Sunday, 23 December 2012

Response to Fairtrade Teabags

A week or so ago I had a discussion with a couple of friends on twitter about Fairtrade and how Sainsbury's were able to sell teabags at their local store in Coundon for 27p and call them Fairtrade. I contacted Sainsbury's and Fairtrade, here are their responses which were received via email.


Dear Mr Mitchell

Thanks for your email and patience whilst we looked into your query further regarding the pricing of our Fairtrade tea bags.

As mentioned with my colleague Kevin, we contacted the relevant team who has advised
we are absolutely focused on providing Fairtrade to our customers for free. So where Fairtrade is the only own-brand option in our stores, as is the case with bananas, we make sure that our prices remain on a par with those of our non-Fairtrade competitors. This encourages customers to continue to shop with us and to continue to buy Fairtrade.Our tea bags may be cheaper than other retailers however; we still pay the fair-trade premium.
Sainsbury's has become the world's largest retailer of Fairtrade products. Almost one in every four pounds spent on Fairtrade in the UK is spent at a Sainsbury's store, and the supermarket's annual Fairtrade sales have increased by around 10 percent on this time last year, up to £218m.Please have a look on to our cooperate website were you will learn lots more about the work we do.I hope this information is useful, however If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be more than happy to help. We take all our customer feedback seriously as this allows us to constantly improve our products and services.

Fairtrade Foundation

Dear Andy,
Thank you for your enquiry regarding the pricing of Fairtrade products.
As I am sure you are aware the FAIRTRADE Mark is an independent product certification label which guarantees that disadvantaged farmers in the developing world at the very bottom of the supply chain, are getting a better deal - recognising that they are at the sharp end of exploitation and injustice in international trade. Fairtrade works to ensure these farmers are receiving a fair and stable Fairtrade price and Fairtrade premium.
We are not, however in a position to dictate the retail pricing policy of any company in the UK market. A higher price for the producers of raw materials doesn’t necessarily result in a higher retail price. This depends very much on the company’s retail strategy. In other words the final price of a product is not a reflection on how fairly the product has been produced. I am sure you can think of plenty of examples where conventional ‘non-Fairtrade’ products are traded at extortionate prices yet are still produced on exploitative terms.
Often companies see it as advantageous not to increase the relative price of Fairtrade products. A good example of this is when Sainsbury’s switched to 100% Fairtrade bananas, they did so without raising the retail price, instead they chose to absorb the cost themselves.
We are always keen to hear the views of our supporters, please get back to me if you have any further questions.

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