Wetherspoons to start serving Fairtrade sugar in bid to become more ethical

Pub chain says move will be 'welcomed by customers and staff'

Sarah Young
Monday 17 February 2020 10:43
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American tourist discovers Wetherspoons for the first time

JD Wetherspoon is working towards becoming a more ethical retailer by serving only Fairtrade sugar in its outlets across the UK and Ireland.

The British pub chain has confirmed that it will make the shift later this month at the start of the annual Fairtrade Fortnight, which begins on 24 February and calls for all farmers to be paid fairly for their work.

The new range of sugar, which will be packaged in paper “sticks” and stamped with the recognisable blue and green Fairtrade logo, will be stocked in all of JD Wetherspoon’s 874 pubs and 58 hotels.

Jameson Robinson, JD Wetherspoon’s head of food, says the company’s decision to offer Fairtrade sugar underlines its “continued commitment to supporting farmers, producers and workers, here in the UK and overseas, who supply the products which we use and sell”.

“We are proud that our pubs will very soon be serving Fairtrade sugar. We are certain this will be welcomed by our customers and staff,” Robinson added.

The sugar chosen by the pub chain has been manufactured by Tate & Lyle Sugars, the largest cane sugar brand in the UK.

The company, which was formed in 1921, has been working with the Fair Trade certification scheme since 2008. Since then, Tate & Lyle Sugars has supported more farmers’ organisations to become Fairtrade certified and sources Fairtrade sugar from over 20,000 small scale cane farmers in four countries.

“It makes common sense, and indeed good sustainable business sense, for Tate & Lyle Sugars to support the people who farm sugar cane, the raw material on which we depend,” the company’s website states.

“Fairtrade is a system that encourages small scale farmers to become an organised social group, improve their environmental and ethical practices and in return they receive financial support (Fairtrade Premium) for their produce.”

The decision to serve Fairtrade sugar is the latest in a string of moves the retailer has made in recent years to become more ethical.

Since 2008, JD Wetherspoon has worked with the Rainforest Alliance to ensure that 100 per cent of the tea and Lavazza coffee it sells comes from Rainforest Alliance-certified farms.

In 2010, the company was awarded the Sustainable Standard-Setter Award, by the Rainforest Alliance, for ongoing dedication, innovation and leadership in environmental conservation.

In October 2019, the pub chain also added a host of vegan options to its nationwide menu, including a vegan burger created by The Meatless Farm, vegan English breakfast, and vegan curry.

“We are keen to offer vegetarian and vegan pub-goers an excellent choice of meals to enjoy at Wetherspoon,” said Robinson said at the time of the launch.

“The plant-based burger is a great addition to the menu and we are confident that it will prove popular with vegetarians and vegans as well as those who eat meat.”

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