Supermarkets in the UK are in negotiations with the Fairtrade Foundation over the trial of a collective buying scheme for Fairtrade goods.

The Co-op told Just Food it is one of the retailers involved in the pilot.

Fairtrade Foundation declined to name the supermarkets involved but confirmed that talks were ongoing.

Sources close to the matter told The Financial Times that Tesco and Sainsbury’s are also taking part.

Fairtrade Foundation’s Shared Impact initiative allows retailers to “jointly contribute” a Fairtrade premium price to farmers who are a part of the scheme, under three- to five-year contracts between both parties.

It looks to benefit farmers of bananas, cocoa and coffee that are sourced from areas including Colombia in South America plus Cote d’Ivoire and Kenya in Africa.

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Fairtrade Foundation said it expected to see products sold under the Shared Impact buying scheme on UK retailer shelves “hopefully later this year”.

The initiative is expected to help farmers sell higher volumes of products at a premium price, which in turn they can use to invest in addressing problems including “low incomes, human rights risks and deforestation”, said Fairtrade.

Speaking to Just Food, the NGO said that “risk mitigation” specifically “will mean they can ensure they are compliant with new regulation in Europe and the UK”.

Last year, the EU put forward a law banning the sale of food products linked to deforestation, such as cocoa, palm oil, meat, and soya beans.

The legislation is expected to be implemented by the end of 2024, but a final agreement with several member countries is yet to be reached.

Commenting in a statement, Alexander Carnwath, head of public affairs at the Fairtrade Foundation said: “Farming remains one of the main drivers of deforestation globally, as well as a significant contributor to an increase in global greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss. Farmers and workers cannot drive forward sustainability initiatives without supply chain collaboration.

“That’s why Shared Impact is a joint pledge between farmers, retailers and Fairtrade. Expanding on the existing way we work with our retail partners, the new model allows them to target salient risks in their supply chain, drive forward a more resilient food sector, work together to advance shared goals, and fund real, lasting change in partnership with farmers and workers.”

Emily Pearce, senior sustainable sourcing and international development manager at The Co-op added: “We recognise the real challenges facing food systems across the world and are pleased to be participating with Fairtrade on the Shared Impact pilot. The pilot aims to find solutions to deepen the impact, cooperatively for the millions of small-scale farmers and workers who are disproportionately affected by the effects of climate change and fluctuating commodity prices.”