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Fairtrade fortnight all year round at Lincoln & York

This year’s Fairtrade Fortnight highlighted the financial crisis’ impact on small scale farmers and workers; how the rising cost of living affects their working lives every day – and how you can help.

Looking forward, ‘the future of food’ campaign from the Fairtrade Foundation promotes support through our purchases and preferences. And, believes that through the ‘simple action’ of buying Fairtrade, consumers can protect the current food supply, and make it better for future generations. We agree.

Facing the facts

Getting into the stats, we’ve sold 338 tonnes of Fairtrade certified coffee this year (Feb 22-Jan 23), which is an increase of more than 50 tonnes versus the previous year (Feb 21-Jan 22). This means 17% more Fairtrade coffee beans have been passed onto your discerning coffee drinkers.

And there’s certainly an appetite for it. We know that sustainably-sourced coffee is high on the agenda for consumers with 63% saying it’s important in a survey we conducted, and this becomes even more important again for younger consumers, with 76% of 18-34s saying sustainably-sourced coffee is important to them.

Overall, approximately 80%  of the coffee we supply at Lincoln and York is certified either Fairtrade®, Rainforest Alliance™, OF&G Organic or UTZ, and it’s something we’re really proud of.

In the same poll of 2,000 adults, more than 90% of those surveyed said they recognised the Fairtrade mark and almost half always bought Fairtrade-certified coffee, or tried to.

There’s more to be done though, and behind all the facts and figures are the faces of people who rely on the sales of these products to secure a better future for themselves, their families and their communities. The Fairtrade Foundation plays a role in raising awareness of them, by producing  farmer case studies, for example.

We agree it’s really important to see where our coffee comes from, and to speak to the people who help produce it. And this Fairtrade Fortnight we’ve taken the opportunity to showcase some of our Fairtrade partners…  

Ascarive – Brazil

In 2022, we visited Brazil for our first post-lockdown excursion, and while there Chris Tough – coffee buyer, and Dave Loan – head of sales had the opportunity to visit Ascarive Fairtrade. The cooperative sits in the Mantiqueira mountains surrounding the village of Sertaozinho, and the team helped to pick coffee cherries and saw them drying outside homes ready for processing. From the mountain peaks to the patios, every person plays a part in the co-operative coffee production process, and then the profits and proceeds go back into the community, funding the future generations.

Fedecocagua – Guatemala

The Fedecocagua cooperative in Guatemala is the biggest cooperative in Central America. Established in 1969 the Fedecogagua cooperative is the umbrella organisation for 20,000 coffee farmers. They are the main distributor of coffee from Guatemala, supplying everything from microlots to certified main grade coffee, and they describe their mission as ‘closing the gap between small producers with limited education and infrastructure, and importers’. They have used Fairtrade premiums to install a water pump for a health clinic in Yupitepque, Jutiapa; to build and improve schools and to finance two new drying patios and wet mills.

Capucas – Honduras

Finally, the newest addition to our group of Fairtrande partners is the Capucas cooperative in Honduras, who we started buying from this year. Formed in 1999 the cooperative is situated on and around the Celaque mountain, which is the highest peak in Honduras. The Capucas cooperative work in 12 communities and use their Fairtrade premiums for projects that benefit around 2500 people. They have supported community services such as healthcare, education, infrastructure and sport. Locals now have access to a virtual library as well as a free computer lab in a converted air-conditioned container. Farmers can also learn about brewing coffee as the cooperative have established a coffee academy providing training on basic techniques for brewing and controlling quality.

The 50:2 plan

Ian Bryson, our MD at Lincoln & York, hopes this emphasises our support for Fairtrade Fortnight and how it filters into the other 50 weeks of the year, too:

“Behind the counter, Fairtrade Fortnight helps brands and businesses to get involved in helping to make trade and transactions fairer for everyone. Last year, we looked at how to do that through Fairtrade and other certifications.

“1994 saw the first ever Fairtrade-certified chocolate, coffee and tea products carry the official mark, as James Sweeting and Simon Herring started selling Lincoln & York to local businesses (having started up in a garden shed two years earlier). Just as those first few Fairtrade products grew into the thousands (more than 6,000 in the UK, according to its website) and Lincoln & York moved from a humble home-garden roastery to a 6,000m2 state-of-the-art facility, the core values of each never changed.

“Listening to our producers, our customers and the consumer is vital, which is why we conduct our own research, tune into market data and make those all-important trips to our farmers and suppliers.

“We think that education and communication are two key ingredients all-year-round, from the source of the coffee we buy to the first sip taken of your house blend. We hold no secrets when it comes to where our coffee comes from, but we’ll never give away the secret blend in your house roast!”

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