By Anne Lamont
OXFAM, CAFOD and members of the Justice and Peace Commission took part in an eye-catching stunt to protest at Sainsbury’s very recent abandoning of the ethical Fairtrade label in favour of its own ‘Fairly Traded’ products. The action took place in central London at Sainsbury’s AGM at the Queen Elizabeth Centre and delegates and shareholders were treated to the vision of protesters dressed as teabags requesting that they raise objections at this hastily orchestrated move on the part of Sainsbury’s senior executive body. The new ‘Fairly Traded’ products which have astonishingly appeared on Sainsbury’s shelves just one month after they announced this move, suggesting the decision is one that has been planned for some time. Sainsbury’s have ignored appeals from African farmers to reconsider this move which they consider will diminish their power and control over their products and place them at a disadvantage.
A Change.org online petition has been launched and has won considerable support within a very short period of time from many supporters of Fairtrade outraged at the ‘colonial’ style move on the part of the supermarket (https://www.change.org/p/sainsbury-s-don-t-ditch-fairtrade). The stunt received good coverage in the media including an excellent article in The Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jul/05/sainsburys-agm-rocked-by-protests-over-plan-to-drop-fairtrade-tea ).
Congratulations to St John Fisher Parish Shepperton, for being Fairtrade Parish number 99 and to Newman House University Chaplaincy for being Fairtrade Parish number 100!! We now need only 8 more parishes to apply for certification as a Fairtrade Diocese. Thanks to Anne Lamont (J&P) and Frances Halliday (CAFOD) for beavering away on this. Keep up the Trade Justice efforts in spite of setbacks from SOME supermarkets!