The Organic Trade Board and Organic Denmark are set to receive €10.4 million’s worth of European funding over the next three years after their joint application was approved. 70% of the fund will be spent in the UK, the trade board said, with the rest being spent elsewhere. It cited figures that showed the UK’s organic market grew by 5.6% in 2016 to a value of £1.4 billion, and a share of total grocery sales of 1.8%. In contrast, the non-organic sector grew by only 0.6% in the same period. But despite this, the country’s performance is far behind that of other European markets, including Denmark, where organic sales were up 18% in the second half of last year to account for 10% of all retail food sales. Average growth in organic sales across European countries is 9% per year.
Sainsbury’s faced mounting pressure not to axe the Fairtrade label in favour of its own “Fairly Traded” brand on Friday, as a group of more than 40 MPs signalled their support for the established scheme. A parliamentary motion backed by a cross party group, which includes Green party co-leader Caroline Lucas and Conservative MP Peter Bottomley, said the House “deeply regrets the decision by the supermarket Sainsbury’s to drop the Fairtrade mark for its own-brand tea and develop its own certification scheme”. It urged other supermarkets to “remain with and strengthen their commitment to Fairtrade certification”. In 2015, the UK market for the Fairtrade label was worth around £1.6bn in retail sales, of which around £29.8m went into a communal fund that workers and farmers could use to improve their economic, social or environmental conditions. Sainsbury’s is the world’s largest retailer of Fairtrade products, but in May launched a pilot scheme of its own “Fairly Traded” branded tea.
On the occasion of the annual European Parliament Fair Trade Breakfast, the EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström has publically announced today the plan to launch a new Pan-European Fair and Ethical Trade City Award. The Fair Trade movement welcomes this new initiative and commits to support the Commission in making this Award a success. The EC “Trade for All” strategy (October 2015) includes, for the first time, a section on the promotion of Fair and Ethical Trade schemes. The EC referred in this document to the idea of a possible European-wide Fair and Ethical Trade City award, but only as a possibility. 12 months after the “Trade for All” strategy, the EU Trade Commissioner has confirmed and officially made public the new Award today. The Award´s main goals are to promote awareness amongst European citizens of Fair and Ethical Trade and to facilitate cross-country learning on the role of Local Authorities in promoting Fair and Ethical Trade. The announcement has taken place in the framework of the annual European Parliament Fair Trade breakfast, hosted by Linda McAvan, Chair of the European Parliament´s (EP) Development Committee and EP Fair Trade Working Group, together with Bernd Lange, Chair of the EP International Trade Committee. This event was attended by numerous MEPs across countries, Fair Trade movement representatives and Local Authorities committed to localising the SDGs through Fair Trade.
Opportunities for organic and Fairtrade cane sugar are increasing. Consumers are increasingly interested in healthy and natural products. This provides particularly interesting opportunities for organic and ethically sourced products. However, Fairtrade sugar exporters should be aware of increasing competition from European sugar producers due to the decrease in sugar prices following a change in European regulations.
Sustainability initiatives are more effective and efficient when they fully engage the middle tiers of supply chains. Those creating sustainability initiatives (a standards-setting organization, government or company) will find useful guidance, including corporate approaches to sustainable sourcing, the influence of sustainability standards, and case studies on how intermediaries help expand sustainable production globally.