The Co-op has strengthened its claim to be the most ethically aware grocery retailer by converting its own-label tea brands to Fairtrade. The move means the group's tea sales will help producers in developing countries.
The Co-operative Group says the switch to Fairtrade tea will give producers a guaranteed price for their crop, as well as a Fairtrade premium to invest in projects such as water supplies, educational equipment and medical facilities. The policy is a response to a poll which revealed that ethical trading (27%), animal welfare (25%) and the environment (22%) were the top ethical priorities of 100,000 Co-operative members.
The group has also banned the sale of eggs from caged hens and plans to reduce wine packaging and extend its list of prohibited pesticides.
The Co-operative Group's chief executive Peter Marks said: "Our members have endorsed our ethical approach and provided us with some real challenges going forward."