Cadbury drops Fairtrade logo
Cadbury is pulling out of the Fairtrade scheme in favour of its own sustainability programme
Cocoa Life branding will replace the Fairtrade logo, currently on the front of plain Cadbury Dairy Milk bars, from May. Products such as Cadbury Drinking Chocolate, Dairy Milk Buttons and Giant Buttons will follow.
According to the Fairtrade Foundation, “five times as much Cadbury chocolate will now be made with sustainably sourced cocoa.”
The Fairtrade logo will now, confusingly, be transferred to the back of the products’ packaging as a “partner” on the grounds that Fairtrade will continue to monitor the company’s work. Its products will no longer contain Fairtrade-certified ingredients.
Mondelez International, Cadbury’s US owner, said the move was a “groundbreaking commitment”. However, the decision has been criticised by many in the industry. It is seen as a retrograde step.
After years of resisting the Fairtrade movement, four of the largest five global chocolate companies, Nestlé (Kit Kat), Mars (Maltesers), Hershey’s and Mondelez (Cadbury Dairy Milk, Green & Blacks), had released Fairtrade-certified chocolate. Cadbury was the first mainstream chocolate brand to become Fairtrade certified in 2009. Now Cadbury will sit with Ferrero in having no chocolate certified by a credible standard.
The Cocoa Life programme
The Cocoa Life programme does not specify a minimum price for cocoa, as Fairtrade does, but Mondelez said farmers would not be any worse off under the new programme. Mondelez stated that farmer income had increased 49% more and cocoa yield increased 37% more in Ghanaian Cocoa Life communities than in communities outside the programme.
Fairtrade chocolate company, Divine, said it was unclear to what extent investment and spending would be monitored under Cocoa Life, and whether farmers would be able to have “appropriate influence” over the prices they get for their cocoa.
FLOCERT, which also works as Fairtrade’s independent assurance and certification body, will continue to independently verify the supply chain of Cocoa Life as the programme grows. This involves tracking the quantity of sustainably grown and traded cocoa and the loyalty payments made to farmer organizations.
End of Fairtrade chocolate?
The big question now is whether other firms will also choose to abandon Fairtrade certification and adopt their own systems of self-regulation.
“With the other major players also building their own company schemes, and potentially also opting out of any independent certification schemes, how are consumers to assess and compare the benefits to farmers being offered by the different chocolate brands?” said Divine.
Barbara Crowther, Director of Policy and Public Affairs at Fairtrade Foundation, acknowledged the risks involved in the move towards company-led schemes.
“What would be a concern is if lots of companies start making claims about their programmes and there is no transparency or independent verification of what those programmes are delivering,” she said.
Green & Black's
In another disappointing move, Green & Black’s, bought in 2005 by Cadbury, announced it has begun using non-organic chocolate for the first time since it was founded in 1991. It has dropped the word ‘organic’ from its new range of bars in the USA. Green & Blacks was the first chocolate in the UK to be awarded the Fairtrade mark.
How long will it be until it joins its sister company and drops its Fairtrade certification?
In our guide to chocolate, the following companies only made Fairtrade chocolate: Seed & Bean, Cocoa Loco, Divine, Vego, Madecasse, Meaningful Chocolate, Raw Chocolate Co, Traidcraft and The Co-op own brand.
This story has been added to our corporate database. The database powers all our live product guides, giving the score for each company on our rankings tables. Find out more about how we rate companies.