum price or the market price if higher, plus a Fairtrade premium. It is one way to mitigate against extreme price pressure, and to invest positively in tackling poverty, human rights and environmental sustainability.