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Cadbury Goes Fairtrade

[tweetmeme] It would seem that you can’t walk through a supermarket or watch television these days without witnessing the greenwashing of fast-food chains and major producers. The marketing machines are full-steam ahead spruiking organic this, rainforest-alliance certified that and just about free-range everything else!

Apparently being ethical is important and the big companies are slowly cottoning on to the fact that consumers are concerned about the environment and the ethical treatment of people involved in the production of foodstuffs.

Cadbury is one such company and has recently launched a Fairtrade Certified range of its Dairy Milk product. Now whilst this blog, as a reflection of my own ethics, is dedicated to small, artisan and – where possible – local producers, I thought that it was important to shine the spotlight on the big guys for a second.

I was torn as to whether or not I should even mention this on FoodstuffMelb. For one, the chocolate was sent to me from a marketing firm, along with a well-written and considered press release. Would I be selling out and inadvertently marketing mass-produced product to my readers (all two of them – sorry mum and dad)? Moreover, other smaller producers and growers have been producing ethical and sustainable goods for decades, so why not focus on them?

I’m usually very cynical of major corporations’ intentions when they release such a product, as Cadbury have done here. If they are so concerned about the environment and ethics, why not make all their chocolate Fairtrade Certified? Why not go organic as well while they are at it? I read with interest in the media release that:

“Over 45,000 Ghanaian farmers have already benefitted from the move, and Cadbury globally hope to expand this to a million farmers over the next decade.”

However with a labor force in excess of 10 million people, of which 60% is dedicated to agriculture (a large portion dedicated to the production of cocoa), one must consider just how much of an impact this move is having on the people of Ghana. Ghana is responsible for over 20 per cent of the world’s cocoa production. Suddenly the impact on the 45,000 lives Cadbury claim to be helping seems like a splash in the ocean.

Whether this is merely a marketing stunt or not, one thing is certain, at least Cadbury are trying to make a difference. The more companies do to promote sustainability and ethical food production in Australia and overseas, the more the message reaches the masses.

So my decision to mention this product on FoodstuffMelb was a relatively easy one in the end. Regardless of the intent, the more people who hear terms like: sustainability, ethicality, Fairtrade and so on, the more people and the planet benefit from it. So with that, well done Cadbury.

Is your glass and a half full, or empty?



12 thoughts on “Cadbury Goes Fairtrade

  1. You mean *three* readers. I read your blog diligently.

    This sounds silly. Why can’t Cadbury just go fair trade all the way? It makes having their fair trade range sound so…token, as if to appease the consumer who goes out of his or her way to be politically correct.

    It doesn’t sound like this range is borne of any altruism or social concern, but just another marketing ploy. But then again (I am asking myself this as I type), is it so bad if people latch onto this new product, if it’s helping third world farmers?

    A complicated issue. Be interesting to see if this product sticks around.

    Posted by Gem | April 8, 2010, 6:57 pm
    • Thanks Gem, appreciate the vote of confidence. I agree with you totally. It’s frustrating to see companies ‘support’ important causes in such a token way, presumably for financial gain rather true empathy for the cause.

      Posted by Grant | April 8, 2010, 7:04 pm
  2. The reasons for companies like Cadbury only going one product at a time are often that it takes considerable time and investment to bring the amount of farmers to do the volumes required into the Fairtrade system, the initial Cadbury decision did take some time. The other reason is that Fairtrade certifies the supply chain, with companies like Cadbury your talking about massively complicated and diverse supply chains, so its one step at a time I guess.

    Posted by Daniel | April 9, 2010, 11:10 am
    • Thanks Daniel, great point. From someone who works for a major FMCG company, I understand the challenges faced in rolling out such a project.

      It’s a good start and I’m glad Cadbury have made the effort, I just wish more companies were proactively seeking change in ethical and environmental practices, rather than simply reacting to consumers consistent calls for it.

      Posted by Grant | April 9, 2010, 12:02 pm
  3. “one must consider just how much of an impact this move is having on the people of Ghana… Suddenly the impact on the 45,000 lives Cadbury claim to be helping seems like a splash in the ocean.”

    This is one of most insensate and ridiculous comments I ever read in my life.

    You are talking about Human beings! 45,000 people is nothing?

    I don’t care if was Cadbury or Nestle, but if any company can change 1, just ONE life is more than enough!

    “It’s a good start and I’m glad Cadbury have made the effort”

    If you don’t understand the impact and its process, please be quiet. Being quiet is better than wrong.

    Posted by Sheyla | April 9, 2010, 6:10 pm
    • Sheyla,

      A complete over-reaction on your part. You have read into the words what you wish to hear. The post did not imply that “45,000 people is nothing” as you put it. It clearly stated it as “a splash in the ocean”.

      The level at which the idea of Fair Trade is alluded to on the packaging is in no way reflective of the level of people helped in the real world. Keeping in mind the article points out around 6 million people are involved in the production of cocoa used in Cadbury products alone, do you really think Cadbury deserve the right to advertise their ‘Fair Trade’ with such vigour?

      When the vast majority of their entire business can be deemed as Fair Trade, only then should they be allowed to emblazon their products with gold font and such fanfare.

      Posted by Gillsy | April 22, 2010, 10:57 am
    • Not sure if your speed reading meant that you missed the first point “However with a labor force in excess of 10 million people”

      Now if you look at
      this converts to 9/2,000
      which is equal to 0.45%

      not even half a percent?? kind of a tiny drop in their big ocean huh?

      Agreed, assisting one family in Ghana is better than none, but with a huge corporation making profits that people from Africa couldn’t even to begin to dream of, or managers and managing directors on wages beyond the lifetime salaries of entire African families, I’m sure you could appreciate why Gillsy said it’s a bit of an over reaction on your part.

      It’s true that companies need to make money to be sustainable, but I hope you are not one of these tourists that travel to a poorer country and think it’s ‘fun’ to haggle them down to 50c when you couldn’t care less if you threw away $1 tomorrow, especially when some of these people are living on $2 a day

      Fantastic article written by Grant in a very diplomatic and tactful approach. Hope you got to enjoy your sample Grant, great read!

      Posted by Brooke | June 10, 2013, 7:03 pm
  4. Heaven forbid Hershey’s launch a “fair flavour” campaign. Cadbury might need to get out of first gear.

    As for number of readers, make it 3.1. I write too much, wasting 10 words in 11 to get my point across. I am also a spot lazy, only feeling the need to read every tenth word (but i pick the really punchy, well spelt (no pun) ones).

    Keep the pictures coming. it makes it easier for speed-reading (i do aspire to get you to 3.05, reading even fewer words (or just those 1000 that the pix tell). They do well to induce hunger for all things fairtrade, purple, flat and not thick-crust.

    I look forward to your next beetroot pizza review from Ghana.


    Posted by Matteo Statisticato Doradillo | April 9, 2010, 11:05 pm
  5. Grant,
    thanks for your opinion.
    The key thing is that it is very much about Cadbury’s values, but it’s not something that Cadbury’s is shouting from the rafters. Cadbury has started incorporating Fair Trade ingredients in its flagship Dairy Milk brand, but will extend its use to other products over time.
    Lucio Ribeiro

    Posted by Lucio Ribeiro | April 30, 2010, 12:04 pm
  6. Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
    I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

    Thumbs up, and keep it going!

    Christian, iwspo.net

    Posted by Indiftanono | May 23, 2010, 1:11 pm
  7. Make that four readers.

    I like the idea of fair trade goods, but I wonder how truly possible that is with a global company like Cadbury.

    The raw ingredients for this particular block of chocolate may have been fair trade, but what about the packaging? Where did that foil wrapping it up come from? Was the cardboard recycled? Did Cadbury make sure all their delivery people were receiving the proper wages?

    It’s one thing for Cadbury to aim have one million fair trade farmers over the next decade, but it’s another to promise to do it. And it’s something else again to make this cover their entire product life-cycle.

    I’m not saying that I do any of these things, but I don’t claim to be 10% fair trade in my life.

    Posted by Patrick | April 9, 2010, 12:16 am


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