Guilt-free chocolate from the Co-op


Margot Brown and Pam Hanley of the Forum with Jade Jackson, Co-op Team Leader

The York Fair Trade Forum was delighted to help the Co-op celebrate its switch to using only Fairtrade cocoa in all own brand goods. This affects 200 products, from tiramisu right down to the chocolate sprinkles on the shop’s doughnuts. And as a result, the amount of Fairtrade cocoa the Co-op sources has risen from 526 to 2,848 tonnes. The move is expected to generate £450,000 a year in Fairtrade Premium for cocoa communities, ensuring that money goes directly into the hands of the farmers.

Because of our cocoa-based history, perhaps we in York are more aware that chocolate is not just a naughty treat. The reality is, millions of small-scale cocoa farmers rely on our consumption to make a living. The Co-op’s move means that more of these farmers can benefit from the better deals that are available to them through the Fairtrade Foundation’s scheme.

The Co-op’s decision is particularly welcome at a time when another supermarket chain, Sainsbury’s, is causing concern amongst Fairtrade producers and supporters by replacing its Fairtrade own brand tea with a less favourable scheme of its own. Its “Fairly Taded” label disempowers tea producers by giving Sainsbury’s control over how the social premium is spent. You can read more about it, and how to protest, here and sign a petition here.