Cadbury alters Fairtrade partnership in an effort to boost sustainable cocoa sourcing

British confectionary giant Cadbury is extending its Cocoa Life sustainability initiative across all of its chocolate products in UK and Ireland by 2019, and will utilise the expertise of Fairtrade as a key partner in the programme.

Mondelez International, Cadbury’s US owner, announced last week that it was aiming to strengthen its sustainable sourcing commitments and help more cocoa farmers, their families and communities by ensuring that all of Cadbury’s products will be covered under the single Cocoa Life initiative supply chain programme.

As a result of the single-branding solution, previously Fairtrade certified Cadbury Dairy Milk products will no longer carry the Fairtrade logo on the front of packaging. Some organisations are concerned removing the Fairtrade logo will confuse customers. However, Cadbury are continuing to work with Fairtrade to innovate programmes to enhance the future for farming communities and will place the Fairtrade logo on the back of products.

Northern Europe president at Mondelez International Glenn Caton said: “Cocoa Life builds from Cadbury’s proud heritage of sourcing cocoa sustainably, which dates back to a hundred years ago when the Cadbury family helped establish cocoa farming in Ghana.

“Through Cocoa Life, we want to become an accountable partner for our cocoa farmers, not just a buyer. We are directly connecting buyers to farmers, enabling them to build long-term businesses. Cocoa Life truly transforms communities by delivering real and measurable improvements for cocoa farmers.

“We want to use our scale as the world’s largest chocolate maker to drive positive change for the communities on which we depend. We support Fairtrade’s vision to drive sustainable livelihoods through empowered farming organisations and communities and fairer terms of trade. We are proud to have Fairtrade’s support in helping us achieve this”.

The move by Cadbury will look to strengthen commitments and deliver several benefits throughout the supply chain including; increasing the amount of chocolate made from sustainably sourced cocoa by five times, investing $400m by 2020 to empower 200,000 farmers, assessing livelihood improvements in communities, competitive pricing on cocoa and loyalty payments to cocoa farmers and investing in more than 795 cocoa farming communities.

Evolving partnership

The Fairtrade Foundation’s chief executive Michael Gidney said: “We are proud to have worked closely with Cadbury since 2009 to improve the lives of cocoa farmers and their communities. But the reality is that life for too many cocoa farmers remains a daily struggle against poverty, whilst their communities still lack many essential services and climate change poses increasing threats to their livelihoods and future.

“The evolution of our partnership with Cadbury and Cocoa Life is an exciting development as it embeds Fairtrade, our values, principles and unique relationships with farmer networks into the whole programme. In doing so, together we can increase the scale and impact of Cocoa Life, towards a common goal – one in which cocoa farmers, their organisations and communities are empowered, can invest in their own futures, and go from just surviving, to thriving.” 

Alongside Fairtrade, Cadbury’s Cocoa Life initiative is supported by a number of on-ground NGOs including Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO), Save The Children, CARE International, World Vision and Solidaridad. Additionally, Cadbury will also bring in experts from organisations like WWF, the UN Development Programme and the Anti-Slavery International to help both design and oversee the initiative.

Cocoa Life has already benefitted more than 76,000 farmers, having provided a significant increase in their income and cocoa yield since its introduction last year, according to Mondelez International’s Cocoa Life Sustainability report. Additionally, the report outlined that 12% of Mondelez’s cocoa was sustainably sourced as of the end of 2015.

This is one of a number of supply chain commitments made by Cadbury. Most recently, Cadbury joined a host of British food and drink manufacturers in developing a series of sustainability goals in the UK food manufacturing, under the new ‘FDF Ambition 2025’ programme that aims to shape sustainable value chains.

Alex Baldwin

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