Get creative with the Divine Chocolate & Christian Aid National Poetry Competition 2020, run by Trading Visions!

This year's theme is ‘Where does the chocolate journey begin?’ and this year’s guest judge is Onjali Raúf, author of The Boy at the Back of the Class, a story of friendship, hope, and the importance of kindness.

Engage your students in creative writing by exploring chocolate and cocoa. Head back to the source of this special treat. The chocolate that everyone loves begins its journey in the rainforests of West Africa, where farmers tend their cocoa trees on small family farms.

Poetry Competition 2020

Fairtrade Fortnight begins today - the annual celebration of all things Fairtrade!

We've refreshed our Pa Pa Paa teaching resources. 'Pa Pa Paa' means 'best of the best' in the Twi language of Ghana, and it's the motto of Kuapa Kokoo, the Fairtrade co-operative whose story we tell on the Pa Pa Paa website.

Here are our top picks from the refreshed teaching resources:

Unwrapping chocolate

This lesson plan explores two different chocolate companies, and their different approaches to doing business, through a choice of activities. Suitable for KS2 and KS3, the activities will help students to develop their critical thinking skills by exploring what it takes to be a successful - and ethical - chocolate company.

Unwrapping chocolate lesson plan

Thank You Teacher gift: A Divine Chocolate Tasting Set, a Thank You teacher card and a donation to Trading Visions.

We recently launched our Thank You Teacher gift in partnership with Divine Chocolate. The gift is both unique and ethical - something that I'm sure many teachers (including myself) would love! It consists of Divine Chocolate’s best-selling Tasting Set, a Thank You teacher card, which includes information about our Pa Pa Paa resources, and a £1 donation to Trading Visions.

Fairtrade Fortnight (26 Feb-11 Mar) is fast approaching and what better way to celebrate than with chocolate and our Pa Pa Paa education resources!

We called them ‘Pa Pa Paa’ because it’s the motto of the cocoa cooperative that we work with in Ghana. It means ‘best of the best’ in the Twi language.

To help you get started, here are our top picks for Fairtrade Fortnight:

1. 'Come on in' to a bar of chocolate

Our new Pa Pa Paa LIVE video invites you and your class inside a bar of chocolate. In this short video, Latif and his friends takes you on a tour of a cocoa farm while Roxy from Divine explains why Fairtrade is so important for the future of cocoa farming.

Watch our new video

Fairtrade Fortnight (26 Feb-11 Mar) is fast approaching and what better way to celebrate than with chocolate and our Pa Pa Paa education resources!

We called them ‘Pa Pa Paa’ because it’s the motto of the cocoa cooperative that we work with in Ghana. It means ‘best of the best’ in the Twi language.

To help you get started, here are our top picks for Fairtrade Fortnight:

1. Lesson plan - Trade: A fair deal?


Compare the lives of ordinary cocoa farmers and members of the Kuapa Kokoo Fairtrade cooperative in this lively and thought-provoking lesson. Can be used in PSHE, Geography or for spoken language in English.

View the Key Stage Two lesson plan

Fairtrade Fortnight 2018 runs from 26th February to 11th March. This year the theme is 'come on in' - an invitation to join the movement and find out more about the farmers and workers who grow our food. Check out our Pa Pa Paa LIVE website and 'come on in' to the lives of young people from cocoa growing communities in Ghana. They have made short videos about their everyday lives. A child's eye view of life in a developing country.

Pa Pa Paa LIVE

The coalition of NGOs behind the Cocoa Barometer have launched a consultation on farm gate prices, calling on chocolate companies and government cocoa bodies to pay significantly higher fixed farm gate prices and premiums to cocoa farmers.

The consultation comes after six months of falling global cocoa prices, which now stand at around $1,900 per tonne, down from around $3,000 a tonne for most of last year. For the first time in over a decade, cocoa prices have dropped below the Fairtrade minimum floor price of $2,000 per tonne.

The cocoa sector is enjoying a period of positive and extensive collaboration on sustainability issues, with chocolate companies and governments working together on gender, child labour, deforestation, rural poverty, and, most of all, farmer productivity.

We have made the Pa Pa Paa LIVE website, with a child's eye view of life from two schools in Ghana, free to view!

Here's a round up of some of our favourite videos from the website:

Cocoa Harvest
An exuberant tour of the cocoa harvesting process.

Songs and Music
An introduction to Ghanaian popular music. Includes Elvis Badu, the school's best dancer.

Adinkra Symbols
The Kuapa Kids look at the little symbols that appear on Divine Chocolate bars and what they mean in west African culture.

A visit to a Fairtrade banana farm in eastern Ghana.

Pa Pa Paa LIVE website

Campaigning NGO Banana Link, as part of the Europe-wide Make Bananas Fair campaign, recently visited several Fairtrade banana and pineapple plantations in Ghana.

They wrote an interesting blog about the visit and it was covered by Joanna Blythman in a fascinating article for The Grocer.

Worker at Gold Coast Fruits. Photo: James Robinson Photography.

This heartening story shows how the combination of Fairtrade certification, empowered and organised independent trade unions - and, increasingly, organic production - can really transform the environmental and social prospects for fruit plantations.

In mid-November, a joint press release declared a new “global partnership” between Fairtrade and Cadbury, the brand owned by global snack company Mondelēz International.

They announced that Cadbury Dairy Milk will no longer be Fairtrade certified. Instead, all Cadbury products will be brought under Mondelēz International’s in-house sustainability programme, ‘Cocoa Life’. The Fairtrade logo will be replaced with the Cocoa Life logo, and Fairtrade will become an implementing partner for Cocoa Life, with this partnership being indicated on the back of pack.

It has been seven years since Cadbury Dairy Milk became Fairtrade certified in the UK. It was a pivotal moment – perhaps the pivotal moment – in the ‘mainstreaming’ of Fairtrade in this country. At a stroke, 350 million chocolate bars a year were certified, bringing the Fairtrade Mark into every corner shop in the country.

Fairtrade campaigners celebrated and the future looked promising, with Cadbury chief executive Todd Stitzer saying that he planned to convert their other chocolate brands to Fairtrade "as soon as we can do it". It felt like perhaps Cadbury had re-engaged with its progressive Quaker roots, bringing a new 21st century ethics into the heart of its business model.

A year later, the company was the subject of a hostile and controversial takeover by US multinational Kraft, though not before they had converted the Green & Blacks range owned by Cadbury to Fairtrade. Although Kraft promised to honour Cadbury's Fairtrade commitments, it was clear that there would be no further expansion of Fairtrade certification as had previously been hoped. In 2012, Kraft split into two companies, and Cadbury became a brand owned by a new multinational food company called Mondelēz International.

The new joint announcement from Cadbury and Fairtrade unsurprisingly describes the new deal in glowing terms as a “ground-breaking commitment” and an “evolution of our partnership”. But for Fairtrade campaigners, it is mixed news at best.

There's an interesting short interview over on Confectionery News with Oliver Nieburg. He talks to Marina Vanin, global cocoa director at Fairtrade International, about their plans to review the pricing and strategy for Fairtrade cocoa. Fairtrade International is conducting a study in Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire to inform the review.

Oliver points out that Barry Parkin, head of procurement for Mars and chair of the World Cocoa Foundation, has said that cocoa incomes may need to quadruple to make cocoa sustainable. Marina is cautious and does not say whether the Fairtrade price and premium will rise after the review.

It's National Nut Day on 22nd October, an annual celebration of all things nutty!

Farmer-owned nut company Liberation is celebrating the power that women and men in nut producer communities have through Fairtrade.

Check out the films and blogs on their website.

Trading Visions offers a free Powerpoint presentation for teachers focusing on business studies, enterprise or social enterprise. It showcases nut company Liberation as an example of a successful social enterprise.

Download Liberation as social enterprise Powerpoint presentation.

Barry Parkin, head of procurement for Mars and chair of the World Cocoa Foundation, recently acknowledged how much farther current sustainability efforts in the cocoa sector have to go before farmers receive anything resembling a living income.

Speaking at the World Cocoa Conference 2016, he highlighted the need to triple or quadruple farmers' incomes to make cocoa farming an attractive proposition for the next generation.

"We can double or more the yield, we can double the income - which is a good start - but it's not yet sustainable. To get to sustainable we've got to triple or quadruple the income. That's the harsh reality... to get to a living income, a level where farmers are thriving, where the next generation want to be farms, it's a big big step."

- Barry Parkin, Global Procurement Head, Mars

It's not every day that there's an opportunity to sample the finest fair trade wines and chocolate in such grand surroundings.

Last night, Trading Visions attended a wine, cheese and chocolate tasting held in the beautifully ornate Judges' Dining Room at the Old Bailey!

The evening was arranged by JustShare and the City of London Fairtrade Group to promote ethically sourced products within the City.

We were guided expertly through the selections by Sarah Jane Evans, who is not only a Master of Wine, but is also a board member of the Academy of Chocolate! Yes, there is an institution, set up in 2005, devoted to "eating fine chocolate".

What was particularly special about the evening was Sarah Jane's lively descriptions of the different producers behind the products. For example, Rococo partner with the Grenada Chocolate company, and buy their cocoa beans directly from them, which means more money goes back to the Grenada Organic Cocoa Farmers' Cooperative.

Sarah Jane advocates for choosing quality chocolate that is ethically sourced and traded, but also commented that "in the end you have to decide whether you like it as chocolate."

Trading Visions invites you to make that decision at our fair trade chocolate and wine tasting event which is on Thursday 7th July, 7-9pm at Fairly Square. There will be a range of delicious Divine Chocolate to try with the accompanying Fair Trade wine, as well as savoury nibbles.

Tickets are available here.

An international team of researchers has published a paper showing that Theobroma cacao - the cocoa tree - is surprisingly old. Ten million years old in fact.

As a result, wild strains of cocoa in South America may contain much larger amounts of genetic variation than previously thought, which bodes well for breeding more diverse varieties that can better resist diseases, pests and climate change. Cocoa, like many cultivated agricultural crops, suffers from a lack of genetic variation.

"We hope to highlight the importance of conserving biodiversity so that it can be used to augment and safeguard the agricultural sector. By understanding the diversification processes of chocolate and its relatives we can contribute to the development of the industry and demonstrate that this truly is the Age of Chocolate," says co-author Dr Santiago Madriñán of the University of the Andes in Bogotá, Colombia.

The age of chocolate: a diversification history of Theobroma and Malvaceae

The latest Cocoa Barometer 2015, published by a coalition of European development and campaigning organisations, makes for interesting reading.

It looks at value distribution within the cocoa supply chain and asks whether the many sustainability developments that have sprung up in the cocoa sector are resulting in sufficient income for cocoa farmers. It focuses on Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, which between them produce most of the world’s cocoa.

The report gives an overview of the cocoa supply chain context:

  • Most cocoa farmers live in poverty and are ‘unorganised’, i.e. not in co-operatives or other organisations that can represent them and their interests.
  • The cocoa supply chain is highly consolidated, with just a handful of companies controlling the processing of cocoa and the manufacturing of chocolate.
  • Certification initiatives – the three leading ones by volume being Utz Certified, Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade – now account for almost 16% of global chocolate sales.
  • Companies and industry bodies also have their own sustainability initiatives, but there are few independent third-party evaluations of these.

Most of the sustainability approaches being funded by the chocolate industry, including those of the certification initiatives, focus on increasing farm productivity. It is a vision that has been most clearly articulated by Mars: increase cocoa yields, and improved income for farmers will follow.

“I’m really proud that our iconic Mars Bar brand is at the forefront of Fairtrade’s new Cocoa Sourcing Programme. It’s a crucial next step in our global commitment to certify that 100 percent of our cocoa has been produced in a sustainable manner by 2020 and it means that all three of our top UK chocolate brands now source certified cocoa, supporting farmers to improve productivity and yields and ultimately leading to improved income and better quality of life for farmers, their families and their communities.”
- Blas Maquivar, President, Mars Chocolate UK

The Cocoa Barometer report is more sceptical. After all, basic supply and demand economics suggests that increasing the supply of cocoa will result in falling prices overall.

“This could increase the dependency of farmers on cocoa and additionally lead to an oversupply of cocoa and to decreasing prices. It is at present unclear whether investing in higher productivity – leading to additional production costs for inputs and hired labour – is a functioning business model leading to higher net farm income.”
- Cocoa Barometer 2015

The report shows that productivity is an issue. Yields per hectare are lower than they could be, and farmers would benefit from training and subsidised inputs. The size of cocoa farms has also been decreasing over recent decades and the report explores the possibility that many farms may be too small to be economically viable.

But increasing yields isn’t enough if prices are too low. So what do cocoa farmers get paid?

On a recent visit to Ghana, I visited Bayerebon School, where a group of school children film regular videos about their everyday life for our Pa Pa Paa LIVE website.

The videos are aimed at their peers in UK classrooms. They devise the videos, plan a script and film the scenes. Then a colleague from our partner organisation in Ghana, the Fairtrade co-operative Kuapa Kokoo, uploads the videos for us. We download them, do a bit of basic editing, subtitle them, and then put them on the Pa Pa Paa LIVE website. We often put together worksheets to accompany the videos too.

Kids filming a scene for Pa Pa Paa LIVE

There was an interesting piece in the Guardian profiling a school campaign to make sure the bananas supplied through the government's school fruit scheme were Fairtrade.

The headteacher at Polesden Lacey Infant School encouraged pupils to explore the Fairtrade movement as part of the school's commitment to green issues. She helped the children write a letter to the school's fruit suppliers.

The company replied in May, directing them to the banana supplier, who in turn passed them to the Department of Health. Eventually they were informed that schools could not put a label on the fruit because "Fairtrade" was a brand name. The children were not impressed – without the Fairtrade stamp they felt unsure about the fruit.

This was a well attended panel discussion on the topic 'What’s the Real Cost of Food?' held on 5th March 2014 in London. It was organised by Trading Visions and SustainTalks at the Royal College of Art.

You can watch and listen to the panellists below.

Patrick Holden is the founding director of the Sustainable Food Trust whose mission is to promote international cooperation between all those involved in sustainable food production - not just those who are certified organic. Between 1995 and 2010, he was the director of the Soil Association.

Barbara Crowther is Director of Policy and Public Affairs for the Fairtrade Foundation, which is the UK member of the global standard setting and producer development non-profit organisation Fairtrade International.

Alistair Smith is international coordinator of Banana Link, set up in 1996 to campaign for a fair and sustainable banana trade.

Arthur Reeves is a food sector consultant. He spent much of his working life at Dairy Crest, the largest UK-owned dairy foods company. He held a number of senior roles at Dairy Crest, including Milk Purchasing Director and Corporate Affairs Director.

There has been much talk in Fairtrade over the last few years about “scaling up with integrity” or “mainstreaming” – i.e. growing the Fairtrade system by working with big corporate players while also ensuring that the core values and social, economic and environmental standards of Fairtrade are not compromised.

Although there have been some original principles that have fallen by the wayside – the basic Fairtrade proposition has remained the same. It is a product-based certification system, in which all ingredients in a product that can be Fairtrade must be Fairtrade, with guaranteed prices for producers, including a minimum price, a Fairtrade premium and an organic premium, social and environmental standards, and obligations on traders and importers.

Despite the rise of numerous alternative certification systems, Fairtrade has mostly stuck to its guns and kept the same model, arguably the gold standard of ethical certification marks. And a campaigner movement of activist consumers – particularly in the UK – has responded to that gold standard and voted with their wallets.

That now looks set to be shaken up, as Fairtrade International have launched a new business model that gives companies a wider and more flexible range of options for engaging with the Fairtrade system. The model is called ‘Fairtrade Sourcing Programs’ and currently applies to three commodities: cocoa, cotton and sugar.

This week, the EU passed a new public procurement directive that will allow public authorities across Europe to make a deliberate choice for fair trade products.

The new law confirms a European Court of Justice ruling which clarified that public contracts can award additional points to products "of fair trade origin".

Compliance with environmental, social and labour obligations are now enshrined in the principles of procurement law, which is a great step forwards.

The new public procurement directive is expected to enter into force in March 2014 and EU Member States will then have two years to translate it into national law.

The European Parliament's Fair Trade Working Group is chaired by British Labour MEP Linda McAvan.

It's Social Enterprise Day today, a celebration of how business can be used to achieve social objectives.

Trading Visions has two social enterprise teaching resources for schools: Powerpoint presentations showcasing two Fairtrade companies that put farmers at the heart of their business model.

Download Liberation Nuts social enterprise presentation

Download Divine Chocolate social enterprise presentation

Behind the Brands

Oxfam published an interesting report and interactive website last month looking at the social and environmental policies of the 'Big 10' global food and beverage companies.

'Behind the Brands' examines company policies in seven areas: women, small-scale farmers, farm workers, water, land, climate change and transparency.

Following the publication of the report and associated campaigning by Oxfam, the three big chocolate industry players - Mars, Nestlé and Mondelēz International (which used to be Kraft) - have all responded by making commitments to tackle gender inequality.

"The impact of Mondelēz International, Mars and Nestlé's promises, if kept, will reverberate across cocoa supply chains. Empowering women cocoa farmers has the potential to improve the lives of millions of people, some of whom are earning less than $2 a day."

- Judy Beals, Behind the Brands campaign manager

Although none of the Big 10 companies comes out of this scorecard particularly well - not a single one gets an overall 'Good' or 'Fair' score - Nestlé and Unilever emerge at the top of the list with a 'Some progress' overall score. General Mills, Kellogg's and Associated British Foods languish at the bottom with a 'Poor' score.

Associated British Foods hit back at the Oxfam report, saying that “the idea that ABF would use a ‘veil of secrecy’ in order to hide the ‘human cost’ of its supply chain is simply ridiculous” although they also pledged that their next corporate responsibility report this autumn “will confirm significant improvement in disclosure from the previous report”.

The Behind the Brands website does a great job of making visible the small number of huge companies that own so many of the everyday brands that most people are familiar with. Twinings for example is owned by Associated British Foods; Ben & Jerry's by Unilever; Cadbury by Mondelēz International; Quaker Oats by Pepsico.

There's an opportunity to go a step further with this tactic and start to examine the less well known giants of the food system: the traders and processers. The big four are Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Bunge, Louise Dreyfus and, one of the largest and most secretive companies in the world, Cargill.

Nestlé is converting its two-finger Kit Kat to Fairtrade from January 2013, doubling the volume of Fairtrade cocoa that the company purchases. The four-finger Kit Kat went Fairtrade in 2010.

Nestlé will purchase 5,300 tonnes of Fairtrade cocoa from nine cooperatives in Cote d’Ivoire to produce 800 million two-finger Kit Kats a year.

This means that 2.5% of Nestlé’s global cocoa purchases are now Fairtrade.

Nestlé infographic with facts and figures about the switch

Fairtrade Foundation press release on the switch

Fairtrade Maltesers are now available in UK shops, following the announcement that Mars would switch this product line to Fairtrade back in September.

It's an important moment for the Fairtrade movement in the UK, with the three big players that dominate the chocolate market - Kraft, Nestle and Mars - all having converted their flagship confectionery product to Fairtrade.

Fair-Play-image-smaller.jpgThe Fair Play pack is an exciting collaboration between Dubble Fairtrade Chocolate, Trading Visions and children’s author Tom Palmer.

The pack is crammed full of lesson plans and activities based on Tom Palmer’s book Off Side. Off Side is about a sixteen year old son of a cocoa farmer who is trafficked from Ghana to England, thinking he is going to be a famous footballer.

“Cooperative enterprises help build a better world.” That’s the slogan for the UN International Year of Cooperatives 2012, which was launched just a few weeks ago, and it’s a salient reminder that there are alternative ways to ‘do business’ in a world ravaged by economic crisis, climate change and undemocratic leadership.

Cooperatives are business enterprises owned and controlled by the very members they serve, able to balance the pursuit of profit and shareholder value with the needs and interests of their members and their communities. In assigning 2012 as International Year of Cooperatives, the UN has recognised the impact that cooperatives are having in poverty reduction, employment generation, sustainable development and social integration.

SEUK_postit_sq_SEday.jpgThe slogan above could just as well apply to social enterprises. Today is Social Enterprise Day. A day of celebration and profile-raising for organisations that are harnessing the power of business to create a fairer world.

The UK is recognised as a world leader in social enterprises with 62,000 UK based-social enterprises contributing over £24 billion to the economy and employing 800,000 people, while simultaneously addressing the real needs of communities.

The BBC ran a story last week returning to the issue of child labour on cocoa farms in Côte d'Ivoire.

Humphrey Hawksley in Côte d'Ivoire

Humphrey Hawksley opens the short news video by observing: “Deep in the cocoa belt of the Ivory Coast, it’s not hard to find children at work.” He then goes on to interview a farmer, some children, and a chocolate industry PR representative.

The first stories of child slavery in the Ivory Coast hit the news over a decade ago. Then in 2001, the major players in the global chocolate industry signed the Harkin-Engel Protocol, a voluntary code of self-regulation drawn up by industry to avert proposed “slave free” labelling legislation in the US.

The Harkin-Engel Protocol provided for the creation of a foundation - the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) - to tackle child labour, and pledged to develop a certification system that would ensure chocolate was free from the worst forms of child labour.

The impact of these efforts have since been assessed through the authoritative Tulane University studies. Their final report was released earlier this year and concluded that while there has been action from the chocolate industry and “significant evidence of impact”, the funding has simply not been sufficient to achieve their stated goals.

Less than 5% of children and their caregivers surveyed in Ghana and Ivory Coast have reported exposure to industry programmes to tackle child labour. That gives an idea of the scale of what still needs to be done. At Trading Visions, we've estimated that the big industry players commit no more than 0.1% or 0.2% of their chocolate sales turnover to "social investment" in cocoa farmers' livelihoods.

Guest article from Neil Howard, a PhD student writing his thesis on anti-trafficking discourse and policy at the University of Oxford.

In 2003, Benin and a small group of cotton-producing African nations took a complaint to the World Trade Organization (WTO) citing massive economic evidence that US cotton subsidies reduced national and household incomes. Noting that US subsidies to 25,000 cotton conglomerates totaled three times the entire USAID budget for Africa’s 500 million people, the plaintiffs demanded the immediate cessation of subsidies and compensation for their lost national incomes.

Though in a separate case the WTO ruled that US subsidies did indeed affect global prices, US negotiators refuted any correlation between reduced prices and lost national or household income in countries such as Benin, and placed pressure on friends and foes alike to ensure that the African initiative was ultimately dropped.

In this article, I will present evidence from my research that challenges the US position. In fact:

  1. US claims of non-causality are false – it is demonstrably true that the effect of subsidy-reduced cotton prices is felt at the level of the farming household,
  2. US subsidies have thus impoverished many vulnerable rural households and this in turn has led to an increase in the labor migration of the young, including into work that has been classified as trafficking, and is often experienced by the young themselves as exploitative.

Fair Trade USA, until recently known as Transfair, has announced its resignation from membership of the international Fairtrade labelling system, effective from the end of December 2011.

“FLO and Fair Trade USA share a belief in the importance of empowering producers and workers around the world to improve their lives through better terms of trade. However, as we look to the future, we recognize that we have different perspectives on how best to achieve this common mission.”

- Fair Trade USA and FLO joint statement, Thursday 15th September 2011

The intention appears to be for Fairtrade International (FLO) and Fair Trade USA to collaborate as best they can to maintain continuity for producers and companies, but it is clear that most players in the movement would rather this had not happened.

Fairtrade and Cocoa commodity briefingThe Fairtrade Foundation recently pubished a useful "commodity briefing" on Fairtrade and Cocoa, combining a clear and succinct overview of the global cocoa industry with a case for why Fairtrade is needed.

The broad picture it paints is one of growing global demand for chocolate, driven by rising incomes in emerging economies, increasingly outstripping available cocoa supplies. In West Africa, the productivity of cocoa farming is low, with a lack of access to finance and technology, outdated farming methods, and no incentives to improve depleted soil or replace ageing trees.

Cocoa farmers in West Africa are likely to receive 3.5 to 6.4 per cent of the value of a chocolate bar, compared with around 16 per cent in the 1980s. Over the same period, the manufacturers' share has increased from 56 to 70 per cent and the retailers' from 12 to 17 per cent. Often their children can see no future in cocoa: the average age of a cocoa farmer in West Africa is 51 years.

An inspiring moment last week, as around 400 people from around Europe met in Krems, Austria to plan for a European-wide movement for "food sovereignty".

The final declaration of the Krems forum defines food sovereignty as "the right of peoples to democratically define their own food and agricultural systems without harming other people or the environment".

It is subtly and profoundly different from "food security" - the dominant paradigm for tackling the problem of hunger and food production, exemplified in the "green revolution" and fossil fuel intensive, large scale, industrial farming. While crop yields have increased, around a billion people are malnourished. The dominant food system is one that aims primarily to make money rather than feed people.

What is refreshing is that these moves to establish a European campaign for food sovereignty follow in the footsteps of the peasants and farmers of the global South. The movement for food sovereignty originated in the global South and is a bold attempt to reclaim the global narrative on food production.

An inspiring video from the global peasants movement La Via Campesina explains the history and power of this idea whose time has come:

A House of Commons select committee has released a critical report about Kraft's conduct in the wake of its takeover of Cadbury in 2010.

Though couched in the careful language of officialdom, Is Kraft working for Cadbury? reveals the frustration of MPs when Kraft CEO Irene Rosenfeld turned down repeated requests to appear before the committee to answer questions about the controversial acquisition.

Trading Visions has published a Chocolate Scorecard assessing the main chocolate companies active in the UK market on their progress towards a more sustainable chocolate supply chain.

We scrutinise Kraft/Cadbury, Mars and Nestle alongside smaller players. These three companies control 83% of the £3.7bn UK chocolate market, and 43% of the £62bn global market.

Despite having all committed to clear ethical plans they contribute just £20m in total to support cocoa producers, no more than 0.1% or 0.2% of their turnover on chocolate sales.

It is quite a promising picture compared to five or ten years ago, with most companies finally investing in cocoa farmers’ livelihoods and lots of interesting things happening. But it is also evident that the big players are global giants, and they could be doing so much more.

Trading Visions, in collaboration with the LSE International Development Department, held a well attended public discussion debate on Tuesday 1st March 2011. The topic was 'Has Fairtrade asked for enough?'.

You can watch and listen to the panellists and the discussion below.


Deborah Doane is Director of the World Development Movement, which campaigns for justice and equality for the world's poor. Deborah was a founder and trustee of AntiApathy, and recently joined the Board of the Fairtrade Foundation.

"From the mainstream players, I think Fairtrade can demand more, without losing them... because of the incredible power of the movement behind it." - Deborah Doane

Adam Brett co-founded Tropical Wholefoods, and is a director of Fullwell Mill. He has been a self employed entrepreneur since 1990, working on the development of fair trade food businesses in Uganda, Burkina Faso, Pakistan, Zanzibar and Zambia. He is a Trustee and Judge for the Ashden Awards for Renewable Energy.

"I think [supply chains] are absolutely destined to be inefficient, in an extraordinary way. And conventional economics - of ‘oh yes everything's going to work out, we're going to end up with a nice optimal situation where we're going to live in the best of all possible worlds’ - is completely childish! We actually have to grab our supply chains by the proverbial soft parts and squeeze, to make sure that they work as well as we can possibly make them work." - Adam Brett

Julia Clark is a consultant. As Head of Marketing at Tate & Lyle Sugars, she led the switch of the company’s entire retail sugar range to Fairtrade in 2008. At the time this was the largest ever commitment to Fairtrade by any major UK food or drink brand.

"The people at the bottom of the supply chain are not only disenfranchised and disempowered by the system, their own communities haven't taught them how to grasp opportunities and make much of those opportunities. They're small cane farmers because they don't know how to be anything else. And Fairtrade is starting to teach them how to be business people." - Julia Clark

Robin Murray is an industrial economist and a co-founder and board member of Twin Trading. Twin has established a number of pioneering producer-owned Fairtrade companies, notably Cafédirect, Divine Chocolate, Agrofair UK and Liberation Nuts.

"We're trying to create a different kind of economy. An economy not mediated by markets, but where markets are lodged within a reciprocal or mutual economy." - Robin Murray

Questions and Discussion

"We buy organic Fairtrade dried mangos for about 6 euros a kilo, when it gets to the shop it costs about 25 euros a kilo. So about 22% is going back to the producer. 65% goes straight into supermarkets' pockets." - Adam Brett

"The retail power [of supermarkets] is extraordinary - and it drags us all down with it." - Deborah Doane

The whole debate is also available as a podcast.

If you've walked past an Oxfam shop this Fairtrade Fortnight you might have noticed a rather fetching poster in the window showcasing the fact that they sell various "Fairtrade masterpieces".


The poster features products from Liberation Nuts, Traidcraft, Tropical Wholefoods, Divine Chocolate and Cafédirect - and Oxfam have also produced a little recipe leaflet to use with them.