Nestle has announced its KitKat bars will no longer be Fairtrade, meaning 27,000 farmers could miss out on £1.6 million in premiums each year
Starting from October, KitKats in the UK and Ireland will source its cocoa from farms that use the Rainforest Alliance terms instead of those working with Fairtrade accreditation.
Nestle already uses Rainforest Alliance certified farmers on other bars such as Aero and Yorkie.
The boss of Fairtrade has said that the owner of Nestle’s decision to cut its 10-year association with the non-profit organisation that fights for living incomes amongst farm-workers is “profoundly disappointing”.
Michael Gidney, chief executive of the Fairtrade Foundation, said its cocoa farmers in the Ivory Coast were “devastated” by the news.
He said: “It would never be good news but to face this when the country is looking at one of the worst health crises imaginable makes things particularly difficult.”
“Nestle’s relationship with farmers in Ivory Coast has been able to make a huge difference to village communities, helping them to receive electricity and water pumps.”
“The decision is a huge blow.”
Simon Billington, who is the global technical manager for Nestle Confectionery, has said that the company is aware that “the move will have an impact on some farmers”, but went on to say that it is “working hard” in order to reduce this factor.
The company has said that it will provide financial aid in order to support its current farmers to become certified with the Rainforest Alliance if they desire.
Nestle said it was not a decision made due to money-saving and will spend the same amount of money on cocoa from its farm-workers over the next year.
Nestle has said it will also invest in a variety of initiatives that support farmers, as well as within their communities; this will include a £1 million payment to support incomes and a further £500,000 on wider community projects.
Mr Billington added:
“Our expanded partnership with the Rainforest Alliance underlines our commitment to sustainable cocoa sourcing throughout our global supply chain.
“Our successful partnership with Fairtrade is ending as we harmonise our certification for sustainable sourcing internationally.
“The Rainforest Alliance has significant experience working with cocoa farmers in understanding and implementing robust sustainability criteria that drives positive change, and we look forward to deepening our collaboration in the coming years.”
Alex Morgan, chief markets officer at the Rainforest Alliance, said: “We’re delighted Nestle is strengthening its position in the cocoa sector and unifying its responsible cocoa sourcing commitment across all of its portfolios.”
“Our certification programmes continue to connect companies, consumers, farmers and businesses committed to protecting the health of ecosystems, workers, and communities by using social and market forces to protect nature and improve the lives of food producers.”
This comes after the number of coronavirus-related deaths in the United Kingdom has risen by 15 fatalities to 42,647, which is the lowest daily increase of deaths since mid-March.