Nestlé goes Fairtrade with iconic Kit Kat

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 8th December 2009

Nestlé has announced that their four-finger Kit Kat bar will be certified by Fairtrade in yet another sign that the Fairtrade movement is becoming mainstream.

The company has so far committed to certifying the brand as Fairtrade in the United Kingdom and Ireland but, like Cadbury with their Dairy Milk brand, it may extend beyond British borders.

The CHF 110m initiative (A$118m) brings together Nestlé’s activity to promote sustainable cocoa supply under one banner, the company said in a statement.

“Nestlé sells more Kit Kats in the UK than anywhere else in the world and I am delighted that following the global launch of The Cocoa Plan, Kit Kat – our leading confectionery brand – will now be Fairtrade certified in the UK and Ireland,” David Rennie, managing director for Nestlé Confectionery, said. “UK consumers are increasingly interested in how we source and manufacture their favourite products and certifying our largest and most iconic brand is one of the ways in which we are committing to improving the lives of as many cocoa farming families as possible.”

Harriet Lamb, Executive Director of the Fairtrade Foundation, has welcomed the move by the York-based Kit Kat brand, noting that “Cocoa farmers in Côte d’Ivoire struggle under the relentless pressures of poverty with shockingly high levels of illiteracy and poor access to healthcare. The significant volumes of cocoa that go into making Kit Kat will open whole new possibilities for these farmers in Côte d’Ivoire, giving them a more sustainable livelihood and the chance to plan for a better future.”

Nestlé has been working in Côte d’Ivoire – one of the poorest countries in the world – for over 50 years, the world’s largest manufacturer advised. The Fairtrade certification of Kit Kat will facilitate long-term direct commitments to cocoa co-operatives in Côte d’Ivoire, including additional payments for the farmers to invest in community or business development projects of their own choice, such as improving healthcare and schools.

The Cocoa Plan will also benefit Ivorian farmers, the company said, by offering agricultural and scientific know-how to improve the quality and yield of cocoa plants, offer farmer training and education, while improving the social conditions for farmers and their communities.

“The public will be cheering this groundbreaking move taking Fairtrade further into the mainstream. This is a huge step towards tipping the balance of trade in favour of disadvantaged cocoa producers,” Ms Lamb concluded.

The Fairtrade Foundation, established in 1992, is the independent non-profit organisation that ensures disadvantaged farmers and workers in developing countries get a better deal.