Speaking to Third Sector, Fairtrade Executive Director Steve Knapp said one of the biggest factors in securing the deal was the high degree of consumer respect for the Fairtrade label, allowing Cadbury to free itself of the consumer distrust of corporations. “The trust and integrity that people have in Fairtrade is something that companies see more and more value in,” he said
Importantly, Knapp sees the Fairtrade label as a window for people who want to know more about the movement. Cadbury will bring the Fairtrade label to an unprecedented number of consumers, making it available in supermarkets, service stations and mainstream stores across the nation.
Suddenly Fairtrade chocolate will be available to everybody, meaning a dramatic increase in sales and awareness of what Fairtrade is about.
Knapp has always been interested in how social and commercial objectives can mesh. Coming from a social enterprise background, he understands the huge power of commercial forces. Embracing such attitudes has allowed Fairtrade to advance its movement through what Knapp says is a successful social enterprise.
“We are not an NGO, we’re a business and we’re run like a business. But we’re community owned, we have a social purpose and we’re not for private profit,” said Knapp. “This doesn’t mean we can’t make a profit it but it’s how you use those profits in the end.”
The process of securing the deal has provided a shining example to other not-for-profits and social enterprises. Exploiting the nature of the market as well as making the most of the integrity of its label, coupled with strategic reviews and ambitious targets have allowed Fairtrade Certification in Australia and New Zealand to gain unprecedented forward momentum.
“The deal is set to move Fairtrade products from essentially a niche market into the mainstream. It shows that a large company like Cadbury believes Fairtrade can achieve the scale they need,” said Knapp.
Suddenly other major chocolate makers have been forced to rethink how they will do business in the future.
The Cadbury deal will provide a catalyst for Fairtrade to approach other major chocolate producers. According to Knapp, Cadbury are setting a market standard that has already prompted discussions with other major producers.
Knapp is optimistic about the future. “It feels like this is just the start. I’m excited about the prospects of where this could go.
“Large corporations often expressed concern over the capacity for Fairtrade Certified supply to meet market demand. The support of a major mainstream chocolate producer sends a strong message to the industry.
“Fairtrade will definitely rise to the challenge of increased demand. Having undertaken a strategic review in recent years, I am confident of Fairtrade achieving scale with integrity.”
Third Sector acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands where we live, learn and work. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.