Seven members of Worthing Fairtrade Steering Group were at Sainsbury’s Local on Saturday to talk to shoppers about the store’s new Fairly Traded tea.
The group has already expressed its disappointment at the removal of the Fairtrade Mark on the new tea in the main store at Lyons Farm.
The day of action, which continued the campaign, was part of the national Don’t Ditch Fairtrade campaign led by CAFOD, the Catholic international development charity.
Dereck Prentis, a member of the Worthing Fairtrade group, said: “Having the Fairtrade mark means independent assessment is made to ensure producers get a fair deal for their product and workers rights are adhered to in the production of it. It also guarantees a premium paid to producers, which they are able to decide on how to use, for the benefit of their community.
“Under Sainsbury’s Fairly Traded system, that decision will not be up to producers and they will have to apply for any funds. More worryingly, there are also few requirements for safeguarding workers’ rights in Sainsbury’s scheme.
“We have had a lot of support from customers we have spoken to. The Fairtrade logo is a recognised and respected mark, ensuring products are fairly traded - that assurance is sorely lacking in Sainsbury’s Fairly Traded tea.”
In September, Members delivered a letter to the manager of Sainsbury’s at Lyons Farm, stating their concern that the in-house scheme could mean an unfair deal for poor farmers.
At Goring, they collected 47 signatures on another letter, to be presented to the manager at the Goring Road store.
Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe said the move would add to the benefits and standards currently enjoyed by Fairtrade farmers. He added it would not save the company money, and would be independently audited.
Mr Coupe said: “The easy choice by far in these resource constrained times would be for Sainsbury’s to maintain the status quo.
“But, put simply, we don’t see more of the same as an option in the face of the escalating challenges facing our farmers and their communities.
“That’s why we’ve launched our Fairly Traded tea pilot, and that’s why we ask to be judged on our results.”