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In the midst of Fairtrade Fortnight, which runs until Saturday 7th March, Cadbury have made a major announcement. Cadbury Dairy Milk, the UK’s best selling chocolate bar, will become Fairtrade certified in the summer. This will triple the amount of Fairtrade cocoa sourced from Ghana to about 15,000 tonnes a year, of a total annual production of 600,000 tonnes. Under the Fairtrade scheme, Cadbury will pay a guaranteed minimum price, even if the open market price falls below it, for Ghanaian cocoa. The move is part of the Cadbury Cocoa Partnership, a £45m initiative over 10 years designed to help cocoa farming communities across the developing world. The Cadbury website says “100 years ago William Cadbury chose beans from Ghana. A year ago we founded the Cadbury Cocoa Partnership. And from Autumn 2009 Cadbury Dairy Milk will be Fairtrade certified.”

Cadbury have always had a strong link with Corporate Social Responsibility, since the Cadbury brothers built their Factory in a Garden at Bourneville, near Birmingham, in 1879. They added decent housing for the factory workers, schools for their children and sports and social facilities for whole families in one of the great examples of Victorian social entrepreneurship. Their website now has some very good resources for examining this latest move to extend their social objectives: ‘The 5 Key Benefits of Fairtrade’ and ‘Fairtrade and Consumers’ could both be useful for investigating this aspect of External Influences and Corporate Strategy parts of the A2 syllabus.

Harriet Lamb, chief executive of The Fairtrade Foundation, says that the recession has not affected sales of Fairtrade goods so far, with 1.3 million more households buying them in 2008 than in 2007, and total sales rising from £500 million to £700 million. There is also a link here to the Fairtrade Fortnight webpage, which includes news about Go Bananas, which offers you the opportunity to be part of the world’s biggest Fairtrade banana-eating record attempt on Friday this week!

Later addition:
A blog in The Guardian questions whether it is quite fair that “...great big Cadbury with their massive distribution, their hierarchical structures, their huge marketing budgets” can enter the Fairtrade movement and “blow out of the water” the small producers like Divine who have been slowly but surely carving out this market for a decade or so, and also whether the principle of Fairtrade producers as small co-operative style producers is being corrupted by this move. What do you think?

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