What is FAIRTRADE?
Fairtrade is a global movement, which aims to secure better prices, safe working conditions, environmental protection and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers. It has been represented in the UK for over 25 years by the Fairtrade Foundation.
Waitrose believes that farmers and workers in our supply chain deserve to earn a fair price for their work, which is why we support Fairtrade, and have done since 1994, when we became one of the first retailers to stock Fairtrade products.
When a product is certified as Fairtrade, it means the producer has been paid a fairer price – one that never falls below the Fairtrade minimum price, and which matches the market price when it's above this. This creates a safety net to cover the cost of sustainable production.
It also means the producer earns the Fairtrade Premium, an additional amount to fund community projects such as transport, machinery upgrades, health facilities and training to support farmers to manage the impacts of a changing climate.
Each year in February and March, Fairtrade Fortnight brings together producers, companies, schools, campaigners, politicians and more in the UK to highlight the challenges experienced by many farmers and workers, and how Fairtrade and its partners campaign for a fairer way of trading.
MEET the COCOA farmer
Cocoa farmer Egny Lea works at the Coobadi cooperative in Côte d'Ivoire that supplies Waitrose with cocoa for its own-label chocolate products. “Fairtrade has changed my life because I am able to earn a lot,” she says.
Widowed at just 42, Egny has four children to support. Although she comes from a family of cocoa farmers, she was not allowed to own the land her father and grandfather had. In 2016, she inherited it from her late husband and relies on it to provide for her family.
Egny Lea's farm supplies cocoa to Waitrose via the Coobadi cooperative in in Côte d'Ivoire. Photo credit: Abbas Makki
“My dreams are to see my children finish their studies, be independent, but also be able to help and support me," she says. “It's the Premium that I feel has helped me with my children, because as a widow I live alone and there are tough and challenging times. The Fairtrade Premium brings a lot of good."
Meet the TEA farmer
Eusephia Werimba Nyaga is a Fairtrade tea farmer at Rukuriri Tea Factory Company Limited in Kenya, owned by a group of farmers who supply Waitrose with some of our Fairtrade tea. The farmers decided to invest some of their Fairtrade Premium in beehives.
Eusephia’s farm in Kenya supplies Waitrose Fairtrade tea. Photo credit: Vincent Owino Ojwang
The tea farmers train in all aspects of beekeeping, from establishing the hive through to distributing their product. That means they can bolster their wages and diversify their income, making them more resilient to low harvests and food insecurity.
Beekeeping projects also mean economic freedom for women like Eusephia, providing an independent income.
Beehives funded through Fairtrade Premium, Rukuriri. Photo credit: Vincent Owino Ojwang
Meet the COFFEE farmer
César Julio Díaz Lasso is the general manager of Cooperativa de Caficultores de Aguadas, which supplies Waitrose with Fairtrade coffee. César tells us that the majority of the co-operative’s Fairtrade Premium funds from the sale of Fairtrade coffee have been invested in health, education and productivity projects – areas the farmers themselves have voted on.
César Julio Díaz Lasso, a Fairtrade coffee farmer in Colombia, supplies Waitrose with Fairtrade coffee. Photo credit: Zamira Ramírez Angulo
‘I’d like to encourage consumers around the world to buy coffee which is Fairtrade certified, so that that additional value goes to the organisations and producers who need it.’
The co-operative has championed women’s health through ‘health days’, covering breast cancer, cervical cancer and other important topics to encourage women to look after their health. The programme is directed specifically at women who might otherwise struggle to access these services, due to living in rural areas.