Cadbury, the popular British chocolate maker, just agreed to source Fairtrade cocoa for Cadbury Dairy Milk, the top-selling chocolate bar in the UK. The move effectively triples sales of Fairtrade cocoa for farmers in Ghana, where Cadbury sources from Kuapa Kokoo. It was one of the first cooperatives there to be Fairtrade certified in the ’90s. In the late ’90s, Kuapa Kokoo also started its own brand, Divine Chocolate, to keep more of the value that typically gets skimmed by middle-men and big chocolate companies. Erin Gorman, CEO of the Divine Chocolate USA, welcomes the move, which validates its model of Fairtrade sourcing. Bama Athreya, executive director of the activist NGO International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), also supports the development.
Athreya and other activists have been campaigning for over eight years to convince major chocolate companies such as Nestle, Mars, and Hershey’s to purchase Fairtrade cocoa. The Commitment to Ethical Cocoa Sourcing, a set of guidelines signed by activists and progressive chocolate companies such as Equal Exchange, argues that Fairtrade helps stop the worst forms of child labor and trafficked labor. Both are widespread problems on cocoa farms in West Africa. Chocolate companies balked at the Fairtrade solution.
Erin Gorman of Divine points out how Fairtrade addresses not just the symptom of child labor, but also the root causes that underpin child labor. Check out the Divine Chocolate website for videos of Kuapa Kokoo members.