Fairtrade Foundation announces 'First of its Kind' partnership with Waitrose
The Fairtrade Foundation and Waitrose have today (20 February) announced a new partnership - the first of its kind between a retail business and the Fairtrade Foundation - in the run-up to the annual Fairtrade Fortnight campaign (23 February - 8 March 2015).
The partnership establishes a new and collaborative way of working together whereby Fairtrade and Waitrose will share best practice, experiences and a joint ambition to build upon sustainable supply chain models.
At Waitrose, it will mean that as well as its wide and ever-growing range of Fairtrade-certified products, the work of the Waitrose Foundation will be recognised and validated by the Fairtrade Foundation - the first time the organisation will verify a third-party scheme.
The Fairtrade Foundation will provide guidance to the Waitrose Foundation as it expands the trading model into countries and regions where it does not currently operate, but where Fairtrade has experience.
Michael Gidney, Chief Executive of the Fairtrade Foundation, said: 'The objective of the new partnership is to work together to increase the social and economic impact of our respective supply networks, recognising the vital role that business now plays within the international development agenda.
'We are proud to work with Waitrose, which has been a pioneer of fair and ethical trading and has a long track record of stocking Fairtrade products, regularly extending and refreshing its Fairtrade offering.
'Mark Price, Managing Director of Waitrose, said: 'Treating people fairly is at the heart of everything we do and - whether it's our customers, our Partners, the communities we operate in or the suppliers we work with - we endeavour always to behave responsibly.
'We're celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Waitrose Foundation this year and it's a great accolade to have Fairtrade Foundation support our work.
'By combining Fairtrade's expertise in this area with our retail operation, we believe we will be able to deliver greater benefits to the producers and suppliers with whom we both work and together demonstrate the future of fair trading.
'The FAIRTRADE Mark is the most recognised ethical label in the UK market and is the only independent assurance which pays a minimum price to farmers that aims to cover the cost of sustainable production, as well as an extra Fairtrade Premium. Farmers and workers can invest this additional amount as they choose, in their business or in social projects that benefit their community.
'As well as supporting Fairtrade products, Waitrose launched its Foundation ten years ago to help improve the lives of workers and the communities supplying products such as citrus fruits, avocados, mangoes and flowers. The initiative democratically shares profits from Waitrose, the importer and exporter to support educational, social and healthcare projects and is active in communities in Ghana, Kenya and South Africa with plans for the supply chain collaboration model to expand. Over 450 programmes have been launched. For example in Kenya, re-used shipping containers have been used to open two hairdresser and community shop businesses in Kenya as well as solar street lighting, allowing local businesses to open longer and the community to feel safer at night.
'There is also good evidence to suggest that with a strengthened partnership with Fairtrade will be popular with Waitrose shoppers. A recent customer survey found that 84% of shoppers attribute the FAIRTRADE Mark with high product integrity and 83% believe it demonstrates trustworthy provenance.'
'It is encouraging to see that retailers with vision are exploring new and innovative ways of working with the Fairtrade Foundation in order to benefit producers in developing countries and embedding these practices into a 'business as usual' approach. Research shows that the British public want retailers to do the right thing by their suppliers1, so we look forward to this journey with Waitrose and hope that it may set a precedent that other companies will wish to emulate,' says Michael Gidney.
Notes to editors
About the Fairtrade Foundation:
The Fairtrade Foundation is an independent certification body which licenses the use of the FAIRTRADE Mark on products which meet international Fairtrade standards. This independent consumer label appears on products to show that disadvantaged producers are getting a better deal from trade. Today, more than 1.5 million people – farmers and workers – across more than 74 developing countries benefit from the international Fairtrade system.
Public awareness of the FAIRTRADE Mark continues to be high in 2014, at a level of 77%. Estimated retail sales of Fairtrade products in 2013 exceeded £1.7 billion, a 12% increase on sales of £1.53 billion in 2012.
About Waitrose and the Waitrose Foundation:
Waitrose are proud supporters of Fairtrade and at the end of last year switched the entire range of its seven own-label speciality baking sugars to Fairtrade, benefitting small-scale farmers in Mauritius.Waitrose switched all their bananas to Fairtrade in February 2007. Since then, they have progressively converted their tea, coffee, wine, chocolate and sugar to the certification.
The Waitrose Foundation, launched in 2005, is the supermarket's innovative supply chain collaboration model that has been active in countries including Kenya and South Africa for the past 10 years. It engages and strengthens workers and their communities to take a role and shared responsibility in their development, a model that resonates with the ethos of the Fairtrade Foundation and that requires engagement, both financially and operationally from all actors of the supply chain.
The Waitrose Foundation exemplifies the John Lewis Partnership's unique business constitution, ensuring that Waitrose business relationships are conducted with integrity and contribute to the wellbeing of communities within which they operate, whether that be in the UK or overseas.
As well as offering a wide range of Fairtrade certified product the new joint venture will ensure the principles of the Fairtrade Foundation are active in products procured through the Waitrose Foundation model.
Waitrose - the Nation's Favourite Supermarket¹ and winner of the Best Supermarket² and Best Food and Grocery Retailer³ awards- currently has 336 shops in England, Scotland, Wales and the Channel Islands, including 60 convenience branches, and another 28 shops at Welcome Break locations. It combines the convenience of a supermarket with the expertise and service of a specialist shop - dedicated to offering quality food that has been responsibly sourced, combined with high standards of customer service. Waitrose also exports its products to 50 countries worldwide and has seven shops in the Middle East.(www.waitrose.com).
¹ Conlumino Awards, 2014
² Good Housekeeping Best Supermarket 2014, Which? Best Supermarket 2014
³ Verdict Best Food and Grocery Retailer 2014
1 A Eurobarometer poll released earlier this year found that 60% of UK citizens would be prepared to pay an additional 5% or more for groceries that support people in developing countries, such as Fairtrade (this compares with an EU average of 49%).
For further information please contact:
Head of Media Relations, Fairtrade Foundation
Telephone: 020 7440 7686
Senior Press Officer at Waitrose
Telephone: 01344 826182