Breakthrough for Fairtrade Farmers
Nine companies including Mars, major German, Swiss & Japanese retailers and brands first to sign on to new Fairtrade Sourcing Programs. Fairtrade cocoa farmers to see initial 14 percent sales boost in 2014.
Fairtrade farmers are set for a breakthrough year as Fairtrade International today announced the first commitments to farmers under an innovative new commodity sourcing model. Already at launch nine companies have signed on to increase their Fairtrade purchases starting with initial 2014 volumes set to deliver $1.2m in additional Fairtrade Premium to cocoa farmers by the end of this year.
Speaking at the International Sweets and Biscuits Fair (ISM), CEO Harriet Lamb called the first agreements a “flying start” for the organization’s ambition to take farmers’ cocoa, sugar and cotton sales to a new level.
Boost to Fairtrade cocoa farmers as leading brands sign on
Mars and major German, Swiss and Japanese retailers and brands are the first to make serious commitments to cocoa farmers under Fairtrade’s new commodity sourcing model. Swiss company Switcher is also announced today as the first to pioneer the new approach in cotton.
The early commitments alone will increase Fairtrade cocoa sales sixfold in Germany in 2014 and deliver 14% growth to Fairtrade cocoa farmers worldwide, by close to 6000 metric tonnes (MT). Many of these companies have set multi-year growth targets so Fairtrade cocoa farmers will benefit from year-on-year increases to overall volumes of cocoa sales.
The current deals will benefit existing and new Fairtrade cocoa farmers in Ghana, the Ivory Coast, Dominican Republic and Peru, with more funds to invest in farm and community projects and wider access to Fairtrade benefits including income, participation in democratic organizations and support services.
“This is the breakthrough we have been looking for. The farmers I represent in Africa have been looking to sell more cocoa as Fairtrade for a long time,” said Fortin Bley, President of the Fairtrade Africa Cocoa Network, cocoa farmer and secretary general of CANN cooperative in the Ivory Coast.
“This new program means we can already increase our Fairtrade sales. This means more Fairtrade Premium money to invest in trainings to increase the productivity of our members' farms, thereby increasing their incomes. It means more Premium money invested in social programs like potable water, construction of schools, and more impact for our communities.”
Fairtrade unveils commodity sourcing approach
The new Fairtrade Sourcing Programs for cocoa, sugar or cotton connect Fairtrade farmers with companies wanting to buy these specific raw products on Fairtrade terms. Globally more and more businesses are committing to responsible sourcing of key commodities – a big opportunity for farmers.
Rather than focusing on all the ingredients for one final product, Fairtrade Sourcing Programs means companies can now make big commitments to use Fairtrade cocoa, sugar or cotton across product ranges or even their whole business. It is one more way to work with Fairtrade alongside labelling products with the FAIRTRADE Mark. Farmers continue to benefit from all the same Fairtrade Standards, including the Fairtrade Premium, and the Fairtrade Minimum Price when applicable.
“We’re determined to drive ever greater opportunities for farmers and workers at the sharp end of the injustices in global trade. Fairtrade Sourcing Programs is one important innovation that opens up whole new markets for farmers. We’re delighted to have so many businesses already on board – and you can be sure there’s more to come!” said Harriet Lamb, CEO Fairtrade International.
“Cocoa is now off the starting blocks and we have big ambitions for sugar and cotton farmers, too.”
New and long-time Fairtrade commercial partners announce ambitious commitments
The first companies to announce commitments today under the Fairtrade Sourcing Program include:
- Mars will take a new step in their partnership with Fairtrade by sourcing all the cocoa for their Twix bar in the German market as Fairtrade. This builds on Mars’ existing commitment to Fairtrade farmers through their Fairtrade Mark-labelled Maltesers in UK and Ireland. Mars is working towards sourcing 100% certified cocoa by 2020.
- German Rewe Group will increase cocoa purchases under the Fairtrade Cocoa Program for their own-brand products, in addition to their existing products with the FAIRTRADE Mark.
- German chocolate manufacturer Riegelein will work towards sourcing all the cocoa for their entire own-label ‘Riegelein’ assortment under the Fairtrade Cocoa Program by 2017, in addition to their existing Fairtrade certified Easter and Christmas chocolate assortments.
- Coop, the retailer with the largest selection of Fairtrade products in Switzerland, aims to source Fairtrade cocoa for all own-label products by 2017 in addition to their current Fairtrade commitments. The biscuit ‘Chococroc’ will be the first product on shelf, with more products to follow later this year.
- Japanese retailer AEON, which has been selling the Fairtrade coffee, chocolate and others under its own brand "TOPVALU" since 2004, will be the first in Asia to work with the Fairtrade Cocoa Program. They intend to increase their volumes of Fairtrade cocoa tenfold by 2020.
- Swiss premium biscuit manufacturer Kambly, a new Fairtrade partner, has committed to purchase all the cocoa for their new ‘Knusper-Nuss’ and ‘Milch-Truffe’ biscuits on Fairtrade terms.
- Retail chains Lidl and Kaufland will announce commitments under the Fairtrade Cocoa Program in Germany.
- Swiss apparel brand Switcher, a long-time Fairtrade supporter, will scale-up their purchases of Fairtrade cotton to 35% of their total cotton under the new Fairtrade Program Mark.
“This commitment means an important new step in the cooperation between Mars and Fairtrade, which began in 2012 with the certification of Maltesers in the UK and Ireland,” says Thomas Bittinger, CEO of Mars Chocolate Germany. “I am delighted that we can now also work together in Germany to drive forward cocoa sustainability.”
Businesses may be able to communicate about their purchases via a new Fairtrade Program Mark on product or they can choose corporate communication only.
More to come from Fairtrade
Fairtrade Sourcing Programs are part of Fairtrade International’s global three-year strategy “Unlocking the Power of the Many”, which seeks to dramatically increase Fairtrade’s impact for farmers and workers. New living wage benchmarks for workers, improved farmer access to finance, more farmer support programs and Fairtrade product launches in emerging markets Brazil and India are all in the works for 2014.
 Figures based on 2012 estimated retail sales of Fairtrade cocoa. 2013 figures will be released later in the year.