Growing up in the 1960’s one’s impressions of coffee, tea and chocolate we often formed from a fairly limited base of information. I remember a Ladybird book on chocolate and cocoa giving a rather idealised, looking back now, picture of the supposedly easy life of an African cocoa grower. As a child my mental picture of where tea came from was taken from either a PG Tips packet or card album showing pickers in a wonderful lush green field with a basket on their back and a contented smile on their face! The school library book on coffee I remember detailed coffee from bean picking to cup, but none of this learning gave any appreciation of the challenges and hardship often suffered by third world growers and producers.
Today the world is much more interconnected and there are multiple sources of information, from far more TV channels, YouTube, social media links and particularly internet search engines. This has brought a level of awareness of the world we all share than was ever available just a couple of decades ago. We have seen the rapid growth of organisations like Green Peace, WWF, Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade all helping to both educate and influence the future of the environment and the relationship between the First and Third World.
I have recently been reading an update from Cadbury’s on their partnership with Fairtrade called Cocoa Life. They have an admirable goal of bringing real and measurable improvements to around 200,000 cocoa farmers in key cocoa producing areas by 2022. The Cocoa Life scheme is underway in the Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Indonesia, India, Brazil and the Dominican Republic. For Cadbury’s it’s about helping farmers improve their yields and therefore their incomes, as well as help to develop business skills, community infrastructure and understanding how to protect and improve their farming land and ecosystems for both the present and future generations.
Mondeléz International, the parent company of Cadbury’s are aiming to have 100% of their cocoa requirement source via the Cocoa Life scheme by 2025, and it well worth spending a few minutes at www.cocoalife.org to see the real differences commitments like this can make.
Written by: Colin from KSV.