Fairtrade charcoal producer's hero

Fair Trade charcoal

Did you know that Co-op even stocks Fair Trade charcoal and instant barbecues? It’s a sign of the progress we’ve made to support people in our supply chain.

There are no internationally recognised Fairtrade standards for charcoal, so we work in a unique partnership with Traidcraft, along with our charcoal importer (Rectella International Ltd.) and our producer (Jumbo), to support burners and workers in Namibia with our Fair Trade charcoal and instant barbecue sales. Since we launched our Fair Trade charcoal in 2009, over £550,000 has been raised to fund projects which benefit charcoal producers and their communities in Namibia. With support from Traidcraft, the workers and burners at Jumbo have decided themselves how they want to spend the funds.

Jumbo's premium committee

With over £550,000 in premium raised through sales of Co-op’s Fair Trade charcoal, there is a Fair Trade Premium Committee that manage how the money is spent. The committee is made up of elected workers and burners at Jumbo’s teams in Okahandja and Walvis Bay. Their role is to work with burners and workers to develop a strategy and to identify, develop and implement projects.

The premium’s beneficiaries are the factory workers at Jumbo, the burners at the farm and their communities, and also the burners working on the farms. The premium has so far been used for projects such as burner housing, bicycles for workers, equipping a classroom, food parcels, community water taps, refurbished toilets at a local school, and English lessons for workers.

Meet the producers

Fairtrade charcoal producers - Jenny Paulse - Spotlight

Really grateful to Co-op and we’re proud to be committee members. I could scream and jump as high as possible I’m so happy!” Jenny Paulse, Production Manager and Chair of the Jumbo Premium Committee

Fairtrade charcoal producers - Taimi, stock and quality controller - Spotlight

Taimi, a Stock and Quality Controller at Jumbo and Premium Committee secretary shares her experiences:

I am very happy about the premium committee – what it has done and what is it doing to support the workers and the communities. We will carry on supporting them."

I am most proud of the school text books project. The schools lack so much and I feel that we are helping the children learn more and have successful lives.

Better resources for local schools

After speaking to their local community, the Premium Committee decided to help workers by providing packs of stationery for their children to use at school. They also upgraded toilet and washroom facilities, as well as providing new desks and chairs for local schools after identifying the need.

Jenny Paulse from the Premium Committee said “The school needs so much more attention. Let us start fighting for our future teachers, lawyers and doctors. Let us look after our schools, so that we can ensure that our children have a safe space when they attend school.

Building houses

In some Namibian communities, they have built over 100 houses for the charcoal burners at camps where they work in the bush. The houses keep people dry, warm and safe from dangers such as snakes.

“The houses are very nice and keep the cold out. They are much better than before and now we even have proper toilets and showers. This is a good place to work. We like our homes and we get paid when we want. It’s not like some of the other places.”