Green & Black’s removes Fairtrade from new UK chocolate range

Mondelez International is expanding the new branding initiative of its sustainable sourcing commitment, after it was revealed that a new edition of a Green & Black's bar would go on sale without any Fairtrade branding.

Green & Black’s, which is owned by Mondelez, launches its new Velvet Edition dark chocolate in the UK in August. Beans for the new bar will be sourced from areas of the Dominican Republic which aren’t yet covered by Fairtrade.

Instead, the new edition bars will be covered by Mondelez’ own certification through its Cocoa Life initiative, which sees the cocoa firm act as an “accountable partner” for cocoa farmers, rather than just a buyer.

Mondelez’ Northern Europe president Glenn Caton said: “These beans are not available in organic at the scale required for Green and Black’s, but I am proud that they are sustainably sourced, independently verified beans from the Cocoa Life programme, of which Fairtrade will ensure we remain an accountable partner for farmers.”

Green & Black’s has been a historic supporter of the Fairtrade initiative, first placing the iconic logo onto packaging in 1994. Other than the new Velvet edition, all Green & Black’s products will continue to carry the Fairtrade logo.

This isn’t the first instance of Mondelez reducing the visibility of Fairtrade amongst its portfolio. In December last year, the firm placed all Cadbury’s products under the Coca Life initiative. As a result of the single-branding solution, previously Fairtrade-certified Cadbury Dairy Milk products no longer carry the Fairtrade logo on the front of packaging. 

Cocoa Life

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

Since its launch in 2012, the Cocoa Life programme has given more than 76,000 farmers a significant increase in their income and cocoa yield. Mondelez will invest $400m over the next 10 years to fund sustainable cocoa production across the globe.

Despite tweaks to its involvement with Mondelez, Fairtrade is enjoying an economic upturn. Fairtrade product sales increased for the first time since 2013, with the sales of bananas and coffee outweighing the decline in Fairtrade cocoa and sugar. In total, revenues generated from Fairtrade products increased by 2% to £1.64bn in the UK last year.

However, the decision by Sainsbury’s to launch its own sustainability standard which effectively negates the need for external ethical certification labels on its tea products was condemned by the Foundation.

Matt Mace

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