The giants of the chocolate industry are moving away from labelling their products as Fairtrade and will instead replace the word ‘fair’ with a question mark.
Mondelez International, the producer of chocolate brands such as Cadbury and Toblerone, Unilever and Barry Callebaut, the world’s largest manufacturer of chocolate and cocoa products, have all introduced their own schemes in a bid to give consumers a better indication of which direction all this Fairtrade malarkey is actually going in.
Mondelez International’s Head of Getting Rid of Fairtrade Labelling and Replacing it with Something Much Less Transparent Mr. Manu Facturing said, “The problem with being part of the Fairtrade scheme is that it misleads the customer. It gives a better deal for farmers and workers in developing nations, granted. It sets a minimum price for raw materials and requires companies to contribute toward community projects in exchange for the Fairtrade stamp – yes, but it isn’t very fair if you’re a multinational company that’s struggling to meet its profit forecasts in a slowing worldwide economy and you need to trim your costs a little bit – in fact I’d go as far as saying that it’s rather f*cking unfair, not to mention inconvenient!”
The major chocolate giants have elected to use their own criteria to assess what constitutes Fairtrade and it is thought the question mark is a far better symbol to use in terms of giving a truly honest assessment of how important issues such as climate change, sustainability and gender equality in farming communities are in the manufacturing process.
Whilst third-party labelling has historically been a key driver in the quest to stamp out practices such as deforestation and child labour on farms, the chocolate industry feels it is better placed to decide what the effect of soil erosion is from behind a desk in plush city offices rather than relying on independent assessments from people on the ground.
“Strictly speaking if you clip your garden hedge it’s a form of deforestation, so the use of the question mark allows us to be more precise in relaying this concept. Even child labour is a grey area because I had a paper round when I was 12 years old meaning even the f*cking Guardian wouldn’t have qualified for a Fairtrade label back then,” Mr. Facturing added.