Nestlé Australia has announced this week that every chocolate it sells is sourced and produced sustainably on farms with safe working conditions.
This means that the good old favorites such as Kit Kat, Smarties and Club Chocolate will be produced from more than 3,000 tonnes of UTZ certified cocoa. Consumers will now be able to choose the sustainable variants by looking for the Nestlé Cocoa Plan and UTZ Certified symbol on the packaging.
Nestlé described it as a first for the chocolate manufacturing industry in Australia, revealing in a statement that the Nestlé Cocoa Plan will help farmers run profitable farms and eliminate child labor.
The Nestlé Cocoa Plan is a 10-year project launched in 2009 that aims to address the key issues and offer long term solutions for the cocoa industry.
Backed by $AU116 million investment, the Plan is working with farmers and partner organizations to achieve the following:
– Supply farmers with 12 million healthy cocoa trees that will replace the unproductive ones by 2019
– Train farmers on efficient farming methods and responsible work practices through field schools and demonstrations (around 27,000 farmers were trained in 2012)
– Pay farmers a premium for sustainably produced cocoa
– Partner with NGO’s and the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana to end forced labor practices in the cocoa industry
– Work with the World Cocoa Foundation to build or refurbish 40 schools in order to improve educational opportunities
Côte d’Ivoire supplies Nestlé with a bulk of its cocoa produce and the Nestlé Research and Development Center located in the former capital of Abidjan is vital to the Cocoa Plan.
“Our work with West African cocoa farmers is helping to address the issues facing the farmers and their communities, while giving Australian consumers the confidence that the cocoa in them has been produced sustainably,” said Nestlé Australia Business Executive Manager for Confectionery and Snacks, Martin Brown
“It’s difficult to guarantee a sustainable supply of cocoa in the quantities we need in the challenging environment that exists in the Côte d’Ivoire. But the Nestlé Cocoa Plan is starting to make significant progress in these areas which ultimately improves the social and economic conditions of farmers and their families,” Brown said.
R&D Head Dr. Serigne Diop said that ageing trees have caused the productivity in farmers’ landholdings to diminish.
“We believe you cannot have a socially sustainable business if your farmers, your suppliers, are not being paid a fair price and cannot see a future for themselves as farmers,” Dr Diop said.
Meanwhile, Christian Today Australia reported that Nestlé’s announcement was welcomed with much anticipation and celebration from the Baptist World Aid, which is a member of the STOP THE TRAFFIK coalition.
The chocolate manufacturing industry has been on the receiving end of scrutiny from many advocacy groups for poor wages and working conditions.
According to the report, “since 2009 Baptist World Aid’s Catalyst advocacy groups have participated in STOP THE TRAFFIK’s campaign on major chocolate companies to adopt ethical certification for their cocoa.”
“It’s amazing to think that Nestle, the largest food company in the world, has responded to the calls of everyday Australians, standing up for a cause they believed in. I’m proud to know that Baptist Churches and Catalyst advocacy groups have been a big part of seeing this change happen. It turns out our actions can change the world and we can be love to the poor,” says Baptist World Aid Advocacy Manager, Gershon Nimbalker.