- Tate & Lyle announces its ambition 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.
In an announcement expected to dramatically increase the amount of Fairtrade certified sugar sold in the UK, Tate & Lyle confirms today its ambition to move 100% of its retail cane sugars range to Fairtrade. It also establishes the accessibility of Fairtrade for all.
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 in 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 Industries
, and over 6,000 smallholder farmers, represented by the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association. Steven Hermiston from Tate & Lyle Sugars
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.“
Fairtrade Foundation Executive Director Harriet Lamb
comments: “Fairtrade is already making a big difference to the lives of more than seven million people in the developing world, but there are millions more we’d like to reach. In terms of size and scale, this is the biggest ever Fairtrade switch by a UK company and it’s tremendous this iconic UK brand is backing Fairtrade. We’d now like to encourage other companies of the same size and scale as Tate & Lyle to think actively about making a similar commitment. The more we can make Fairtrade the norm, the more its positive impact can be felt by farmers and their communities across the developing world.”
Giovanni Loria, Chairman of Corozal (district) Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association
, said: “Fairtrade is like a door to a great opportunity within our community. Investments in education will generate more opportunity and Fairtrade can help us build schools, health centres, clinics and much more. For us, Fairtrade is a new beginning.”
Waitrose Sugar Buyer Chris Moore,
supporting Tate and Lyle’s commitment to switching its cane sugars range to 100% Fairtrade, comments: “Our customers are demonstrating a real desire to buy ethically sourced products like Tate & Lyle's Fairtrade sugar as they want the assurance that growers and their communities in the developing world are getting a fair deal."
For more information visit: www.tasteandsmile-fairtrade.co.uk
To speak to someone at Tate & Lyle, request additional information and/or photography, please contact Bianca Incocciati or Jo Vyvyan-Robinson or Michelle Mackman at Munro & Forster on tel. 020 7815 3950 or 020 7815 3924 or 0207 815 3929. OR mobile 07940570678 / 07730538786 / 07801954427 [email protected] / [email protected] / [email protected]
To speak to the Fairtrade Foundation contact Eileen Maybin or Martine Julseth: [email protected] / [email protected] Tel: 020 7440 7695 / 07770 957 451 
Additional payment to farmers’ organisations, above and beyond the negotiated price of, in this case, sugar (currently a min. price is set by the EU). Farmers invest this premium collectively; its use is decided democratically and overseen by an elected committee of farmers. 
Belize Sugar Industries Ltd is the sole sugar processor in Belize and consequently has an important symbiotic relationship with small cane farmers in Belize. BSI has been fully supportive of the objectives of the Fairtrade initiative to promote investment in the long-term activities that will allow the industry to survive in the increasingly competitive environment in the EU market.
o Tate & Lyle’s move to Fairtrade is supported by ActionAid UK; Consumers International; the Belize High Commission; and Cafédirect.
o The FAIRTRADE Mark is the only independent consumer label that ensures farmers in developing countries receive an agreed and stable price for the crops they grow that covers the cost of sustainable production, as well as additional payment (known as the Fairtrade premium) for farmers and workers to invest together in the future.
o Retail sales of Fairtrade certified products topped £290 million in 2006 and have grown 40% year-on-year over the past five years. Awareness levels of the FAIRTRADE Mark among the UK population reached their highest level last year at 57% (TNS Omnibus).
o Raw cane sugar is almost carbon neutral. Cane grows in the field, fibre from the cane (bagasse) powers the factory and the cane re-grows each year, often up to 10 times without the need for replanting. It is then transported by ship to the UK refinery; producing small levels of CO2 emissions per tonne shipped.
o Tate & Lyle’s carbon footprint is low at 0.43kg per 1kg of sugar in store; this will be reduced by a further 25% following the installation of a new £20m biomass boiler at the Thames refinery.