We are proud to announce that from May 2017, we will become the first UK retailer to sell and use only Fairtrade cocoa in all of our products, from the chocolate sprinkles on our doughnuts to the chocolate chips in our Irresistible Triple Chocolate Cookies.
Working in partnership with the Fairtrade Foundation to create a new sourcing model, the landmark move means that all cocoa in our own-brand ranges will be bought entirely through a new retail-ready version of Fairtrade's Cocoa Sourcing Program, which has been developed over the last 12 months in collaboration with the Foundation.
This commitment will bring back an additional £450k in Fairtrade Premiums to cocoa farmers every year and will bring not just security through a minimum prices, but also social and economic benefits to cocoa farmers.
The move follows the news that all our own-brand chocolate confectionery range now carries the Fairtrade Mark – from chocolate bars and gift boxes to chocolate buttons and seasonal novelties.
Set to be worth an estimated £7.1m* to the industry, our commitment will generate £450,000 in Fairtrade Premium per annum** for cocoa communities, ensuring that money goes directly in to the hands of the farmers.
The switch will include over 200 of our Co-op products, will be completed by the end of May 2017. It will see a five-fold rise in the amount of Fairtrade cocoa sourced by the retailer, taking the total tonnage from 526 to 2,848 tonnes.
Our Growing Stories campaign ran in 2016, connecting customers and members directly with our Fairtrade producers online. The campaign raised £50K in total, through a social media and we’re thrilled to see the first funded project begin this month.
The first round of money (£25k) went to Aguadas co-operative in Columbia, made up of 5,000 smallholder coffee producers. Our Co-op Columbian coffee comes from Aguadas and has done since 2003.
Aguadas are using the funding to run a food education project for 130 women in their community. The women are being trained in business skills, leadership, food safety and how to manage community gardens. They will go on to share their learnings with the wider community through a schools education programme.
All the women have now been selected to take part and training is underway and the course includes leadership and team work skills, food handling and entrepreneurship focused on gender equality.
The women taking the course, along with their families, created a mural to celebrate the start of the project and the coming together of the community to improve health and sustainability. They also designed a symbolic logo for the project: a hand represents the women, the plant to represents their training and the circle to represent the projects sustainability.
To learn more about Aguadas Coffee Co-operative, Columbia go to their Facebook page