Fairtrade says it backs the Cadbury move

Cadbury is to launch a new sustainable sourcing programme across its entire range of chocolate in the UK and Ireland, which will see the Fairtrade Foundation logo disappear from the front of pack of products including Cadbury Dairy Milk.

The move comes as US owner Mondelez said it wanted to “take ownership” of the plight facing cocoa farmers with a massive extension of its Cocoa Life programme, which it admitted was little known in the UK.

By 2019 all Cadbury chocolate in the UK and Ireland will carry the Cocoa Life branding on the front of pack, which will replace the Fairtrade logo currently on Cadbury Dairy Milk bars, Cadbury drinking and instant Chocolate, and Cadbury Dairy Milk Buttons and Giant Buttons.

However, the Fairtrade Foundation, which has been certifying those Cadbury products since 2009, will join the Cocoa Life programme as a partner, including reporting on its results. It backed Mondelez in claiming that a new approach to sustainable sourcing, led by an internal company strategy, could achieve more to help farmers than has been achieved by the UK’s best known sustainable sourcing certification scheme to date.

The rollout of Cocoa Life, a $400m Mondelez programme which has set a target of helping 200,000 farmers and one million community members in six key cocoa growing areas to secure their futures by 2022, will start in the UK in May next year with a phased roll-out.

Fairtrade’s name will appear on the back of packs and FLOCERT, which works as Fairtrade’s independent assurance and certification body, will continue to independently verify the supply chain of Cocoa Life.

Glenn Caton, president, northern Europe at Mondelēz International, told The Grocer the new programme would enable five times the volume of chocolate to be certified as sustainably sourced as is now.

“This is about Mondelez taking ownership of the issue,” he said.

“Not only is it socially and morally the right thing to do but it’s critical for the long-term sustainability of our business - but we will also have Fairtrade still there to hold us to account.”

Promising that the rollout would be built on “transparency”, he admitted that the company may have a lot to prove to cynics in the UK. “The reality is that Cocoa Life is a brand that doesn’t have awareness in the UK but that’s because we’ve not put it on pack. This is the start of a journey to build awareness and we have a job to do and I think the transparency we are promising will help us build confidence. People know and trust the Fairtrade Foundation, which is why it’s great they are a partner,” he claimed.

Mondelez already uses the Cocoa Life branding on products including Côte D’or, Marabou, Freia, Suchard and Daim.

Michael Gidney, chief executive of the Fairtrade Foundation, claimed the move was exactly what it had been calling for despite its certification logo disappearing from the front of many Cadbury packs.

“This is a change to bring a scale to this issue that we’ve never had before. We’ve been proud to work with Cadbury Dairy Milk over the past seven years and we believe we have really made an impact but we know much more needs to happen to help farmers on the poverty line. We have often been asked why we only covered a certain amount of Cadbury products,” he said.

“The kind of scale this programme provides is thrilling I think it’s really exciting that Mondelez wants to take ownership of the issue across its supply chain.

“One of the red lines for us joining as a partner was that the package for farmers would be at least as good if not better than it was under the previous agreement. Fairtrade certification will continue to be the lion’s share of what we do but compliance and minimum standards is just the beginning. Our primary purpose is driving producer input and here we see a company putting that into action, which is why I think it is right to back it.”