Q&A on Mars and Cadbury

The last two months have seen two of the biggest chocolate industry players announce major ethical certification initiatives.

Cadbury's Dairy Milk bar will be Fairtrade certified in the UK and Ireland by the end of 2009, with plans to convert more of their range, and Mars are working with Rainforest Alliance to sustainably source all their cocoa by 2020, starting with Rainforest Alliance certification for the Galaxy bar in 2010.

To put these announcements in context and explore their significance, we put some questions to Mars and Cadbury, and to three external commentators...

  1. Bama Athreya and Tim Newman of the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF). www.laborrights.org
  2. Michael Niemann, a writer and a teacher currently writing a book on the global cocoa and chocolate commodity chain. michael-niemann.com
  3. Philip Sigley, Chief Executive of the Federation of Cocoa Commerce Limited. www.cocoafederation.com The views expressed in this Q&A are his personal views. A longer response to these questions from Philip Sigley can be found here.
  4. Alison Ward, Global Head of Corporate Responsibility, responded on behalf of Cadbury. The spokesperson from Mars declined to be named.

Questions and Answers

1. Why are Cadbury and Mars adopting these ethical certification marks?

2. Why are Cadbury and Mars adopting these ethical certification marks now, at this time?

3. What is the scale of the commitments and how much will they cost each company?

4. Why not one of the other ethical certification marks?

5. Why not 100% certification for all Cadbury and Mars products?

6. What volumes of cocoa are involved?

7. What about the other commodities in these products, in particular the sugar?

8. What do these two different routes – Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance – say about the companies’ respective strategies?

9. What does this mean for the Global Protocol, the agreement signed in 2001 by the cocoa and chocolate industries to eliminate child slavery?

10. What do the announcements mean for consumers and citizens in rich countries?

11. What do the announcements mean for cocoa farmers?