Eat, Act, Pray - July
…is a pioneering collective of small coffee-farming cooperatives.
Jinotega is the urban heartbeat of this mountainous and beautiful region. It’s the coffee growing capital of Nicaragua for a reason. The air is cool and moist and the vast expanses of pine forests harbour pockets of fertile, rich soil.
It’s here where ‘The Society for Small Producers, Exporters, Marketers and Buyers of Coffee’ (or SOPPEXCCA as it’s snappily named) operate.
The cooperative was set up in 1997 and in 1999 it gained Fairtrade status.
As with all Fairtrade goods, the coop receives a premium for their goods which, together, they decide how to spend.
In and around the communities of Jinotega where SOPPEXCCA work, cooperative members have invested in health centres, schools and pharmacies.
And this is the magic of Fairtrade.
This is the magic of a living wage.
This is the redistribution of wealth from a successful supply chain to ensure that producers are getting a fair deal. It shouldn’t surprise you that many people living in developing countries, engaged in the production of goods often don’t get a sniff of that products final value.
SOPPEXCCA have grown from a cooperative of 68 coffee producers to 650. 80% of the production workforce are women and they’re now branching out into cocoa production as it’s more resilient to the changing climate.
Christian Aid are a part of this story. Fairtrade are a part of this story. This story is a success because when people are treated fairly, communities reap the benefits.
Talk It Over
Fairtrade is still the best indication that farmers and producers of goods in developing countries recieve a FAIR price for their produce. In recent years major brands have started to create their own 'ethical' lines which are based on the same model. But none offer the same benefits as the original Fairtrade label.
- Have a think about where the things you buy come from. How much work do you imagine went in to producing it?
- How much did you pay for your last cup of tea or coffee?
- How would you respond if your local supermarket started making moves away from Fairtrade goods?
On the 25th June it was reported that Sainsbury's supermarket had met with tea producers in Nairobi and told them that it 'intended to drop the Fairtrade mark for their produce, and replace it with the phrase "fairly traded"'.
Similarly, it's been reported that Tesco is to also drop the Fairtrade label and move to 'Rainforest Alliance' certification. You can read the full article here.
We are angered and upset by this announcement. The Fairtrade mark is the global gold standard for fairly traded produce.
85 thousand people have already signed petitions asking that Sainsbury's rethink this strategy. Today, we're joining in.
We've written to Sainsbury's. We encourage you to do the same.
To whomever it may concern,
We were deeply troubled to recently learn of Sainsbury’s plans to drop the Fairtrade label certification from it’s tea in place of a “fairly traded” statement.
The Fairtrade logo and the Fairtrade Foundation are the global gold standard for the ethical trade of goods in developing countries.
As customers of Sainsbury’s we take great pride in the supermarkets firm commitment to Fairtrade going back to the inception of the scheme in 1992.
This move marks a move away from the scheme in favour of a model in which Sainsbury’s holds all the cards. This is unacceptable.
When we buy our Fairtrade tea, coffee, fruit and chocolate from Sainsbury's we do so in the knowledge that the producers have been paid fairly for the production of their goods. Anything which undermines this certification must be challenged.
We implore the supermarket to reconsider this move and reaffirm its commitment to the Fairtrade scheme.
We look forward to hearing from you soon.
Staff and volunteers of Christian Aid Collective
You can use ours as a template or write your own. Perhaps you could pen something together as a group? Once you've written your letter you can post it to:
Sainsbury's Supermarkets Ltd
33 Holborn London EC1N 2HT
Don't forget to also sign the Change.org petition which is currently active over here.
Gallo Pinto is a Nicaraguan classic. It's perfect for sharing together on a bright summers evening.
Give us a hunger for a better understanding of one another.
Give us a hunger for a better world.
Give us a hunger for justice.
May your will be done.