‘Fairtrade is generating a lot of hope for farmers here but unfortunately, today, we have problems with the market… The defining feature of Fairtrade is that we have well-organised organisations and democratic co-operatives, which allow us to carry out development projects for our members… This can only be done if we sell a lot more cocoa on Fairtrade terms.’
— Fortin Bley, Fairtrade cocoa farmer, Côte d’Ivoire
As Fortin says, more sales and strong, democratic co-operatives can empower farmers to grow their businesses and support their communities.
That’s why in 2015, Fairtrade introduced the West Africa Cocoa Program to strengthen the business skills of farming organisations.
We also celebrated the first UK commitment to the Fairtrade Cocoa Program when Fairtrade certified cocoa Mars bars hit the shelves last year, enabling farmers to sell more of their crop as Fairtrade. Transport for London also committed to sourcing cotton for its uniforms on Fairtrade terms.
To track the progress of these new ways of sourcing, we invested in baseline research with cocoa and cotton farmers in West Africa. Researchers found that co-operatives had not only taken their first steps to building stronger businesses, but also benefited from the Fairtrade Premium and have better access to training and technical support. Both reports recommended that increased sales and more markets for certified cocoa and cotton would enable Fairtrade to make a bigger difference.
Meanwhile, we raised awareness of the challenges in the cocoa industry with a film that imagined a world without chocolate, clocking up 640,000 views and encouraging more people to buy Fairtrade. And Waitrose switched its Belgian chocolate range, offering chocoholics even more chances to choose Fairtrade.
In 2015, UK Fairtrade cocoa sales increased by 5% in volume, generating an estimated £4.8m in Fairtrade Premium for farmers and workers