Sir, Rumours of Fairtrade’s impending demise might have been exaggerated in your article. Fairtrade works with over a million farmers and workers in Africa and the Middle East, a quarter of a million more across Latin America and more than 250k in Asia and the Pacific. We also continue to work with more than 400 businesses in the UK.
Volumes of Fairtrade products sold in 2016 bucked the contracting grocery market trend and the falling pound, seeing strong growth across core categories including bananas, coffee, wine and gold. Increased volumes meant an estimated increase in financial premiums of around £5m. In total, around £30m went to farmers and producers.
This year, the Co-op revealed it will go the extra mile on cocoa sourcing on Fairtrade terms. Greggs has also recently increased its commitment to Fairtrade - now selling coffee, tea and bananas and new herbal teas. We continue to work closely with Ben & Jerry’s.
Tesco is clear it won’t be dropping Fairtrade on its own label coffee. What’s more, all its Finest roast and ground coffee continues to be Fairtrade and Fairtrade is working with it to introduce further SKUs in other product categories.
All decisions about Fairtrade are made with the producers we represent and are 50% owned by, and we will continue to enter into new innovative partnerships with companies. But they have to be value aligned and we must be convinced there is significant benefit for producers.
James Bennett, head of commercial partnerships, Fairtrade Foundation