Ruth Mortimer on going Fairtrade

Watching TV the other night, I noticed an interesting phenomenon. An ad for Galaxy chocolate proclaimed that people could feel great eating it, not only for the taste but also the fact that it had joined up with the Rainforest Alliance (RA). For those of you unclear on the significance of this, the RA is a scheme that aims to make businesses more sustainable and fair. In other words, it’s a logo that Galaxy can use to show it is trying to act in a sustainable way.

This comes very soon after Nestlé announced it had turned its flagship KitKat brand Fairtrade. And last summer, Cadbury turned its flagship Dairy Milk brand Fairtrade.

What I found interesting about this is that Mars has not chosen to make Galaxy Fairtrade. Why is this? Well, I can’t speak for Mars but only a couple of weeks ago, the brand director of Sainsbury’s spoke about how many years it had taken to get its products to meet all The Fairtrade

Foundation’s standards. It involves convincing your farmers to accept new standards and to upgrade farms.

I’m not implying that getting RA accreditation itself is less “good” than going Fairtrade. But it simply doesn’t mean the same as Fairtrade.

Certainly, the RA makes the producer responsible for meeting standards. But as far as I know, the end brand does not have to commit to a minimum price.

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