Cause for Celebration(s)

Amen.

Amen.

We can breathe a sigh of relief folks!

Yes Cadbury Dairy Milk products are no longer going to have the FAIRTRADE mark. But this is cause for Celebration(s), if you read this illuminating post from Fairtrade’s blog: Why I want to cheer, not jeer, what is happening with Cadbury and Fairtrade. The piece clarifies that what we are witnessing is a nuanced transition. It describes how ‘Cocoa Life’, a programme Cadbury and Mondelēz have launched themselves, is actually trying to go much further ethically. The whole post is interesting but here is the key quote:

“Cocoa Life has subsequently become the primary route by which Cadbury- Mondelēz is taking on more direct responsibility and ownership for the sustainability of the cocoa and the impact for cocoa growing communities, including trading and payments to farmers. This posed an interesting challenge to Fairtrade. Could we now embed our values and principles – fair trading, sustainable livelihoods and farmer empowerment – into the very heart of its business practice? Who would be holding Cocoa Life accountable, or verifying its impact? Someone should surely do that job, and Cocoa Life was open for Fairtrade to help play that role. So we set out some rules for how this might work.”

Fairtrade are redefining their whole relationship with Cadbury. Rather than Cadbury fitting Fairtrade into a tokenistic part of its enterprise, it is seeking to evolve “the very heart of its business practice”. Cadbury should be admired for investing in this area, although it’s not just out of the goodness of that heart it is acting. Cadbury is part of a wider story of companies responding to pressure from consumers and organisations such as Fairtrade.

Fairtrade are going to be working even closer with Cadbury, both to help improve the lives of some of the world’s poorest farmers, and to hold the organisation to account, ensuring that Coca Life delivers at least and as it develops, more than ‘Fairtrade.’

We are seeing an evolution rather than an abandonment. The aim of Fairtrade is, in some sense, not to exist – to not need to exist. Fairtrade would, I am sure, like to see a world where there is no need for them to campaign for fair trade practices because they are such a given nobody needs to. We are a long way from that, but we are still seeing something momentous happening. A subtle change, where Cadbury continues to internalise trading fairly in to its whole operation, rather than offering a goodwill gesture in one area. It is still down to us as consumers and organisations such as Fairtrade to remind them, and all businesses, that this is the sort of thing we care about. But it’s not the beginning of the end, it’s end of the beginning.

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