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Kraft and Cadbury: Good for ethical certification of commodities

I posted a musing back in November on what the Kraft takeover of Cadbury could mean for sustainability.

Of course, since then Kraft has upped its offer and this has been accepted.

Provided it goes through, which it should, then the question now is what will this mean?

The Guardian has run a piece this morning giving voice to concerns that Cadbury’s investment in Fairtrade could be under threat by the takeover. It quotes Kraft as responding that these should not be affected.

I taught the second class last week of the corporate responsibility course that I teach every year.

Kraft/Cadbury was high on the agenda for the students in our discussion seminar. What would happen?

Luckily for them, our guest lecturer, Brendan May of the Robertsbridge Group, a new consultancy, is a bit of an expert on certification, and a board member at the Rainforest Alliance.

Our conclusion in the group was that Kraft would indeed stick with Cadbury’s commitments to fairtrade, but would also, as it has been doing for years, expand its work with Rainforest Alliance certification.

From the quotes in the Guardian, whilst nothing is yet 100% certain, it looks like this is what will happen. I’m pleased, it’s definitely the right approach. What the certification mix looks like in five or ten years will be really interesting.

So whilst a great British icon is being swallowed, the result will be that what will be the world’s largest foods company has a very serious plan to become increasingly sustainable, fast, with a mix of options to do so.

That is surely the silver lining for those of us in the ethical business world who felt a slight sting when the sale of Cadbury to Kraft was announced.

3 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    Let's hope that Fair Trade can actually make a difference at origin. So far the model has not proven that it improves farmer conditions. With regards to Rainforest Alliance, a product gets the seal with just 30% of the content being certified. How can that be acceptable?

  2. Anonymous

    If you honestly believe an American company like Kraft will honour its Fair trade commitments you are naive.

    I would bet money that they will use their weight to change the definition of fair trade to ultimately screw the producers and hence make it not 'fair trade'.

    American Capitalism is broke, the sooner we accept that the better.

  3. Anonymous

    I just read that both the sustainability director at Cadbury and Brendan May will be speaking on these topics at a conference on the topic this September . . . could be interesting http://jm.ly/DOGQgq

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