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    Cadbury Goes Fairtrade


    International Trade Forum - Issue 4/2009

    © Fairtrade International Harriet Lamb, UK Director of Fairtrade International, and Todd Stitzer, CEO Cadbury.

    On a cocoa farm in Ghana, two chief executives sit on a log talking about their respective business goals. One is the CEO of Cadbury, Todd Stitzer; the other is the UK Director of the Fairtrade Foundation, Harriet Lamb. They are reflecting on the stories of farmers like Benjamin Atiemo in Adjeikrom village, whose children have left the village to seek work in the capital, Accra. Mr Atiemo's children, like those of many other farmers, are turning their back on cocoa farming. Apart from being hot and tiring work, yields from ageing cocoa trees are declining and, although international trade prices have surged recently, prices to farmers have scarcely kept pace with rocketing local food and fuel prices.

    It is for reasons like this that Cadbury launched its Cocoa Partnership in 2008 - a ten-year, £45 million (US$ 73 million) investment in cocoa sustainability in Ghana, South-east Asia, India and the Caribbean. In Ghana, the partnership has engaged with local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) including CARE, VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) and World Vision to work with 100 cocoa-growing communities to strengthen local farming practices and improve basic services. Because, as Mr Stitzer tells Ms Lamb, "Without cocoa beans there will be no chocolate bars." Cadbury's investment is not old-fashioned philanthropy. It is business.

    Farmer empowerment is now seen as a crucial part of the approach Cadbury wants to take. And that's where Fairtrade comes in. With over ten years of experience in working with cocoa growers in Ghana, the Fairtrade movement has demonstrated how democratically organized groups of farmers, such as those in the Kuapa Kokoo cooperative, can use the benefits of a stable price plus premium for collective investment to improve fuel efficiency, install clean water supplies, build women's and youth enterprise programmes and equip local schools.

    A unique example of farmer ownership in chocolate manufacturing, the farmers have even become the major shareholders in a Fairtrade chocolate brand, Divine Chocolate, which is now selling in the United Kingdom, the United States and Scandinavia. Despite impressive year-on-year growth over the last decade to encompass 746 producer organizations across 59 countries, and an estimated global retail value of US$ 4.2 billion, Fairtrade still has a long way to go. Fairtrade cocoa is grown by 47 certified cocoa producer organizations representing over 50,000 cocoa growers in 16 countries.

    Last year, more than 10,000 tonnes of cocoa beans were sold under Fairtrade terms. Yet, until this year, Fairtrade chocolate was still somewhat of a niche product. Kuapa Kokoo, for example, was selling less than 10 per cent of its production on Fairtrade terms. The only way for Fairtrade to increase the value back to farmers is to increase the size of the Fairtrade market. Developing collaborative partnerships with major chocolate manufacturers such as Cadbury is key to achieving this.

    Cadbury's commitment to Fairtrade certification of its flagship brand, Cadbury Dairy Milk, will see the company quadruple the amount of Ghanaian cocoa sold on Fairtrade terms from around 5,000 to 20,000 tonnes. Kuapa Kokoo has now joined the Cadbury Cocoa Partnership programme, and Fairtrade is working with Cadbury's NGO partners to organize farmers in the 100 Cadbury Cocoa Partnership communities to achieve Fairtrade certification standards. The aim is to use the fruits of fairer trade for sustainable community benefit so that the farmers can take control of their own businesses and community investment, and subsequently attract younger generations back into farming. For the Fairtrade movement, as well as the direct producer benefits, the partnership is also providing a springboard to communicate the Fairtrade message to a brand-loyal mainstream public who for years have been telling Fairtrade that they "would buy Fairtrade chocolate, if only it tasted like Cadbury". The partnership with Cadbury takes that next crucial step towards the long-term goal of tipping the balance of trade in favour of producers across Africa, Asia and Latin America.

    For Cadbury, working with Fairtrade has been a strategic fit with the company's "performance-driven-values-led" approach that is paying off in terms of profits and consumer sentiment. The new Cadbury Fairtrade chocolate bar has already been launched in the UK and Ireland, and is due to roll out in Australia, Canada, Japan and New Zealand in 2010. Consumer enthusiasm for the new Fairtrade bar - which tastes and costs the same as the old version - has been overwhelmingly positive.