Tate & Lyle to transition sugar line to Fairtrade certified

by Keith Nunes
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LONDON — Tate & Lyle P.L.C. announced plans to transition its line of retail cane sugar in the United Kingdom to Fairtrade certification. The first product to be licensed to carry the Fairtrade symbol will be Tate & Lyle Granulated White Cane Sugar, sourced from Belize.

"This is an incredibly exciting time for Tate & Lyle," said Steven Hermiston of Tate & Lyle Sugars. "Now, every time you buy a pack of Tate & Lyle Fairtrade cane sugar, farming communities will benefit. Over the years, these communities have been hit by higher input prices, changes in the E.U. market, not to mention challenges thrown up by natural disasters such as last year’s Hurricane Dean. We are only at the beginning of this journey but are ambitious to have all our retail cane sugar range bearing the Fairtrade mark by the end of 2009."

Planning for the transition has been in the works for two years, according to the company. Tate & Lyle has worked with the U.K.-based Fairtrade Foundation and its international organization to help cane farmers in Northern Belize meet Fairtrade standards. The effort includes working with the sole sugar processor in the country, Belize Sugar Industries, and more than 6,000 farmers represented by the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association.

"Fairtrade is already making a big difference to the lives of more than seven million people in the developing world, but there are millions more we’d like to reach," said Harriet Lamb, executive director of the Fairtrade Foundation. "In terms of size and scale, this is the biggest ever Fairtrade switch by a U.K. company. We’d now like to encourage other companies of the same size and scale as Tate & Lyle to think actively about making a similar commitment. The more we can make Fairtrade the norm, the more its positive impact can be felt by farmers and their communities across the developing world."

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