As part of the ‘Don’t ditch Fairtrade’ weekend campaign on 28th October, Frome residents delivered a petition to Steve Jones, Sainsbury’s Frome Manager to challenge Sainsbury’s decision to abandon the Fairtrade mark on some of its own-brand tea in favour of its own scheme.
Fairtrade Frome members Judy Annan and Ann Taylor who organised the event, said: “It’s estimated nearly a quarter of a million tea farmers and workers will be affected by this move. We wanted to bring attention to the residents of Frome the ‘Don’t Ditch Fairtrade’ campaign and the fact that Sainsbury’s is changing their stance to Fairtrade. British tea drinkers account for three-quarters of Fairtrade tea sales globally, with Sainsbury’s as the world’s largest retailer of Fairtrade. Sainsbury’s has previously been a true leader in the retail sector with their support of Fairtrade products, making a real difference to the lives of workers and their families in some of the world’s poorest countries. We’d like them to reconsider this step away from Fairtrade for their own-brand tea.”
Fairtrade guarantees tea producers receive an additional premium payment – on top of the price for their tea – to invest in their businesses and communities as they see fit. Frome campaigners are concerned that tea farmers will lose control of the social premium they would earn under Sainsbury’s alternative scheme, with suppliers instead having to apply to a UK-based board for their funding.
The protests are part of a nationwide campaign supported by CAFOD, Christian Aid, The Women’s Institute, Traidcraft Exchange and Tearfund calling on the supermarket to reconsider this pilot scheme.
Fairtrade Frome also said stated “We’re worried that standards will be controlled by Sainsbury’s – and are not set independently. Tea farmers will not be represented in the scheme’s governance – a stark contrast to Fairtrade certification where producers are part of deciding how standards are set, monitored and reviewed.”
Fairtrade Frome was established as the 11th Fairtrade town in Britain more than 15 years ago and has encouraged Sainsbury’s from the very beginning to include Fairtrade goods in their store.
To find out more about us check out our website here fairtradefrome.org.uk