Nestlé's KitKat drops Fairtrade commitment, set to impact 27,000 cocoa & sugar farmers in Ivory Coast, Fiji & Malawi

On 23 June 2020, Nestlé's KitKat was criticised for dropping its long-standing Fairtrade certification on chocolate bars in the UK and Ireland. The move was described as "profoundly disappointing". There are mounting fears that 27,000 small-scale cocoa and sugar cane farmers in the Ivory Coast, Fiji and Malawi - receiving a minimum protected price and financial bonuses - will be hardest hit by Nestlé's change in policy. A network of all Fairtrade-certified Ivorian producers have called on Nestlé to maintain its commitment to Fairtrade producers by considering the devastating effects of the current COVID-19 pandemic. 

Nestlé said it would instead source its cocoa for KitKat bars from farms on Rainforest Alliance terms. The Swiss-owned giant also pledged support for affected farmers and denied allegations that the decision was a cost-cutting exercise. 

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29 June 2020

Nestlé's decision to drop Fairtrade from KitKat chocolate bars risks livelihoods of African, Caribbean & Pacific sugar cane farmers, says report

Author: Flora Southey, Food Navigator

"Nestlé's KitKat drops Fairtrade amid criticism that thousands of small-scale cocoa farmers are being put at risk", 24 June 2020

[F]rom October 2020, [Nestlé] will move its cocoa and sugar sourcing accreditation for KitKats from Fairtrade to the Rainforest Alliance. The switch marks the end of a decade-long sourcing partnership for Nestlé and Fairtrade and the latter fears the decision could have devastating consequences...

The move will mean a loss of almost $2m (£1.95m) in Fairtrade Premium each year for co-operatives in Côte d'Ivoire, Fiji and Malawi, representing 27, 000 small scale producers...This income is a real lifeline for some of the world's poorest farmers"

Concerning sugar, Nestlé's decision means that all future purchases of sugar will be from European sugar beet producers, explained the [Fairtrade] Foundation, meaning that cane sugar farmers will also lose the Fairtrade Premium. Beyond that, they also risk losing access to marker their sugar..."[a] non-Fairtrade relationship means regression and continued poverty".

 ...Nestlé said it is sourcing "almost all" of its...sugar from UK sugar producers..., in line with its "continued focus on increasing local agricultural sourcing where possible".  The giant [says it] is "very conscious that sugar producers, particularly in [Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific]..."face an uncertain future...and this is why we have provided an additional transitional support fund

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25 June 2020

Ivorian Fair Trade Network urges Nestlé to “Keep KitKat Fairtrade” & maintain commitments to producers & communities

Author: Atse Ossey Francis, Ivorian Fair Trade Network

“Letter from the Ivorian Fair Trade Network in response to the announcement that Nestlé is stopping buying cocoa and sugar on Fairtrade terms”, June 2020

…Fairtrade is essential for us because it allows us to participate in the development of our communities independently. It is therefore with deep regret and…concern that we have learned that after proudly producing cocoa for KitKat in the UK for a decade, 16,000 small cocoa farmers in Côte d'Ivoire will no longer enjoy the benefits of selling their cocoa on Fairtrade terms.

The decision to stop buying cocoa and sugar on Fairtrade terms means fewer schools, water pumps, health centres and the end of many other essential services. We invite Nestlé to continue negotiating with us producer representatives and the Fairtrade label in order to find ways of agreement so as to reconsider their decision. We call on Nestlé to maintain its commitment to us Fairtrade producers by considering the devastating effects of the current COVID 19 crisis.

On behalf of cocoa farmers in Côte d'Ivoire, we ask Nestlé to keep KitKat Fairtrade!

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24 June 2020

Nestlé’s decision to no longer buy Fairtrade cocoa & sugar for KitKat could impact 27,000 vulnerable African & Pacific small-scale farmers

Author: Fairtrade

“Fairtrade producers raise their voices to ask Nestlé to keep KitKat Fairtrade”, 23 June 2020

…Nestlé have informed Fairtrade they no longer plan to buy Fairtrade cocoa and sugar from some of the world’s most vulnerable small scale farmers. The move will mean a loss of almost £2 million (£1.95 million) in Fairtrade Premium each year for co-operatives in Côte d’Ivoire, Fiji and Malawi, representing 27,000 small scale producers. Nestlé’s decision will mean all future purchases of sugar will be from European sugar beet producers. Future purchases of cocoa may be from the same co-operatives, but only as part of Nestlé’s own Cocoa Plan initiative, meaning no Fairtrade Premium.

[A] typical cocoa farmer in West Africa lives below the extreme poverty line and earns on average 74p per day - less than half of a living income, but only a few pence more than the price of a KitKat. Besides the [COVID-19]…pandemic, farmers remain deeply affected by long-term endemic poverty, lack of services, low and unpredictable income and climate change. Fairtrade means access to children’s education, access to health centres, electricity to enable children to learn, as well as improved living and working conditions for farmers in the most remote areas where cocoa is grown.  

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24 June 2020

Thousands of Ivorian cocoa farmers could be hit by Nestlé's KitKat severing ties with Fairtrade; incl. company comments

Author: P.A Wire, The Guardian

“‘Profoundly disappointing’: KitKat cuts ties with Fairtrade”, 23 June 2020

KitKat has severed its ties with Fairtrade, despite the organisation behind the scheme warning that thousands of farmers would be hit by the move. The Swiss-owned food giant said it would now source its cocoa for KitKat bars from farms on Rainforest Alliance terms instead of those working with Fairtrade accreditation.

The Fairtrade label guarantees that the farmers…get a set minimum price as well as a financial bonus. Michael Gidney, chief executive of the Fairtrade Foundation, said its cocoa farmers in Ivory Coast were “devastated” by the news. “It would never be good news, but to face this when the country is looking at one of the worst health crises imaginable makes things particularly difficult…Nestle’s relationship with farmers…has been able to make a huge difference to village communities. The decision is a huge blow.”

Simon Billington, global technical manager for Nestle Confectionery, said the firm was aware that “the move will have an impact on some farmers”, but said it was “working hard” to mitigate this. The company said it would provide financial support to help its farmers to certify with the Rainforest Alliance if they wished. Nestle said its decision had not been taken to save money and that it would spend the same amount on cocoa from its farmers over the next year. It said it would also invest in a series of initiatives to support farmers and communities.

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