Cadbury's Dairy Milk chocolate bar is going fair trade. In a massive coup for the fair trade movement, Cadbury will certify 300 million of its Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate bars as well as its packaged cocoa, at a cost of £1.5m ($2.1 million), by the end of summer.

 

And what a way to show the world that consumers are still willing to pay the extra bit to support their ethical values.

 

Cadbury sells 300 million Dairy Milk chocolate bars a year in the UK and Ireland, and buys all of its cocoa from Ghana, which grows the best quality beans. Now 40,000 of Ghana’s 700,000 cocoa farmers will benefit from the first phase of the Cadbury venture, tripling the country’s fair trade cocoa production. Cocoa is Ghana’s biggest cash crop and second-largest export earner. So it's great for the country because it will give jobs to young people and stabilize the industry.

 

Cadbury's chief executive, Todd Stitzer, said he plans to convert the group's other chocolate brands to fair trade "as soon as we can do it." With prices climbing, it's a good time for cocoa buying. However, he insisted Cadbury was committed to fair trade for the long term, regardless of price changes. According to the Guardian, "Dairy Milk is the first mainstream chocolate bar to be sold with a commitment to pay cocoa suppliers the 'fair trade premium' of $150 (£105) a ton above market prices. When the bars go on sale this summer the value of fair trade chocolate sales in Britain will leap from £45m to £225m [$72 million to $360 million]. Cadbury's pledge to buy 10,000 tonnes of cocoa under fair trade terms will triple certified sales from Ghana."

 

One source of the Ghanian cocoa is the Kuapa Kokoo Union, a growers' co-operative. They have 40,000 registered cocoa farmers across Ghana and now sell 3 percent of their cocoa as fair trade. With those sales they have been able to implement community projects like building primary school classrooms, constructing wells, and investing in corn mills. Now that they will be able to sell more on fair trade terms, their premiums will increase and so will their community's quality of life.

 

This story was originally written for Treehugger. Copyright 2012.

 

Related fair trade story on MNN: Finding the best bargains in fair trade foods