Sainsbury's is the largest retailer of Fairtrade products in the UK. But they’ve decided to drop the Fairtrade Mark from their own-brand tea and replace it with their own 'Fairly Traded' label instead.
Sainsbury’s has abandoned Fairtrade certification to set up its own pilot scheme, saying they want to secure their supply chain. ‘Fairly Traded’ sounds a lot like Fairtrade, but it doesn’t have the same gold standards. It is self-run by Sainsbury’s but most importantly it takes control away from tea farmers.
The new scheme is untested, unverified and unwanted and the ‘Fairly Traded’ label is likely to mislead customers. I’ve started this petition because we can’t let Sainsbury’s undermine Fairtrade’s incredible impact on the lives of millions of farmers. 'Fairly Traded' is not my cup of tea!
Over 220,000 tea producers are affected by Sainsbury’s decision and their concerns about it have been blatantly ignored. In an open letter to Sainsbury’s*, farmers said: ‘We told Sainsbury’s loud and clear: your model will bring about disempowerment. We are extremely concerned about the power and control that Sainsbury’s seeks to exert over us.’
Under the pilot scheme, the cash bonus that farmers receive on top of what they earn for their tea (similar to the Fairtrade Premium) no longer goes directly to them. Instead, their money is held by Sainsbury’s, who have instructed farmers to apply to a Board in London to find out whether they can have it.
I’ve supported Fairtrade for many years because it is an internationally respected, farmer-owned certification scheme with over 20 years of experience fighting for a fairer deal for millions of farmers in developing countries. Fairtrade ensures that a company’s supply chain is independently checked against farmer-set standards. That’s why the Fairtrade Mark is the most recognised and trusted ethical label in the world.
So please sign this petition and tell Sainsbury’s Chief Executive Mike Coupe: don’t ditch Fairtrade! If we make it very clear we only support Fairtrade tea, we can make him reconsider.
This petition is supported by: Oxfam, Cafod, Christian Aid, Traidcraft Exchange, Tearfund, Trade Justice Movement and Commitment for Life.
*You can read the open letter from tea farmers to Sainsbury’s here.