Cadbury Goes Fairtrade

Article excerpt


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 [pounds sterling] (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. …


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