Ethical confusion

Complicated, confusing

In a daring move Sainsbury’s have broken ranks away from the Fairtrade standard. This is a great shame on them as they opt for their own “fairly traded” standard whatever that means.

And “whatever that means” is at the core of the problem. Sainsbury’s claim that their new “own brand” standard is just as ethical as ever.

Firstly, if it is just as good as the independent Fairtrade then why go to the expense of changing?

Secondly, unless you happen to have a PhD in community development and a MSc in environmental science then comparing differing standards becomes a nightmarish task. Fairtrade provides a robust and independent benchmark against which I, and you, can judge the competing claims of Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Aldi and PG tips, etc.

It seems unlikely that Sainsbury’s has taken this step to capture more of the fair-trade/ethical market so for the cynical layman it is difficult to escape the conclusion that is about saving money – probably at the expense of the tea growers the standards are designed to help.

Simple, uncomplicated

Meanwhile the Cooperative has taken steps to ensure that all its own brand meat products are sourced from British farms. Not just raw meat, but their pork pies, ready meals, sandwich meats, bacon. All meat, period.

Good for British consumers who are increasing looking for “farm to fork” robust monitoring. Good for British farmers who already compete against £6bn meat imports. Good for the animals who benefit from British welfare standards, and don’t get me started on the threat from chlorinated chicken.

Simple, not confusing.



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