After a decade of buying Fairtrade cocoa and sugar, Nestle, the confectioner behind KitKat’s, is splitting from the Fairtrade Foundation, which certifies products and ingredients as meeting standards and paying farmers a fair price and will use the Rainforest Alliance certificate instead.
The decision has sparked outrage from MPs and the public alike. Under Fairtrade, cocoa farmers earn a minimum price of around £199 per tonne for their cocoa beans sold on Fairtrade terms – with the potential to make more if the market price is higher. On top of this, a Fairtrade premium of about £190 per tonne is paid to the certified farming co-operatives. This money is invested in community projects such as building schools or health centres, improving productivity and quality.
However, under Nestle’s Cocoa Plan, farmers will receive a premium of just £47.80 per tonne set by the Rainforest Alliance. Nestle, which reported global profits of more than £10 billion last year, said that they would devote £1.5 million over the next two years to aid farmers but there are no price guarantees beyond that.
Luke Pollard MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport said:
“Cocoa and sugar farmers are some of the most vulnerable and precarious workers in the world. They deserve a fair days pay for a fair day’s work. Nestle’s decision to drop Fairtrade means, 27,000 farmers, from co-operatives in Cote d’Ivoire, Fiji and Malawi will lose nearly £2 million in Fairtrade Premium each year.
At a time when we should be banding together globally to fight the climate emergency and take on the Coronavirus, this feels like an incredibly mistimed and ill-judged decision.
Nestlé has not always had a good reputation when it comes to it’s supply and operations in the developing world, and I recognise that they have done much to improve this. It is a shame that they have chosen to do damage to their reputation once again by stopping Fairtrade. I hope that decision is swiftly reversed.”