Waitrose has announced it would extend its commitment to Fairtrade produce by making all of its own-label tea Fairtrade certified by October 2017.
This will mean all of Waitrose’s 46 tea products will be certified, an increase on the 43 that are already certified. The three additional teas that will convert to the certification are Waitrose’s Earl Grey tea range.
This means the tea farmers are benefiting from good working conditions, a fair deal and funds to spend on their local community.
Farmers can also choose how to spend the premium generated, whether on developing their business or on community projects such as schools, health clinics or leisure facilities.
“We’re proud supporters of the Fairtrade Foundation and have seen first-hand their strong track record of supporting farmers who most need it,” Waitrose commercial director Rupert Thomas said.
“We’ve found that our customers are extremely loyal towards Fairtrade products and appreciate our long-standing and continued commitment – it highlights the investment in and support for the people, communities and businesses that produce our food.”
The news comes as Sainsbury’s faces controversy for ditching the initiative for its own, in-house “Fairly Traded” campaign instead.
Forty MPs from both sides of the political spectrum, alongside shareholders and an 85,000-signature petition, have urged Sainsbury’s to stick with Fairtrade.
Waitrose said it currently stocks 250 Fairtrade-certified products, including 100 per cent of its own-label specialty sugars along with the majority of its own-label block chocolate.
Meanwhile, the Co-op recently made the switch to 100 per cent Fairtrade cocoa for over 200 products – from the sprinkles on its doughnuts to chocolate tortes.