Co-op has announced it has helped safeguard the future of its wine producers by providing vital funding and support, as part of its global wellbeing charter. It has also doubled its rate of ordering with South African, Argentinean and Chilean Fairtrade wine producers.

The community retailer said it has “gone beyond its Fairtrade commitment” and has reallocated £10,000 of funding to provide vital food parcels that are currently in dire need in the wine growing communities of Chile. These food parcels will help feed 1,250 people across 300 families within the community, for up to three months.

The devastating impact of coronavirus on global communities has been particularly evident for the wine trade as the closure of the hospitality industry and restrictions on travel have caused profound affects. The Co-op said growers in the country have been hit hard as a result of the pandemic and the growing political situation at the time of harvest and this has left many struggling to afford basic essentials like food.

Ed Robinson, wine buyer at Co-op said: “We are pleased that at a time when many supply chains across the world are facing a raft of new challenges, we are able to respond to these and commit to protecting workers’ livelihoods as we navigate this crisis together.

“As a co-operative, people are naturally at the heart of everything we do and we are committed to helping those people in our supply chain who have been worst affected by the unprecedented impacts of the Covid-19. By repurposing our funds, we are funnelling money right to the heart of where it is needed.”

In addition, and in a bid to alleviate the cashflow challenge, Co-op has doubled its rate of ordering with South African, Argentinean and Chilean Fairtrade wine producers. This helps cash flow for producers and minimises their exposure to expensive loans.

Euan Venters, Commercial Director at the Fairtrade Foundation said: “The crisis has laid bare the underlying fragility in so many of our food supply chains, but it has also highlighted how businesses with commitments to human rights, environmental sustainability and poverty reduction embedded in company values have responded meaningfully. We’d like to raise a glass to Co-op for leading the way by going above their Fairtrade commitment and supporting producers to weather the storm during these difficult times.”