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Chocolate Ethical Trade Fairtrade

Alternative Chocolate Certification Schemes – Some to Consider Some to Ignore

Fairtrade – We have discussed in-depth in the previous post what Fairtrade measures and what the certification encompasses. Of course, Fairtrade is a viable option when considering which chocolate, you should buy. Buying a bar with the Fairtrade logo on is a good option, particularly if the alternative has no certification logo on it at all. In summary it has fair pricing at the core of its certification. Ensuring price volatility, which is very dangerous for small farmers who in developing countries have very little risk protection and an inability in the most cases to insure themselves from this price volatility. Fairtrade therefore guarantees a minimum price with the Fairtrade premium on top (for coca in 2018 that is $2000 / tonne cocoa & $200 / tonne on top for the premium.

Rainforest Alliance – We will discuss this label in more detail in a future post. In summary, it is more an environmental scheme and focusses more on environmental factors. It does not have a minimum pricing at the heart of the certification and therefore farmers are not paid a minimum price (the certification cost is covered however by a premium negotiated by the buyer and seller, around $100 / tonne cocoa in 2017). Of note however within this certification is the total ban on deforestation, meaning that no deforestation is allowed on any of the farms where the certification is to be granted.

Alternative less popular chocolate models. – With Big Benefits!

Direct Trade The International Labor Rights Forum, recommends buying your chocolate from companies who buy directly from farmers. This model cuts out the multiple middlemen involved in the cocoa supply chain as well as knowing exactly where the chocolate comes from. It, therefore, makes it increasingly likely that the farmers will receive a better wage.

We have shown a few examples of direct trade chocolate companies on our Instagram page. Madécasse and Divine Chocolate are 2 examples, we at Lifestyleandethics recommend buying from.

Value-Added at Source – Another model worth considering when buying your chocolate is the value-added at source model. Again, Our Instagram page details a few of these value added at source companies. As described in the previous post, poverty plays a critical role in all the negative aspects of the cocoa supply chain. While farmers may only receive around 3-7% of the final chocolate price, about 40% of it is taken at the manufacturing stage. The manufacturing stage in almost all done within the richer countries such as the US or Europe. Therefore the increased value added to the chocolate is not fed back into where it is needed such as Ghana or Cote d’Ivoire (instead, becoming profit for the large multinational chocolate companies). This value-added at source model is said to generate an additional 400% revenue for the cocoa producing country.

Source – Cocoa Barometer 2018, p4.

The problem with value-added at source is the price of the chocolate for you. Chocolate tends to melt quite easily and therefore making it in its final form and transporting it across the world has its challenges. However, this model has huge benefits for the countries producing it in this format and should be considered by you as a consumer if only on the odd occasion you wish for a sweet treat. We therefore at Lifestyleandethics recommend chocolate companies such as Pacari and Chocolat Madegascar using this model.

Companies Own Certification Schemes?

It’s worth pointing out from the start of this summary and as shown at the very end of our last post, that according to Cocoa Barometer around $4.7 billion has been saved by the largest chocolate companies due to the depreciated value of cocoa on the market in 2018.

The hundreds of millions spent therefore on sustainable cocoa schemes by these companies although a noble cause, is not exactly solving the problems faced by farmers.

The most popular in-house certification schemes include:

  • Mondelez (formerly Cadbury) Cocoa Life
  • Nestles “Cocoa Plan”
  • Lindts “Farming Program”

Mondelez (formerly Cadbury) Cocoa Life – In 2016 it replaced Fairtrade on all its chocolate bars with its own in-house label called Cocoa Life. The actual scheme itself is very vague and there are no clear results of what the scheme measures and whether it is audited by a third party or not. This, therefore, makes it difficult for us at Lifestyleandethics to advocate buying this chocolate at this current stage.

Nestles “Cocoa Plan” – Does include obvious auditing, conducted by the Fair Labor Association, for compliance with Nestles Code of Conduct. Child labour and deforestation are prohibited within this code, with all workers required to be paid the minimum wage. Publicly available audit reports are available.

Lindts “Farming Program” – This scheme is again audited via The Forest Trust with Child labour and deforestation prohibited.

However, unlike Fairtrade with a minimum pricing at the core of its model, these above in-house certification schemes promote improvements in yield through training, equipment and infrastructure.

These companies see these improvements in yield as a win-win as it also ensures their supply chain (more cocoa for them to buy). The Cocoa Barometer partially blames these schemes with flooding the market of cocoa and causing the price to collapse. We would say that supporting the alternate certification methods listed above (Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, Direct Trade and Value Added at Source) rather than the in-house company certification schemes would help make the supply chain more ethical and directly benefit those involved more. While it is easier to purchase big brand chocolates from multinational companies, understanding how your purchase can help farmers, suppliers and local economies and hopefully enable you to be more of a conscious consumer.

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