The Co-operative Group has launched a new sponsorship that will help students learn about global issues, including where their food comes from.

The society has decided to back the Fairtrade Foundation’s Fairtrade Schools Awards for the new academic year that has just started.

The awards also teach pupils about how they are connected to others around the world and how they have the power to create change.

Some 1,200 schools have a Fairtrade School Award. A further 700 regularly teach about Fairtrade across the UK.

The Co-op says raising awareness of Fairtrade in school and in the community can help young people make a different to the lives of farmers and workers who grow the food and produce we eat.

GlobeScan research shows 97% of young people recognise the Fairtrade mark – an all-time high.

The Co-op prices itself with being “the UK’s largest convenience seller of Fairtrade products”.

Brad Hill, the Co-op’s Fairtrade strategy manager said it was important to the Co-op to encourage the next generation to see the different that trading fairly makes.

“Across the country, our store colleagues love talking to schools about Fairtrade, so this is a perfect fit.”

Jo Mills, education campaigns manager at the Fairtrade Foundation, said: “We are delighted to be able to work together with the Co-op, who have been such a big supporter of the Fairtrade School Awards from the beginning.

“Bringing Co-op staff and schools together will help to support more schools on their Fairtrade journey by hearing real stories about Fairtrade.”