Sainsbury’s has taken the globally-known Fairtrade mark off its tea and replaced it with its own lesser scheme, ‘Fairly Traded’. It’s a test, already spotted on shelves in some stores, and if it works, Tesco is reported to be ready to do the same.
Why is Sainsbury's ditching fairtrade tea?
They want to take control of how the ‘social premium’ is spent. This is the extra money farmers get for social projects under the fairtrade system, and which the farmers themselves collectively decide how to spend.
Why we should stop this
The new scheme is untested, unverified and unwanted, plus the ‘Fairly Traded’ label is likely to mislead customers. But most importantly it takes control away from tea farmers.
Fairtrade producers in Africa have written Sainsbury’s an open letter of protest. “We are extremely concerned about the power and control that Sainsbury's seeks to exert over us”, they say. “Your model will bring about disempowerment”. One African producer told The Guardian: “We feel that our rights are being taken away from us, this feels like colonialism.”