Saturday 11th May – World Fair Trade Day!

Saturday May 11, 2024

Today is World Fairtrade Day; The purpose of this day is to celebrate the contributions to the fight against poverty, exploitation, and climate change.

The Fair Trade movement is all about ensuring that workers around the globe are treated fairly with decent wages and working conditions. There are thousands of people currently working in unfavourable conditions and being paid poorly. It shouldn’t matter where someone lives, everyone deserves to be treated with respect.

As a Co-operative, our founding values mean we support the wider principles of fair trading and the aims of the World Fair Trade Organization and Fair Trade Charter.

However, with a predominantly small shop estate and as a food focused business, we can’t sell all the Fairtrade certified or Fair Trade products we would like.

Our key products are as follows

Coffee

Coffee has been an important part of the history in pioneering Fairtrade.

Coffee prices were at a 30-year low in 2003 and farmers were struggling to afford to grow coffee. That’s when the Co-op decided to switch our entire own brand range to Fairtrade – a first for any retailer. We’ve since supported thousands of smallholder coffee farmers by funding programmes in Kenya and Brazil.

Cocoa

Fairtrade cocoa simply wasn’t widely available before 2000 and it’s been a story of continual progress, supporting smallholder farmers in Peru, The Dominican Republic, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.

In May 2017, the Co-op became the first UK retailer to source all of our cocoa on Fairtrade terms. Every spoonful of cocoa we use, from the chocolate sprinkles on our doughnuts through to the chocolate chips in our Irresistible cookies, is benefitting Fairtrade cocoa farmers. Our commitment contributes around £450,000 per year in Fairtrade Premium to farmers across West Africa and Central America.

Co-op was the first UK supermarket to stock own brand Fairtrade chocolate. By 2002 all our own brand chocolate was Fairtrade, and we haven’t looked back. Because we know where our cocoa beans from, we’re continuing to build lasting relationships with farmers, and we’ve seen the positive impact Fairtrade can have on individuals and communities, providing new schools, water pipelines or better access to medical care.

Tea

Fancy a brew to celebrate over 29 years of Fairtrade?

All Co-op own brand tea is Fairtrade and has been since 2008. Our 99 Tea was the UK’s first retailer Fairtrade own brand tea and we are committed to sourcing 100% Fairtrade tea to this day. We’ve also supported tens of thousands of tea smallholder farmers, workers and their communities in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.

 

Sugar

We’ve been championing Fairtrade sugar since 2004 and continue to do so. All the bagged sugar on our shelves (both own-brand and branded) is Fairtrade and has been for since 2016. Working in collaboration with Tate & Lyle Sugars we have supported smallholder farmers in Belize to improve human rights and working conditions.

 

Bananas

Thanks a bunch for over 29 years of Fairtrade. We’ve gone beyond Fairtrade by investing in programmes to support smallholder farmer resilience and livelihoods by improving productivity in Colombia and the Dominican Republic.

In 2000 we put the UK’s first Fairtrade bananas on our shelves. In 2012 we switched all our bananas to Fairtrade and launched our unique banana sourcing model committing to 100% supply from banana co-operatives with at least 50% sourced from smallholder farmers

In 2018, we committed that whenever Co-op uses bananas as an ingredient, Fairtrade farmers and workers will benefit.

Fairtrade Wine

Let’s raise a glass to our retailer firsts in Fairtrade wine! In 2001 we were the first retailer to launch an own-brand fairly traded wine, the Co-op Chilean Carmenere.

Fourteen years later, in 2015 we were delighted to take the place of the largest Fairtrade wine seller worldwide, and in 2022 we proudly announced that all of the South African wine, across branded and own label is now Fairtrade, another industry first! And to further strengthen our commitment to the South African wine industry, we have invested £800k into Fairroots, a start-up winery in Olifants River South Africa.

In 2001 we were the first retailer to launch an own-brand fair trade wine, the Co-op Chilean Carmenere in partnership with Traidcraft.

In 2004, the Chilean Carmenere became the first Fairtrade certified wine in the world.

In 2015 we sold our 50 millionth bottle of Fairtrade wine and became the largest seller of Fairtrade wine in the world.