Co-operative backing for Fairtrade Fortnight

10 February 2009

The Co-operative Group is supporting this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight with a series of initiatives, as well as savings of up to 20 per cent on selected Fairtrade products.

The Co-operative stocks the widest range of Fairtrade grocery products of any UK supermarket with 230 different Fairtrade lines, and was the first high street retailer to list Cafedirect back in 1992.

Fairtrade sales at The Co-operative continue to grow from strength to strength and were up 44 per cent in 2008*.

The Co-operative’s ethical approach to business and its commitment to Fairtrade will be highlighted with a high-profile television and cinema advertising campaign that will be on air during Fairtrade Fortnight (23 February – 8 March 2009).

The community-based retailer, which also has the largest Fairtrade wine range, is adding two new wines to its Fairtrade offering – a Chilean Fairtrade Rosé and an Argentinian Fairtrade Sauvignon Blanc 3ltr wine box, which will be on sale in all Co-operative stores from mid-February. 

During this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight, The Co-operative will also be helping to launch a new Fairtrade guide for primary school teachers.  Produced by The Co-operative College** and supported by The Co-operative, the interactive resource pack is full of classroom activities to introduce primary school pupils to Fairtrade, which guarantees growers a fair price for their crops, as well as a Fairtrade social premium to spend on community projects of their choice.

Two Colombian coffee growers, Jose Manuel Ocampo Lopez and Rosa Helena Lopez De Soto, who provide beans for the Fairtrade coffee sold in Co-operative food stores across the UK, will be attending a series of regional events to launch the pack and to talk about the difference Fairtrade has made to themselves and their communities.           

The Co-operative was the first retailer to switch all its own-brand roast and ground coffee to Fairtrade five years ago, and last year it became the first retailer to switch its entire own-brand hot beverage range, including its iconic 99 Tea, to Fairtrade.

Co-operative stores will also be stocking a series of Fairtrade information booklets for customers, listing Fairtrade campaign groups in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.  In addition, The Co-operative has produced a series of new DVDs highlighting the benefits of Fairtrade to coffee, sugar, wine and tea growers, as the community-based retailer continues to drive awareness of the difference customers can make by buying Fairtrade products.

There will be up to 20% off selected branded and Co-operative own-brand Fairtrade products, including all Fairtrade wine at The Co-operative from 16 February to 8 March 2009 inclusive.
Brad Hill, The Co-operative’s Fairtrade Strategic Development Manager, said: “As the UK’s largest mutual retailer, we have been at the vanguard of developing Fairtrade products and promoting the principles of Fairtrade.  

“Our sales figures show how important Fairtrade is to our customers and, thanks to their continued support, we can ensure a better deal for growers in developing countries whose families can also look forward to a better future.  This year we are particularly pleased to be hosting a visit by two of our coffee growers, who will be able to explain the benefits of Fairtrade first-hand at regional events across Britain.”

Notes to Editors:

*   Fairtrade sales value growth of 44% at The Co-operative, based on Electronic Point of Sale data for 12 months ending 4 January ’09.

** The Co-operative College provides learning, education, training, consultancy and research for the co-operative, social enterprise and mutual sectors in the UK and internationally.  It also works outside the Co-operative Movement with schools, young people and public bodies, raising awareness of the difference co-operatives and co-operative values can make to individuals and their communities.