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KitKat Fair Trade row

 

Campaigners have said the decision to move away from Fair Trade status will hit farmers hard

Fair Trade campaigners have rounded on a confectionary company.

Campaigners across Scotland have been taking part in a nationwide #IStandWithFarmers campaign to protest Nestle’s decision to move away from Fair Trade for its KitKats.

Campaigners have been sharing the #IStandWithFarmers hashtag on social media and posters in their communities to express condemnation of Nestle’s refusal to #KeepKitKatFairtrade.

More than 300,000 people have signed petitions asking Nestle to Keep KitKat Fair Trade. The largest petition, started by Joanna Pollard, coordinator of Fairtrade Yorkshire, was handed into Nestle’s York office yesterday (Thursday 1 October).

Nestle has said it will source KitKat cocoa on Rainforest Alliance terms.

The petition is backed by a coalition of organisations that includes the Scottish Fair Trade Forum and has received widespread support from across Scotland, including from elected representatives such as Colin Smyth MSP, chair of the Scottish Parliament’s Cross Party Group on Fair Trade.

Colleen Tait, engagement and communications officer, for the Scottish Fair Trade Forum, said: “Since Nestle’s announcement in June, the affected cocoa farmers raised concerns through the Ivorian Fair Trade Network and asked Nestle to Keep KitKat Fairtrade. Despite these concerns and the global pandemic, Nestle has gone ahead with their decision, only serving to highlight the gross power imbalances that persist in international trade today, and the need to fight for Fair Trade which has farmer democracy at its heart.”

With its slogan “Have a Break, Have a KitKat,” KitKat has been a flagship Fairtrade product for 10 years, and the partnership has resulted in significant impact for tens of thousands of small scale farmers in Cote d’Ivoire and beyond in that time - including providing much-needed recent support for communities in response to Covid-19.

The mark will no longer appear on the bars and campaigners claim as a result of the withdrawal, tens of thousands of cocoa farmers will no longer receive around £1.37 million of Fair Trade Premium payments every year, and will have less control over how they spend their money under the new deal they have been offered.

Nestle said it asks those who have signed the petitions to look at the mission of Rainforest Alliance and the work the company is doing through its Nestle Cocoa Plan.

"We want to help further improve the lives of cocoa farmers through a number of different initiatives and by increasing our overall investment in sustainable cocoa," a spokesperson said.

"Before we made this decision, and throughout our notice period with Fairtrade, we have listened carefully to farmers.

"We have used their input to create a comprehensive package to support their needs through the transition."

 

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