EXCLUSIVE: Sustainability at scale 'best achieved' through multinationals

Initiatives such as Fairtrade and ethical production is best achieved when multi-nationals get on board, says Green & Black's (G&B) co-founder Jo Fairley.

Cadbury's decision to go Fairtrade with Dairy Milk in 2005 saw others major brands follow

Cadbury's decision to go Fairtrade with Dairy Milk in 2005 saw others major brands follow

The once tiny start-up led to one of the world's largest chocolate producers, Cadbury's, making the move to Fairtrade, following the company's acquisition of G&B's in 2005.

Shortly afterwards, several other major chocolate brands, such as KitKat and Maltesers, went down the same route. "The Fairtrade move from Cadbury's had this wonderful snowball effect within confectionary," says Fairley.

Fairley says that this sort of scalability is best achieved when the multi-nationals get on board. "I'd love to think that we could make as much of an impact on developing world farmers as taking Cadbury's Fairtrade has but we're still a tiny player relatively compared with a Cadbury's", she says.

"If [Cadbury's Dairy Milk] chocolate is sourced through Fairtrade relationships then that is transformative on an absolutely massive scale," adds Fairley.

"If a multinational wants to take your brand global and you've seen with your very own eyes that the knock-on effect of the deal is enabling more children to go to school in the developing world in the villages you trade with, who wouldn't agree?

Speaking to edie last month, Ben & Jerry's global values-led sourcing manager Cheryl Pinto echoed Fairley's comments.

Pinto said that the investment by multinational corporations in sustainable movements, such as Fairtrade or the Rainforest Alliance, makes it attainable to the average consumer: "Through multinational buy-in you get a large group of consumers that become aware of it and who then become educated about the issues," Pinto added.

Read the full interview with Jo Fairley here. Jo Fairley will be taking to the keynote stage today at this year's Sustainability Live at the NEC, Birmingham. For more information visit www.sustainabilitylive.com

Leigh Stringer


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