Cadbury’s goes Fairtrade

As I write, Cadbury’s is announcing that it’s going Fairtrade. I wrote about this subject two years ago:

We have a perverse understanding of freedom in the West you know. We talk about being free, but in reality our freedom is bought at the price of others’ liberty. Your cheap Kitkat, Mars or Dairy Milk is cheap because those who made it might have been paid nothing and locked up 14 hours a day. Every single bar of Hershey’s that you’re free to buy at a bargain price is at a bargain price because there might be little or no labour charges going into it. As long as you reading this blog piece are prepared to buy chocolate at under 50p or a dollar a bar you are using your economic freedom to oppress someone else. If we in the West weren’t prepared to buy any chocolate unless it could be proved definitely that it hadn’t been produced by slaves, then slave labour for cocoa production would disappear because it would be economically unviable. Instead we close our eyes and ears to the truth and celebrate our freedom to buy what we want.

How can I convince you of this? This is the picture of the back of a child slave in the Ivory Coast who was beaten because he tried to escape. He was a slave because the big cocoa companies were happy to pay the lowest price possible for the cocoa that made your chocolate bar, and they didn’t care why the price was so low. He was beaten because your desire to have a chocolate bar for 30p not 50p produced the economic climate in which it was better to have him as a slave then to pay him a reasonable wage. If, like me, you’ve ever bought a bar of chocolate that wasn’t Fairtrade, that makes it your fault. It’s your fault – he was beaten as a slave because you wanted a cheap bar of chocolate. And yes, the Cocoa companies are making an effort now to do something about it, but they still haven’t done it. And why not? If everybody stopped buying non-Fairtrade chocolate then they would sort it out tomorrow wouldn’t they? Our freedom in the West maintains his slavery in Africa.

There’s more stuff from Cadbury’s on this exciting move here.

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5 Comments on “Cadbury’s goes Fairtrade

  1. he was beaten as a slave because you wanted a cheap bar of chocolate.

    He was beaten as a slave because someone enslaved him, and then picked up an implement and hit him with it. And that person will answer for it on the day of judgement – either himself, or through Jesus his representative, depending.

    Counter-question: how much time in the week should I spend researching the supply chains of products I buy to try and ascertain whether or not someone has been exploited in the process of manufacturing the goods and getting them to me? And would that be the best use of my time, compared to e.g. earning money and giving it to Tearfund?

    Also, with regard to Fairtrade: where does all the money go? Does all of the 20p difference between non-FT and FT go to the producer? If not, why not? Surely every other step in the process is the same. Do you think Cadbury is going to raise their prices whent they go Fairtrade? If not, have we been being ripped off by Fairtrade chocolate for the past few years? I can’t believe that all 20p is due to lack of economies of scale.

    [BTW, in case it’s not clear, I’m completely against forced slavery. I think that everyone should be free to make the employment decisions that are best for them – to get a job, or not, and to leave it, or not, at whatever the offered wage is, with whatever consequences each choice entails.]

  2. Hey Peter

    Thanks for blogging the story and for linking to the blog (I’m the blog editor).

    Yesterday, I published a bunch of posts answering the questions that kept coming up in our comments and on Twitter about the Cadbury Dairy Milk Fairtrade move. That includes price. The short answer is that it is costing Cadbury money, but they’re absorbing the costs – so the price isn’t chaging http://tinyurl.com/cumjc3

    Stay in touch :-)

    • Hi Lea,

      Thanks for adding your comment here. It’s good to know that Dairy Milk will be using Fairtrade cocoa mass, but do you have timescales to move the whole of Cadbury’s production onto a similar ethical basis?

      • Hey Peter

        It’s not just the cocoa mass, it’s also the sugar.

        I’m not sure what the timescales are for the rest of Cadbury, but I do know that this is a step in a long journey.

        :-)

  3. I’m trying to figure out if Cadbury’s in the USA is slavery-free. Since they let Hershey’s manufacture their chocolate here, and Hershey’s uses slave-chocolate, I was wondering if they use the same cocoa they use for both brands.

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