Fairtrade operates in some of the most challenging supply chains globally, where incomes for farmers and workers are often low and working conditions difficult.
Our Partnership believes farmers and workers in supply chains deserve to earn a fair price for their work and benefit from good working conditions. Fairtrade certification supports this ambition by encouraging better production methods, enabling democratic participation, ensuring fair pricing and improved working conditions and additional community investment through the Fairtrade Minimum Price and the Fairtrade Premium. Producer Networks also participate in the research, consultation, and decision making process of the Fairtrade standards directly, which includes governing minimum prices and premiums for each commodity.
Waitrose was one of the first supermarkets to stock Fairtrade products and now offers the largest range of Fairtrade own-label products of any high street supermarket in the UK. 100% of our Waitrose Own Label bananas, coffee, tea, sugar, and cocoa in confectionery are Fairtrade. Many of these best loved categories are produced by smallholders or small-scale farmers. Smallholders are often particularly vulnerable to market price fluctuations (that can fall below the cost of production and the level needed to provide a decent livelihood) and, increasingly, to the impacts of climate change. As such they particularly need support to ensure the resilience of their businesses in the future. In 2022, we generated a Fairtrade premium of over £2.3million through the sale of Fairtrade certified Waitrose own-label products, supporting producers to improve their farming techniques and providing support to communities globally.
As part of certification, farmers in the Fairtrade system develop skills to better manage their crop, increase output, and develop their business. However, there is more to be done; that’s why we are supporting additional programme work with Fairtrade to address challenges faced by smallholders. Find out more about Waitrose’s relationship with Fairtrade here.