KitKat cuts links with Fairtrade scheme

Nestlé UK and Ireland says its KitKat brand will no longer be associated with the Fairtrade accreditation scheme.

KitKat, which is manufactured at Nestlé’s base in York, will instead source Rainforest Alliance Certified cocoa from October 2020.

Nestlé says it is investing more in sustainably sourced cocoa and harmonising certification for confectionery products within its global portfolio.

It adds it will provide financial support to enable Fairtrade farmers to certify their farms to the Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Agriculture Standard as well if they wish.

The Fairtrade label guarantees farmers get a set minimum price and a financial bonus. The boss of Fairtrade has said Nestle’s decision to end its 10-year link is “profoundly disappointing”.

But Simon Billington, global technical manager for Nestlé Confectionery,  said: ”Our expanded partnership with the Rainforest Alliance underlines our commitment to sustainable cocoa sourcing throughout our global supply chain.

“We are aware that the move will have an impact on some farmers, and we are working hard to mitigate this.

“Nestlé will be maintaining the same level of cocoa spend for the 2020-21 season.

“We will be investing in a series of initiatives to support farmers and our cocoa growing communities over the next two years, including £1m to develop an industry-first living income pilot and a further £500,000 on community projects.

“We want to continue working with our Fairtrade farmers and we will pay for them to get to the level required by the UTZ standard, which since 2018 has been part of the Rainforest Alliance certification programme.

“If farmers are not able to do this in time for the next crop, we will also provide them with financial support for the coming year.

“Our successful partnership with Fairtrade is ending as we harmonise our certification for sustainable sourcing internationally.

“Over the last 10 years, Fairtrade and KitKat, together with millions of KitKat lovers in the UK, have supported cocoa farmers in the Cote d’Ivoire. We are grateful to the Fairtrade organisation and proud of the work that KitKat has supported with them.

Michael Gidney, chief executive of the Fairtrade Foundation, said cocoa farmers in Ivory Coast were “devastated” by the news.

He told The Guardian newspaper: “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.”

Alex Morgan, chief markets officer, Rainforest Alliance, said: “We’re delighted Nestlé 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.”