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Fair Trade charcoal

Did you know that Co-op is the only retailer of Fair Trade charcoal and instant barbecues? It’s a sign of the commitment 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 Transform Trade who license the charcoal using the Traidcraft Fair Trade mark 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.

Produced from clearing invasive acacia bush which diminishes precious groundwater reserves and threatens native species, all the charcoal produced for our bagged charcoal and instant BBQ’s is also FSC certified.

Since we launched our Fair Trade charcoal in 2009, over £700,000 has been raised in Premiums to fund projects decided by the workers and burners at Jumbo to benefit their communities in Namibia.

Jumbo's premium committee

With over £700,000 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 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. The premium has so far been used for projects such as burner housing, bicycles for workers, community water taps, refurbished toilets at a local school, and English lessons for workers.

In 2023, Co-op were honoured to attend the inauguration of Kuisemond Primary School in Walvis Bay to celebrate the opening of 3 new classrooms that were built using Jumbo Premium Committee funds. These classrooms will benefit 1,700 students and is the largest premium project the committee have landed to date!

Jenny Paulse, Chair of the Jumbo Fair Trade Premium Committee highlights the significance of projects such as this.

As I look upon these newly built classrooms, I am overwhelmed with emotion. I envision the laughter, the joy, and the eagerness that will fill these halls. I see young minds inspired to reach for the stars, to dream big, and to create a brighter future for themselves and their communities. Our investment today is an investment in the potential and promise of each and every child who will grace these classrooms.

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.

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.”