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British retailers discussing potential Fairtrade purchasing experiment

British retailers discussing potential Fairtrade purchasing experiment Sainsbury's, Tesco, The Co-operative Group Food and Beverage Business
Supermarkets in the UK are engaging in discussions with the Fairtrade Foundation regarding the initiation of a collective purchasing program for Fairtrade goods.

The Fairtrade Foundation has not disclosed the names of the supermarkets involved but acknowledged ongoing negotiations. Sources familiar with the matter revealed to The Financial Times that Tesco and Sainsbury’s are also partaking in the initiative.

The Fairtrade Foundation’s Shared Impact initiative enables retailers to collectively contribute a Fairtrade premium price to farmers who are part of the program, operating under three- to five-year agreements between both parties.

This initiative aims to benefit farmers producing bananas, cocoa, and coffee from regions such as Colombia in South America, Cote d’Ivoire, and Kenya in Africa. The Fairtrade Foundation anticipates the availability of products under the Shared Impact purchasing scheme on shelves of UK retailers later this year.

The initiative is expected to assist farmers in selling larger quantities of products at a premium price, which they can then utilize to address issues such as low incomes, human rights risks, and deforestation, as stated by Fairtrade.

Last year, the EU proposed a law prohibiting the sale of food products linked to deforestation, including cocoa, palm oil, meat, and soya beans. The legislation is scheduled for implementation by the end of 2024, pending final agreement among several member countries.

In response, Alexander Carnwath, head of public affairs at the Fairtrade Foundation, emphasized the importance of supply chain collaboration in addressing sustainability challenges posed by farming.

Emily Pearce, senior sustainable sourcing and international development manager at The Co-op, expressed the company’s commitment to finding solutions through the Shared Impact pilot to benefit small-scale farmers and workers affected by climate change and volatile commodity prices.

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