Fairtrade Dairy Milk hits Australian shelves

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 8th April 2010

Cadbury’s much-anticipated move towards Fairtrade sugar and cocoa has reached the consumer, with Cadbury’s flagship Dairy Milk brand now carrying the Fairtrade logo in Australia and New Zealand. The company has begun purchasing large quantities of Fairtrade cocoa from cooperatives in Ghana.

Fairtrade Australia and New Zealand Executive Director Steve Knapp was enthusiastic about the move.

“This is a real milestone for Fairtrade and for cocoa growers in Ghana. Cadbury Dairy Milk milk chocolate will create a step-change in awareness of Fairtrade here in New Zealand, while in Ghana it could potentially transform the lives and opportunities for thousands of people in cocoa-growing communities.”

“Cadbury is leading the way, listening to consumers and demonstrating that major chocolate manufacturers can make a real difference by helping to tackle poverty and empowering poor and disadvantaged cocoa farmers. We actively encourage other manufacturers in Australia and New Zealand to follow Cadbury’s lead.”

Fairtrade Dairy MilkCadbury Australia and New Zealand’s Managing Director, Mark Callaghan, was also positive about the change.

“Cadbury has a long tradition of being pioneers in sustainable chocolate production and sourcing Fairtrade Certified cocoa is another example of this commitment,” he said.

“It’s Cadbury Dairy Milk milk chocolate with the same taste, same cost, but extra ethics,” he said.

The Cadbury website is coy on the subject of whether the new Fairtrade Dairy Milk will contain only Fairtrade ingredients.  They state that Cadbury purchases “an amount of Fairtrade Certified cocoa and sugar equivalent to that required to make the Cadbury  Dairy Milk milk chocolate products carrying the Fairtrade Label,” and adding that “Fairtrade Certified™ sugar enters our global supply chain”.

While it might be difficult for Cadbury to separate out an entire supply chain for a single product, the result for consumers would be that purchasing Dairy Milk over another Cadbury product line gives the same percentage benefit to Fairtrade producers, and that all Cadbury products would actually contain a mixture of Fairtrade and conventionally-sourced cocoa and sugar.

Cadbury’s move has been controversial, with critics describing the move as ‘fairwashing’ – stamping an ethical logo on one product line of a company that continues to use other sources for ingredients.  However, Cadbury has expressed an intention to increase its Fairtrade sourcing as more farms are certified and supply volumes are secured.

Controversy also arose in New Zealand, with Andrew Davidson, producer of NZ’s first Fairtrade chocolate Scarborough Fair, accusing Cadbury of undercutting other Fairtrade sellers by subsidising their ethical products with money saved on non-fair-trade supplies.