The Fairtrade Foundation congratulates Mars as the first packs of Fairtrade certified MALTESERS® are now available in UK stores, following the Mars–Fairtrade agreement announced last September.“What sweet news for cocoa farmers in West Africa, and for chocolate lovers in the UK, that the UK’s 3rd largest chocolate brand, MALTESERS, are now Fairtrade certified.”, says Harriet Lamb, Executive Director of the Fairtrade Foundation. “This gives a significant boost to smallholder farmers to build their organisations and invest in a brighter future.” The cocoa will come from cooperatives in West Africa, and this move will contribute in excess of US $1 million in annual Fairtrade Premium funds for cocoa farmers’ groups to invest in their farms, business organisations and communities.”
Over 110 million packs of MALTESERS are sold in the UK per year – over 5 billion Maltesers in total. Fairtrade works with around 100,000 cocoa farmers in the West African countries of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.
Chantal says “While welcoming the mass producers of chocolate to the concept of “fair trade” we find that most of the buying public have little understanding of how this works in reality. As with all certifying bodies, there is a lot of paperwork and the Fairtrade Foundation do not do their bit for free, it is a big investment for small ethical social entrepreneurs. You may be interested to read the other side of the argument: criticism for the Fairtrade Foundation. Even based on their own numbers, this has to be seen as little more than a token gesture at less than a penny per packet sold and less than a dollar per farmer per month.
Our joint venture Grococo works by reversing the normal terms of trade. Working with the local community to manufacture finished chocolate bars, they keep the added value where the beans are grown. Where cocoa growing has been a marginal activity on the island of Grenada, now there is a thriving micro economy based on organic cocoa. This has got to be an example of “best practice” to the world of cocoa growing and sustainability.