The Co-op Way 2018

Ethical trade

We’re committed to ethical trade – ensuring that those who provide the products and services we buy and sell are treated fairly, and that their human rights are respected.


Fairtrade market share in UK convenience

Truly ethical trading

At Co-op we believe that everyone deserves to be treated fairly. We champion the best labour standards in our supply chains, acting responsibly towards the workers who make our products and being proud of how we behave towards the people we do business with.

Our commitment

Co-op is committed to supporting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and improving conditions in our supply chain. In line with this, our aim is to be the UK's leading retailer in this vital area, and we will continue to strenuously apply our 'Sound Sourcing Code of Conduct' across our supply base. We’re active members of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) and other key stakeholder groups - read more below.

Our approach

Collaboration is at the very heart of our approach. We believe it is essential to developing sustainable solutions to issues that put workers’ interests first. We take this approach in the way we implement our monitoring programme, the way we work with our suppliers and peers to identify solutions to challenging issues, and the way we deliver our supplier engagement activities.

Find out more about our ethical trade programme here.


We are the first UK retailer to ensure that Fairtrade producers benefit where coffee, tea and bananas are used as an ingredient in our products.

We’ve been a pioneer of fairly traded goods since before the Fairtrade Mark was introduced and we have a host of ‘Fairtrade firsts’ that we’re proud of. We were the first supermarket to sell Fairtrade bananas in the UK and the first to convert an entire own brand range of hot beverages to Fairtrade.

Beyond Fairtrade

We continue to go beyond simply providing producers with the Fairtrade Premium. Our investment in our wine producing communities has enabled the construction of a major new community centre in South Africa and preparatory work continues on paving the way for a new healthcare facility in Argentina. Using funds raised from our Growing Stories social media campaign, we launched a health and nutrition project with a coffee co-op in Colombia, and we’re developing a community centre for tea farmers in Kenya.

Fairtrade Cocoa

In 2018 we supported the launch of the Fairtrade Women’s School of Leadership in Côte d’Ivoire, Africa. Although women make up almost half of the agricultural workforce in developing countries, just 20% are registered farmers in Fairtrade producer organisations.

Nineteen female and 3 male local cocoa farmers have recently graduated from the first year of the school. Thanks to the life-changing programme, these women are now in the position to take up leadership jobs in their cocoa co-operatives and do amazing things such as stand for election.