Waitrose increases support to farmers with new cocoa pledge

Waitrose & Partners has committed to making all cocoa in its own brand confectionery 100% Fairtrade by the end of the year.

The conversion to Fairtrade cocoa in all own brand confectionery will significantly increase the volume of Fairtrade cocoa sold in Waitrose & Partners stores, including the flagship local branch at Oakgrove in Milton Keynes, helping to improve living standards for cocoa farmers.

The commitment will extend to over 100 confectionery lines and increase the supermarket’s annual Fairtrade investment to more than $3.3 million, a figure that supports farmers, workers and producer organisations across the Fairtrade network.

Announced at Fairtrade Fortnight, the commitment was celebrated by the Fairtrade Foundation, who highlighted the challenges cocoa farmers face in earning enough income to take them above the poverty line.

The event encouraged governments, chocolate companies and other retailers to offer their support to help move towards a living income for cocoa farmers.

Lizzie Sutcliffe, buyer of confectionery at Waitrose & Partners, said: “Responsible sourcing is something both we and our customers care deeply about. Given the popularity of our own brand confectionery and Fairtrade products in store, our new cocoa commitment is a natural fit and the perfect act of solidarity to support the Fairtrade Foundation in their campaign.

“The typical income cocoa farmers currently earn mean they often struggle to cover their production costs, even before affording essentials like food, clothing, education and healthcare.

“By supporting Fairtrade’s campaign and ensuring all cocoa in our own brand confectionery is Fairtrade certified, through the support of our customers, we can improve living standards for many cocoa farming communities in Africa.”

In 2007, Waitrose & Partners became the first supermarket in the UK to sell Fairtrade bananas exclusively, a move that increased the number of ethically sourced bananas in the UK by 10%.

This feature was published in the April 2019 issue of Celebrate:MK lifestyle magazine. Read the full magazine above or by clicking on this link.

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