On 26th October, supermarket giant Sainsbury's were handed a letter by local priest, Father Robert Esdaile, stating that his parish disagreed with Sainsbury's decision to cut Fairtrade tea.

The charity CAFOD (Catholic Agency For Overseas Development) help fight poverty, as they believe that ‘Everyone in the world has the right to live their lives with dignity’(CAFOD Website). CAFOD work closely with the Fairtrade Foundation, so when Sainsbury's ditched the Fairtrade tea to create their own tea – branded ‘fairly traded’ – the two charitable organisation faced a large setback. Prior to this cut Sainsbury's used to sell more Fairtrade products than their competitors; also the slogan they have chosen displays a different message to their previous product. There is a bigger difference between Fairtrade and Fairly Traded; ‘fairly traded’ means that the trading has happened legally, yet not necessarily fairly for all sides. The Fairtrade Foundation provide a good price to the farmers, however with the Fairtrade Foundation now not a part of Sainsbury's tea ventures it allows them to buy the tea at a much lower price. Thereby creating a bigger profit for themselves; yet leaving the farmers with very little money to survive on.

Therefore CAFOD is now trying to raise awareness of the situation, and on October 26th the Thames Ditton based parish acted. Marching into Walton Sainsbury’s, the group handed the letter to the shops manager and peacefully requested that it was to be sent to the main office. The letter contained CAFOD’s opinion of the withdrawal of Fairtrade tea; also it contained a page full of signatures to demonstrate the amount of discontent within the parish. After the event the priest explained how Sainsbury's were the first large supermarket to make their own branded tea and that CAFOD’s protest was to ‘stop a future trend’ forming in which other national supermarkets would drop Fairtrade for a slightly larger profit. 

To conclude, Sainsbury's stealthy secession from Fairtrade tea is primarily selfish and greedy, as it will eventually give them more profit; whilst having a huge negative impact on tea farmers in poorer countries whose lives will become even more difficult. The price of the new tea is unsurprisingly less than the Fairtrade tea in other supermarkets, suggesting that Sainsbury's may have agreed a very low deal with tea farm owners.

Keiran Downer, Hampton School