The Great Fairtrade Scandal: Only 23% Goes to Producers

Yesterday human tea bags protested outside Sainsbury’s AGM over the supermarket’s decision to replace “Fairtrade tea”. The stunt by Oxfam and CAFOD was – they claimed – to highlight that farmers and workers who produce ‘Fairly Traded’ tea for Sainsbury’s will no longer have direct control over how they spend the premium – the additional cost on the basic price meant to benefit them. Instead, they will have to apply to a board set up by Sainsbury’s. Is that really true?

The truth is that just 23.3% of the £11,350,000 of revenue captured by the Fairtrade Foundation – mainly from supermarkets paying for their endorsement – actually goes to producers. More money, over 35%, is spent on “education and awareness”. Which means the Jolyons and Taras spend more money on themselves ‘campaigning’ than they give to the actual farmers who produce the products. It is a scandalous rip-off.

The Jolyons and Taras who dressed up as teabags yesterday should be ashamed of their self-interest. Sainsbury’s are withdrawing from the scheme because they intend to give more money to third-world producers than the Fairtrade Foundation currently gives them…


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