Cocoa Life FAQs

Fairtrade in new partnership with Cocoa Life

What will be the impact for cocoa farmers of this change?

Fairtrade has achieved significant impact for the cocoa communities we work with but the scale of the problem and poverty in cocoa communities requires significant investment to speed up the pace of change. 

Through this new partnership between Fairtrade and Cocoa Life, by 2019 five times as much Cadbury chocolate in the UK and Ireland will be made with sustainably sourced cocoa, which in turn will aim to transform the future of more than 200,000 farmers and 1 million people in cocoa communities in West Africa, Asia and Latin America. 

Up until now, the amount of Fairtrade certified cocoa is equivalent to the amount of cocoa needed to produce the plain Cadbury Dairy Milk bars (including Bubbly and Buttons) in the UK, Ireland, Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, and drinking chocolate in the UK and Ireland. 

When Mondelez and Fairtrade agreed on a partnership part of the arrangement was to provide regular annual updates on progress towards the shared goals of Cocoa Life. Read the first statement.

What will be the impact for sugar farmers? 

Cadbury will continue to source Fairtrade certified sugar at the same volume as has been sourced to date for Cadbury Dairy Milk so no sugar farmers will lose out from this change.

Will the cocoa still be traded on Fairtrade terms under the Cocoa Life programme?

The cocoa for Cadbury products in the UK and Ireland under Cocoa Life will not be traded according to the Fairtrade Standards of certification. 

However, Fairtrade has worked with Cocoa Life to ensure that the farmers will not lose out – they will instead receive a competitive price for the cocoa, additional loyalty cash payments plus further investments in projects and support to improve their farming practices and implement community action plans. The value of all this will be at least equivalent to that previously delivered under Fairtrade. In addition, the expansion of Cocoa Life across the whole Cadbury range by 2019 in the UK and Ireland will lead to a five-fold increase of chocolate made with sustainably sourced cocoa.

From a farmer perspective, it will be up to the farmers’ organisations how much they wish to sell to Cocoa Life, and whether they wish to sell their cocoa on Fairtrade terms to other companies or for other products. They will be free to trade on Fairtrade terms as long as they continue to remain Fairtrade certified themselves.

Is the FAIRTRADE Mark still important?

Absolutely. The FAIRTRADE Mark remains the world’s most recognised ethical label and is trusted by 8 in 10 people (Globescan). The FAIRTRADE Mark on a product shows that it has been traded and certified in accordance with our rigorous international standards, designed to deliver a better deal for farmers and workers. Globally, sales of Fairtrade products are still growing year on year. 

Fairtrade will evolve in the way that it works but we continue to see certification against our rigorous standards as the lion’s share of our work, it remains our main way of doing business. Certification of products with the FAIRTRADE Mark offers businesses traceability, transparency and positive impact for producers in their supply chains, and thousands of companies globally work with us in this way.
We certainly will continue certifying products and offering certified ingredient sourcing too, however not many companies have a programme on the ground of the size and scale of Cocoa Life, and it is giving us the opportunity to embed our values within its core business. In this rapidly changing economic, social and environmental landscape, it is critical we are increasingly flexible and innovative in our engagement with businesses and communities, as outlined in earlier this year in Fairtrade’s strategy. 

Why has the FAIRTRADE Mark come off the pack?

Cocoa Life is a different initiative to certification, so it is appropriate that the products should stop carrying the FAIRTRADE Mark. We are a transparent organisation and it would be misleading for consumers to see the FAIRTRADE Mark on the front of packs, because the cocoa in Cadbury chocolate is not going to be Fairtrade certified from June 2017.

However, Fairtrade will be working instead with Cocoa Life at the heart of the programme, on the ground with farmers where it matters most, to scale up impact in supporting sustainable cocoa communities for the future, and driving at least equivalent value to them as they’ve received under Fairtrade as well as new programmes to tackle climate change for example. For this reason we are also communicating Fairtrade’s continued relationship as a partner with Cocoa Life on the back of Cadbury products, in order to give the public ongoing assurance of that involvement. 

How long has Fairtrade been working with Cadbury?

Our relationship with Cadbury started with the certification of Cadbury Dairy Milk in 2009, but of course we have been working with Green & Black’s, which is now also owned by the same company, since the very first Fairtrade products were launched in 1994. 

What has been the impact of Fairtrade’s work with Cadbury so far?

The existing relationship with Cocoa Life has already delivered, and that’s what we’ll be building on. For example, since 2009, the partnership between Cadbury and Fairtrade has: 

  • Enabled the establishment of strong farmer organisations and supported them to function efficiently, with effective governance and good business practices 
  • Supported farmer organisations through Fairtrade premiums with the budget and capacity to carry out their own community development projects, and offer benefits to individual farmers and their communities, such as micro-saving and loan schemes, agricultural tools and farming inputs
  • Farming communities have benefitted from Fairtrade training on income diversification, workers’ rights and environmental sustainability
Find out more about Fairtrade’s work in cocoa