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KitKat’s decision to cut ties with Fairtrade ‘profoundly disappointing’, says charity boss

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Fairtrade boss, Michael Gidney, said Nestle’s decision to cut the chocolate brand’s 10-year partnership with the charity is “profoundly disappointing”. The multinational food and drink corporation announced that it will now source its cocoa to make KitKat bars from farms on Rainforest Alliance terms instead of those working with the Fairtrade Foundation.

Nestle already work with Rainforest Alliance certified farmers for some of their other brands such as Aero and Yorkie.

They declared that the new partnership for KitKat will start in October 2020.

Speaking to PA news, Mr Gidney revealed that the non profit organisation’s cocoa farmers in the Ivory Coast were “devastated” by the announcement.

He said: “It would never be good news but to face this when the country is looking at one of the worst health crises imaginable makes things particularly difficult.

“Nestle’s relationship with farmers in Ivory Coast has been able to make a huge difference to village communities, helping them to receive electricity and water pumps.

“The decision is a huge blow.”

The Fairtrade Foundation is a UK based charity that works to support disadvantaged producers in developing countries.

They promote and license the Fairtrade Mark, which is a guarantee that farmers get a set minimum price, among other international standards.

Global technical manager for Nestle Confectionary, Simon Billington, reportedly said the cooperation is mindful that “the move will have an impact on some farmers”, but claimed it is “working hard” to mitigate this.

Nestle said it will offer financial support to help its current farmers to certify with the Rainforest Alliance if they desired.

The company claimed its decision had not been taken to save money.

They also said that they would spend the same amount on cocoa from its farmers one the next year.

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Nestle further announced that they will also invest in a series of initiatives to support farmers and communities.

This will reportedly include a £1 million investment to improve incomes and then a further £500,000 on community projects.

Mr Billington continued: “Our expanded partnership with Rainforest Alliance underlines our commitment to sustainable cocoa sourcing throughout our global supply chain.

“Our successful partnership with Fairtrade is ending as we harmonise our certification for sustainable sourcing internationally.

“The Rainforest Alliance has significant experience working with cocoa farmers in understanding and implementing robust sustainability criteria that drives positive change, and we look forward to deepening our collaboration in the coming years.”

Alex Morgan, chief markets officer at the Rainforest Alliance, explained how the non-governmental organisation is “delighted” about the new partnership.

He said: “We’re delighted Nestle is strengthening its position in the cocoa sector and unifying its responsible cocoa sourcing commitment across all of its portfolios.

“Our certification programmes continue to connect companies, consumers, farmers and businesses committed to protecting the health of ecosystems, workers, and communities by using social and market forces to protect nature and improve the lives of food producers.”

In 2017, the Fairtrade Foundation experienced its reportedly most damaging blow when Sainsbury’s decided to cut ties with the charity.

The supermarket chain said it was ending its partnership to adopt its own-brand tea and would instead use its own scheme to guarantee fair prices to farmers.

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