Supporters show their discontent with Sainsbury’s ‘Fairly Traded’ tea

A few supporters met up on Saturday outside the Sainsbury’s Dunstable store to voice their discontent about Sainsbury’s decision.  Sainsbury’s is the largest retailer of Fairtrade products in the UK.  They’ve decided to abandon Fairtrade certification on some of their own-brand tea products and pilot their own scheme instead, known as ‘Fairly Traded’.

Supporters petitioning Sainsbury’s not to ditch Fairtrade tea

Tea farmers in Africa (where Sainsbury’s tea comes from) have publicly opposed the move away from the Fairtrade Mark as it takes away their power to decide where to invest the Fairtrade Premium in their communities. We are concerned that this new ‘Fairly Traded’ tea, and any products that follow it, could mean an unfair deal for poor farmers.

>> Find out more about Sainsbury’s move away from Fairtrade

Signed Letter to Sainsbury’s store manager

Some supporters of Fairtrade in Dunstable and Luton were keen to do their part in letting Sainsbury’s know that they were not happy about this. They signed a letter to the store manager to ask that Sainsbury revert to supplying Fairtrade tea instead of their “Fairly Traded” tea which was also very confusing for customers.


Maureen Borbone, one of our long-standing volunteers, who is a very keen Fairtrade supporter was unable to be attend the event when the letter was handed in to the store due to ill health.  She was however still keen to play her part.

Maureen keen to get all to support Fairtrade

She wrote a short and succinct statement to Sainsbury’s on a sheet of paper and got everyone who paid her a visit to sign it.  With the numerous signatures she obtained, she handed this over to Debbie Purfield (CAFOD coordinator – Northampton) to take along to be handed in to the store manager.


Agnes Milne, a keen CAFOD campaigner, explained to other customers about what we were doing and one customer responded, “If Sainsbury’s continues to sell their ‘Fairly Traded’ tea, I will stop shopping at Sainsbury’s!”

Supporters want Sainsbury’s to ditch its ‘Fairly traded’ tea

Debbie Purfield said, “We wanted to have a bigger impact, so we purchased their ‘Fairly Traded’ tea and then returned it asking to speak to the store manager. We then explained to him our unhappiness at Sainsbury’s decision and handed him the signed letters.  The store manager said he understood our concerns and asked us to take it up further but said he would pass on the letters.”

Well done everyone who attended the event and all those who signed the petition! We are all part of the global food system and choosing Fairtrade products is one way we can help tackle poverty!  Thank you for standing in solidarity and speaking out for justice with the world’s poorest communities.

>> Tell Sainsbury’s: Don’t Ditch Fairtrade


Celebrating our long-standing volunteer Maureen Borbone

CAFOD was delighted to be able to celebrate with Maureen Borbone for her services as a volunteer for over 30 years! We had a special Papal blessing and Bishop Peter wrote a lovely thank you letter from the diocese.

Deborah presenting the Papal Blessing to Maureen

As Maureen hasn’t been well, Deborah Purfield (CAFOD coordinator Northampton) arranged for these to be presented to Maureen in her home saying, “Maureen doesn’t like a fuss at the best of times and I feel going over to her home with a few people would be better”.

Maureen has done lots not only in her parish of Holy Family and St John’s Luton, but around Luton and so it was wonderful that her friends and family were present to celebrate her years of devotion and support.  We had representatives from the parish, from Grassroots in Luton where she is heavily involved in, fellow volunteers as well as her sister, Bernadette.

Maureen Borbone delighted with her Papal Blessing for over 30 years of volunteering for CAFOD

Maureen has been promoting Fast Days at Holy Family and St John’s Luton for many years.  She started the “Bag of blessings” for Lent where people were handed bags at the start and Maureen collected their offerings at the end of the Lenten period which has gone to help further CAFOD’s work.  She was also a main instigator in organising the parish soup lunches which have drawn in lots of people from the parish and beyond.  These have raised a considerable amount for CAFOD over the years!

Not only has Maureen attended numerous CAFOD supporters’ days but has gone the extra mile to encourage others to come along with her by offering them lifts. On several occasions, she has also packed her car with Fairtrade goods to set up a stall at the event.

Maureen keen to get all to support Fairtrade

Being a very keen Fairtrade supporter, you can always see her using every opportunity to encourage people to support it.  For example, when we went to present her with her papal blessing, she was very keen to have us sign her petition to Sainsbury’s to ask them to move back to selling Fairtrade tea which they have moved away from.


>> Find out more and Sign the petition to Sainsbury’s

Maureen has also been a voice for the voiceless and has supported numerous CAFOD campaigns over the years.  She has raised awareness of the plight of those living with injustice and is a wonderful evangelist of the Gospel.

Sr Maire presented Maureen with a letter of thanks from Bishop Peter Doyle and which Maureen read out to all present.  She was moved to tears at its content.

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We thank God for you Maureen and for all you have done in your quiet yet very effective way over the years.  As Bishop Peter said in his letter, “ without people like you, the root causes of poverty cannot be tackled.. (we) want to thank you for all the years you have stood on the side of those living in poverty and for your great service to the Lord and His Church.  You are a wonderful example and witness to our Catholic faith in action and a great inspiration.”

>> Find out how you can volunteer for CAFOD