April 2009

Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO), the global Fairtrade certification umbrella body, has commissioned the first ever global consumer survey on Fairtrade. It was carried out by GlobeScan, and involved a sample size of 14,500 people in fifteen countries.

The results are encouraging reading. The survey shows that ‘active ethical consumers’ make up just over half the population (55%) in the countries surveyed. These consumers are willing to reward or punish companies that meet, or fail to meet, their expectations, and they influence others with their opinions.

Mars has announced that all its cocoa will be "sustainably sourced" by 2020. Mars is working with the Rainforest Alliance to certify at least some of this cocoa. The first product to bear the Rainforest Alliance mark will be Galaxy Chocolate in the UK and Ireland, beginning in 2010. The company will also go on working with UTZ Certified, which is currently preparing to launch its cocoa certification scheme, focusing initially on Cote d'Ivoire.

Like Cadbury's recent announcement that Dairy Milk would be Fairtrade certified by the end of 2009, the news needs to be put in the context of broadly declining and unstable global cocoa supplies. As Fiona Dawson, managing director of Mars UK, told the Financial Times last week: “Cocoa is a volatile commodity. We want to secure our long-term sourcing.”