Co-op helps create a nation of Fairtrade shoppers
In its latest retailer first, Co-op today (24th February) has announced it is further pioneering Fairtrade through its unique ingredients policy, whereby all the bananas, tea and coffee used across its entire own brand product range will benefit Fairtrade producers and their communities.
The latest announcement follows its move last year to be the first to commit to sourcing all the cocoa used in Co-op own brand production on Fairtrade terms and means that the retailer is 100% aligned across Fairtrade’s own key four food commodities.
“This year we are focusing on increasing our sourcing of core Fairtrade commodities to drive further Fairtrade Premium to producer communities and building further our customer relationships with them, through further investments of our own.”
The latest announcement follows the Co-op’s recent move to be first in the world to adopt the new Fairtrade Sourced Ingredient program on flowers, meaning that all the African roses Co-op sources for use across its entire flower range will return a Fairtrade Premium. Some 35 million Co-op rose stems a year are now certified as Fairtrade.
There are noticeable concerns around the introduction of more ethical schemes, claiming varying, untested benefits. Consumers could easily confuse these schemes with Fairtrade, and mistake other programmes for offering the same level of impact, and the independent assurance of Fairtrade.
However, with 23 per cent of consumers saying that they completely understand the term Fairtrade, and 49 per cent having some understanding, by demonstrating impact and difference Fairtrade is in a good place to continue to maintain and build on its shoppers.
Brad adds: “We know the more fairly traded certifications that are introduced the more confusion this is causing for consumers. And we know that this is hindering the market development of Fairtrade. As producers continue to tell us that Fairtrade is the most effective certification for them in a mainstream market, and is the only certification to empower those producers and pay a minimum price and Premium, we need to do what we can to really show customers the benefits to communities by making the Fairtrade choice.
“So we believe the right approach is to build upon the success of Fairtrade. That’s why in addition to our sourcing commitment we are investing directly to extend further the benefits of our trading relationships. We are embarking in new projects with our coffee farmers in Brazil, tea farmers in Malawi and banana farmers in Dominican Republic.”
In recent years and going over and above paying a Fairtrade Premium, Co-op has extended its reach further with its own ‘beyond Fairtrade’ programme, which has provided additional support to farmers, co-operatives and producer associations across Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, giving workers access to fair pay, helping to build classrooms, medical facilities and bring clean water to homes.
*Co-op research of 2,033 respondents, conducted in December 2017
** Where consumers recognsie the Fairtrade Mark and would be able to explain the meaning behind it, how it differs from non-Fairtrade products, and how the purchase of a Fairtrade product helps others
Blooming Marvellous: Co-op Champions Fairtrade Roses With Latest Conversion
The Co-op becomes the first retailer to only use 100% Fairtrade roses when sourced from Africa in all of its flower bouquets.
The move will see almost 35 million Fairtrade roses being sourced from Africa each year for Co-op after it extended its commitment beyond all single and rose bouquets to any bouquet featuring a rose from Africa.
As well as returning an additional Fairtrade Premium to growers, to mark the new sourcing initiative Co-op will make a donation of £30k to help fund a Graduate Nursing Programme in a community hospital in Kenya. The cash will help struggling graduate nurses to find employment and offer training around increased patient care. In turn, this will deliver a much needed improvement in the maternity service currently available to the flower growing communities around Naivasha where the nurse to patient ratio is as high as 60:1.
Co-op has been a leading force in championing Fairtrade over the last 20 years and is the first retailer to sign up to the new international Fairtrade Sourcing Ingredients model for flowers. The programme allows businesses to commit to sourcing one or more Fairtrade commodities for use as ingredients in finished products and replicates last year’s Co-op’s commitment on Fairtrade cocoa sourcing.
Brad Hill, Fairtrade Strategy Manager at Co-op, said: “We are proud to be able to bring to market the first roses under the new Fairtrade Sourcing Programme. Fairtrade guarantees growers in developing countries a better life and a brighter future and we will continually look for ways and areas that we can develop to help make positive impact and life changes for farmers in developing countries.
"From selling the UK’s first Fairtrade bananas and the world’s very first own-brand product with the Fairtrade Mark, through to making entire own-brand categories Fairtrade
(including chocolate, sugar, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, bananas, roses, wine and even cotton wool) we have continued to drive the benefits of Fairtrade and alongside roses. We, our customers and our members, continue to recognise the strength and value to producers of the Fairtrade Mark and we will be increasing our sourcing of the other core Fairtrade commodities to drive further Fairtrade Premium to producer communities."
Eliza Ward, Senior Partnership Manager at The Fairtrade Foundation, said: “It is fantastic to see Co-op become the first retailer to make all their African sourced roses 100% Fairtrade. The Fairtrade premium paid by Co-op is allowing growers in Kenya to invest in their community including building medical facilities and classrooms.
“Today, UK consumers have a wide choice of Fairtrade flowers and bouquets to choose from, only possible due to the continuing support of committed retailers like Co-op.
“With Fairtrade Fortnight starting on February 26 we would encourage everyone, the next time they want to treat a loved one to some beautiful blooms, to consider making 2018 the year they commit to buying Fairtrade.”
Co-op has added a wide range of beautiful Fairtrade flower bouquets for Valentine’s Day this year, from a Fairtrade red rose bouquet (£20) to a single Fairtrade red rose in a vase (£6.50), both new to the retailer’s Irresistible premium range.
We announce our sponsorship of the Fairtrade Foundation’s Fairtrade Schools Award
We’re pleased to announce that for the next academic year we’ll be supporting the Fairtrade Schools Award.
The Fairtrade School Award offers a great opportunity for students to learn about global issues like where their food comes from, how they are connected to people around the world and the difference that trading fairly makes.
Jo Milis, Education Manager at the Fairtrade Foundation says;
There are almost 1200 schools with a Fairtrade School Award across the country, with over a million students involved in the programme.
Our store colleagues love sharing Fairtrade in their communities, so working with the Fairtrade Schools Award and sharing Fairtrade with the next generation, is a perfect fit for us.
“We are delighted to be able to work together with Co-op, who have been such a big supporter of the Fairtrade School Awards from the beginning. Bringing Co-op staff and schools together will help to support more schools on their Fairtrade journey by hearing real stories about Fairtrade.”
To find out more about the Fairtrade Schools Award: schools.fairtrade.org.uk/fairtrade-schools-awards/
We are proud to announce that from May 2017, we will become the first UK retailer to sell and use only Fairtrade cocoa in all of our products, from the chocolate sprinkles on our doughnuts to the chocolate chips in our Irresistible Triple Chocolate Cookies.
Working in partnership with the Fairtrade Foundation to create a new sourcing model, the landmark move means that all cocoa in our own-brand ranges will be bought entirely through a new retail-ready version of Fairtrade's Cocoa Sourcing Program, which has been developed over the last 12 months in collaboration with the Foundation.
This commitment will bring back an additional £450k in Fairtrade Premiums to cocoa farmers every year and will bring not just security through a minimum prices, but also social and economic benefits to cocoa farmers.
The move follows the news that all our own-brand chocolate confectionery range now carries the Fairtrade Mark – from chocolate bars and gift boxes to chocolate buttons and seasonal novelties.
Set to be worth an estimated £7.1m* to the industry, our commitment will generate £450,000 in Fairtrade Premium per annum** for cocoa communities, ensuring that money goes directly in to the hands of the farmers.
The switch will include over 200 of our Co-op products, will be completed by the end of May 2017. It will see a five-fold rise in the amount of Fairtrade cocoa sourced by the retailer, taking the total tonnage from 526 to 2,848 tonnes.
Our Growing Stories campaign ran in 2016, connecting customers and members directly with our Fairtrade producers online. The campaign raised £50K in total, through a social media and we’re thrilled to see the first funded project begin this month.
The first round of money (£25k) went to Aguadas co-operative in Colombia, made up of 5,000 smallholder coffee producers. Our Co-op Colombian coffee comes from Aguadas and has done since 2003.
Aguadas are using the funding to run a food education project for 130 women in their community. The women are being trained in business skills, leadership, food safety and how to manage community gardens. They will go on to share their learnings with the wider community through a schools education programme.
All the women have now been selected to take part and training is underway and the course includes leadership and team work skills, food handling and entrepreneurship focused on gender equality.
The women taking the course, along with their families, created a mural to celebrate the start of the project and the coming together of the community to improve health and sustainability. They also designed a symbolic logo for the project: a hand represents the women, the plant to represents their training and the circle to represent the projects sustainability.
To learn more about Aguadas Coffee Co-operative, Colombia go to their Facebook page