It is my pleasure to share the news that from May 2017, all the cocoa used in Co-op own brand products will be Fairtrade. This is a significant step for ethical trading and makes the Co-op the first British retailer to offer products which exclusively use Fairtrade cocoa in its products.
While our own brand chocolate bars have been Fairtrade for around 15 years, our commitment now also covers Co-op chocolate cakes, biscuits, desserts, and more chocolatey treats across our range.
In one of my previous blogs I discussed the responsibility of businesses and the way organisations can use their success to drive positive change and make a tangible difference to the world. Our Fairtrade commitment allows us to buy five times more cocoa from farmers in developing countries under the new Fairtrade Sourcing Program. This means that you can rest assured knowing that our cocoa has been ethically sourced and that the cocoa farmers can earn a fair price, helping them to work towards a more sustainable future.
To celebrate this news and do our bit for Fairtrade Fortnight, which runs from 27th Feb-12th March, we’ve undertaken several fun initiatives to educate Islanders and celebrate Fairtrade.
Children from La Mare De Carteret Primary School in Guernsey with their Fairtrade bananas
Over the past few weeks members of our Community Team have been visiting primary schools in both Jersey and Guernsey to educate young Islanders about the benefits of choosing Fairtrade. We wanted to make it as fun and interactive as possible, so the team created a play on Fairtrade cocoa and showed a film on Fairtrade bananas to help them to understand why it is important to consider Fairtrade and to get kids talking about the Fairtrade products available in our stores.
We even brought along Fairtrade bananas for the kids to enjoy as a break time snack, which also supports our Healthy Schools Policy and #HealthyHabits.
We provided ingredients for a Fairtrade cake baking competition at the College of Further Education in Guernsey to showcase the variety and versatility of Fairtrade products. Nine students from the catering course took part, and our Society’s Chief Marketing Officer, Greg Yeoman had the enviable job of judging the competition. The contest winner, Liam Torode, deserves a special mention for his chocolate, hazelnut and coffee gateau, which wowed the judges. I hear it was delicious!
Left to right: Chief Marketing Officer of Channel Islands Co-operative, Craig Yeoman, contest runner up Georgia Watson, contest winner, Liam Torode, and judge Eileen Jones.
As well as our community initiatives, we’ll be sharing Fairtrade facts and figures with our colleagues over the coming weeks to ensure they understand the importance of our commitment too.
On top of our Co-op cocoa products, Co-ops across the UK have sold Fairtrade wine since 2001. Last year, all bagged sugar sold by Co-op became Fairtrade, and in 2001 we were the first business to bring Fairtrade bananas to the UK. You can see the full list of Co-op Fairtrade products available in the Channel Islands and read some more information on our new and improved Fairtrade section on our website.
At Co-op, our commitment to Fairtrade echoes our values to make a positive difference in our communities and it fills me with pride to be part of an organisation that can make such a huge difference both locally and on a global scale. Choosing Fairtrade gives you the power to change lives, it allows us to give back to the farmers across the world who work tirelessly to provide vital ingredients for our products. I encourage you to make the conscious decision to choose Fairtrade wherever possible in support of this fantastic initiative.