The Co-operative Group has raised a £300m ‘sustainability bond’ in a bid to get more Fairtrade products in its shops.
The Co-op plans to inject the cash into a new Fairtrade initiative which helps give farmers and their workers a better deal.
The sustainability bond will be used to cover the cost of getting more Fairtrade products including coffee, tea, wine and bananas onto the grocer’s shelves, according to The Sunday Times.
The grocery chain will also use funds raised through its bond for wider projects, which include building more Co-op academy schools, schemes to alleviate water poverty and work to improve trade in responsibly sourced goods.
The Co-op increased sales of Fairtrade products by more than 6% last year even though they are more expensive to produce and import and have a lower profit margin.
The grocer posted a 27% uptick in pre-tax profit from continuing operations to £93m as total sales soared 14% to £10.2bn in the year to January 5. Co-op Food sales grew at the fastest pace in seven years, with 4.4% growth in food like-for-likes during the same period.
The Fairtrade organisation was set up in 1992 by six operations including Oxfam and Christian Aid in a bid to promote the trade of goods produced without exploitation.