the unholy trading relationship between Mars and the Fairtrade Foundation: give with one hand, take with the other?

Exactly 1 year ago The Guardian wrote about the new EU sugar policy:

From the end of next year a change in EU policy will likely force […] cane farmers […] across Jamaica and beyond out of traditional work and into subsistence poverty.

Under fierce lobbying pressure from multinational sugar processors – Coca-Cola, Nestlé, Mars – the EU argues that the reform is made in the spirit of freer markets and better value for the European shopper. (The market will remain, more free for some than others, however. Beet sugar grown intensively on rotation on European farms will, under the new arrangement, still be subsidised by every taxpayer on the continent at around £18 per tonne.)

Last Monday Mr Gidney, chief executive of the Fairtrade Foundation, told the paper:

Sales of Fairtrade sugar collapsed by over a third in the UK last year as a result of changes in EU market regulations.


This year will see the first full year of sales of Mars bars sourced with Fairtrade cocoa, which first hit supermarket shelves in the autumn of 2015.

UK production of Mars Bars stands at about 3 million A DAY. Mars will be paying premiums of £1.3 million A YEAR to cocoa co-operatives in West Africa, as part of the new Fairtrade Cocoa Program.

The Fairtrade Cocoa Program enables companies to buy Fairtrade cocoa in bulk, for example all the cocoa they need to produce their chocolate bars.

Previously chocolate makers had to source everything that could be Fairtrade as Fairtrade – cocoa, sugar and vanilla – to carry the well-known Fairtrade Mark.

Companies wishing to publicly communicate their commitment under the Fairtrade Cocoa Program can use a new Mark, which has to make it clear that only their cocoa is purchased on Fairtrade terms.

Mars Bar is one of the UK’s favourite snacks, but its sales are falling. The 51 g chocolate Bar contains 30 g of sugar. As a result of the above-mentioned lobbying pressure third world sugar cane farmers are paying a hefty price for Mars’ decline, while Europe could soon be swamped with cheap sugar because of the planned liberalisation of the sugar market, experts have said. Thát’s the shocking truth.

Mars will be paying premiums of £1.3m A YEAR for the use of Fairtrade cocoa. That’s about 0,0013 pence PER BAR *. Give with one hand, steal with the other.

* I’m just guessing here. 3m Mars Bars can be produced in a day in its factory in Slough. An estimated 1 billion Mars bars are produced every year. In a typical bar of dark fairtrade chocolate a half of one pence is reflected in the farmers’ premium.

Real partnership is what good trade relations should be about,” Mr Gidney blogged – righfully so – about the (Fairtrade) sugar blues.

But last monday, in The Guardian, Mr Gidney seemed to lack strength and courage to admit the truth: the trading relationship between Mars and his Fairtrade Foundation is unequal. Quite shockingly so. In the future, Mr Gidney has to be much more vocal, about concentration ánd misuse of power by f.e. Mars.


2 gedachtes over “the unholy trading relationship between Mars and the Fairtrade Foundation: give with one hand, take with the other?

  1. Pingback: Fairtrade ten grave gedragen – fusie met Mondelēz en minimumprijzen op de schop | recepten en nieuwsjes vanuit de Dorpsstraat, nr 31

  2. Pingback: fabricated news doet fairtrade (keur)merken de das om | recepten en nieuwsjes vanuit de Dorpsstraat, nr 31

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