News: What are Sainsbury’s up to?
4 July, 2017
Sainsbury’s are pulling out of Fairtrade on their own label teas. They plan to substitute
Fairtrade for their own version called ‘Fairly Traded’ which as you may imagine is a watered down version of Fairtrade. The Fairtrade Foundation have the full story here. Add your support to stop this and sign the petition
This is what we’ve written to Sainsbury’s Superstore at Westwood Cross.
Mr Darren Turner
Sainsbury’s Thanet Westwood Cross Superstore
CT12 5FJ 29th June 2017
Dear Mr Turner,
Many of us have been loyal customers of Sainsbury’s over the years because of your support for Fairtrade. When talking to the public we cite Sainsbury’s as a leader, among the large supermarkets, in supporting Fairtrade.
A team of volunteers in Thanet continue tirelessly to promote Fairtrade in a variety of ways. For example, recently we have talked to Beaver Scouts, retirement groups and held a Community Choir Festival. In July we will spend a day at Hartsdown Academy with Year 7 students and staff. We receive very positive feedback, with audiences interested in supporting Fairtrade because of the positive benefits Fairtrade provides for farmers, both economically and socially in developing countries.
We are therefore concerned and disappointed to hear that Sainsbury’s is taking a step backwards from Fairtrade, with the launch of the new Sainsbury’s Fairly Traded initiative. It is clear, from reading about the details of this scheme, that it fails to live up to the principles of Fairtrade as embodied in the international Fairtrade certification standards.
In particular, by putting the “Social Premium” under the control of Sainsbury’s Foundation, and forcing producer communities to apply for grant funding in order to spend this premium, Sainsbury’s is taking control away from its producers. This is a massive retrograde step, and smacks of the patronising and paternalistic attitude that characterised the era of colonialism.
We are glad to hear that Sainsbury’s will still stock Fairtrade products, but your claim to be continuing to support Fairtrade has a hollow ring to it when you are actively undermining Fairtrade, by launching this unnecessary and meaningless competitor, and refusing to submit your “Fairly Traded” products to the independent certification which is a vital part of maintaining the integrity of the Fairtrade Mark. Could you explain what you think is deficient in the existing system of Fairtrade certification, and why you have decided to declare war on the international Fairtrade movement rather than working with it to improve things.
We hope that the pilot scheme you have announced will be thoroughly and independently assessed, and that you will make the results of that assessment public. Until that happens, we remain to be convinced. We will not be buying any products from your “Fairly Traded” range and will encourage others to do the same.