Fairtrade policy


UK Position Statement. Last updated: 26/02/2016

Our approach

Tesco was one of the first retailers to support Fairtrade following its launch in 1994 and we now offer our customers a wide selection of Fairtrade certified products across a number of areas, from tea and coffee to beans and oranges.

We are the second largest seller of Fairtrade products in the UK, selling several million pounds worth of Fairtrade products every week. These can be found both on tesco.com and in our stores.

We know that Fairtrade sourcing models are a great way of improving the lives of producers. The Fairtrade label also helps give our customers the assurance they want to know that their products are being produce to high ethical standards.


1. Which Fairtrade products does Tesco sell?

We sell a wide range of Fairtrade certified products, including tea and coffee, sugar, nuts, baked beans, chocolate, hot chocolate, wine, cereal bars, biscuits, ice cream, vanilla pods, oranges, beans and organic bananas.

We are always looking at opportunities to try and bring new Fairtrade products to our customers. For example, we were the first retailer to offer our customers Fairtrade nuts. For a more detailed overview of the Fairtrade products we sell go to tesco.com.

2. From which countries do Tesco’s Fairtrade products come?

The seasonality of some of our products means that we’re sourcing from different countries at different points of the year. Some of the countries from which our Fairtrade products are sourced include South Africa, Kenya and India.

3. Why doesn’t Tesco only sell Fairtrade bananas?

Although we sell Fairtrade bananas, the majority of our bananas do not carry the Fairtrade certification. Nevertheless, all of our bananas are traded fairly with high environmental and ethical standards.

We are able to ensure this by working directly with a select number of partner farms across Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and West Africa.

This direct approach, working long-term with supplier partners, not only means that we can source the right amount of good quality bananas but also gives us access to the farms so that we can ensure that our growers are operating to the highest ethical standards, protecting workers and the environment.

It also allows us to make long-term commitments to our banana farmers – we have committed to paying a sustainable cost of production for our bananas and we are in the process of commissioning studies to understand what this cost model looks like across the countries we are sourcing from. We also want to play our part in addressing some of the systemic challenges in the supply chain, not just on our farms, so we have committed to being a leader at the World Banana Forum, seeking industry wide improvements to working conditions and environmental stewardship.

We have also introduced technical and ethical experts on the ground in key sourcing regions to help our suppliers and ensure good working conditions; they have made real and significant improvements to working conditions. In addition, in Ecuador we have created a fund for social projects to benefit workers to which we are contributing S1million in 2014 alone. Further information about how we source our bananas can be found here.

4. How else does Tesco trade fairly?

All Tesco products comply with our Trading Fairly programme, including all Fairtrade certified products. Details can be found on page 32 of our Code of Business Conduct and on our website. This programme is supported by a team of over 50 ethical trading specialists across Europe, Asia, the Americas and Africa, who help suppliers and local stakeholders to address a range of ethical trade challenges.

We also work directly with our suppliers and wider industry to ensure that our products have high ethical standards and to address endemic supply chain issues, such as child labour and gender discrimination. For example, in 2013 we became the first major retailer to become a direct member of the Ethical Tea Partnership and in September 2014 we helped to launch a ground-breaking coalition between UNICEF, The Ethical Tea Partnership and other companies to help prevent child exploitation in Assam’s tea-producing communities.

In the UK we are a member of Stronger Together which is a multi-stakeholder initiative which aims to reduce forced labour and exploitation by giving employees and suppliers the information they need to tackle the issue and access remedy for victims. We have also created a series of Sustainable Farming Groups to ensure that we build strong, long-term relationships with our farmers. These began in 2007 with the Tesco Sustainable Dairy Group (TSDG), which comprises around 650 dairy farmers. They receive a fair price for the milk that they produce which reflects its production costs. Building on the success of the TSDG, we have now established Sustainable Farming Groups for beef, lamb, chicken, eggs, pigs and potatoes.

For more information contact our corporate responsibility team - cr.enquiries@uk.tesco.com