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Friday, March 24, 2017
Tate & Lyle unveils plan to switch to Fairtrade
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¬†Leading food company Tate & Lyle on Saturday announced plans to move its entire retail cane sugars range to Fairtrade, marking the largest-ever switch to the ethical labelling scheme by any major UK food or drink brand. In the first year alone, the switch will create a return of at least £2 million in Fairtrade premiums for cane farmers. The first product to be licensed to carry the FAIRTRADE Mark will be Tate & Lyle Granulated White Cane Sugar, sourced from Belize; Tate & Lyle's first accredited grower partner, from whom it has purchased sugar for over 35 years. The major scale of Tate & Lyle's conversion to Fairtrade sugar has involved two years planning. The company has worked in partnership with the UK-based Fairtrade Foundation and its international organisation to help cane farmers in Northern Belize meet Fairtrade standards. This includes working with the sole sugar processor in the country, Belize Sugar. An additional payment will be made to farmers' organisations, above and beyond the negotiated price of sugar (currently a minimum price is set by the EU). Farmers invest this premium collectively; its use is decided democratically and overseen by an elected committee of farmers. Steven Hermiston from Tate & Lyle said: "This is an incredibly exciting time for Tate & Lyle. Now, every time you buy a pack of Tate & Lyle Fairtrade cane sugar, farming communities will benefit. Over the years, these communities have been hit by higher input prices, changes in the EU market, not to mention challenges thrown up by natural disasters such as last year's Hurricane Dean. Our commitment will help ensure a livelihood for farmers and the Fairtrade premium will be invested to improve their long-term prospects. We are only at the beginning of this journey but are ambitious to have all our retail cane sugar range bearing the FAIRTRADE Mark by the end of 2009." Alejandro Flores, sugar cane farmer, from San Victor, Corozal in Belize, said: "Last year, the hurricane knocked down all our cane, so we did not produce as much as before. When it is knocked down, it stops growing. I have heard that Fairtrade is coming to Belize, to help sugar cane farmers, and this is a good thing for us." The news, which comes at the start of Fairtrade Fortnight, has been welcomed by campaigners. George Gelber, Head of Policy at CAFOD, told ICN: "Tate and Lyle's decision to make sure all its retail branded sugar is Fairtrade by 2009 is a huge boost for the small-scale growers of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers' Association. Tate and Lyle's decision couldn't come at a better time. With changes in EU trade rules, small farmers will increasingly find themselves in competition with some of the world's most efficient and low cost producers. It is now up to us to choose Fairtrade whenever we buy sugar, confident that the Fairtrade premium represents a more secure future for farmers and their families. Hopefully many more small-scale growers will become Fairtrade producers in the coming years." Barbara Kentish, from Westminster Justice and Peace said: "We are delighted that Tate and Lyle have taken this ethical decision. Sugar is such a regular shopping item for most of us, that it will definitely convey a message to people that Fair Trade is here to stay. Sugar has some unfortunate links with slavery in the past, so it's good that Tate and Lyle are now standing up for poor producers, whose lives stand to gain from a better deal with us the consumers."
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