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Why did KitKat move to Rainforest Alliance?

image of cocoa beans

It has been a year since KitKat moved to Rainforest Alliance certification, enabling Nestlé to have one consistent certification system for all our products globally. Since then, we have been working very hard on a number of initiatives to support our cocoa farming communities in the Cote d’Ivoire.

These initiatives, which are in addition to our regular Nestlé Cocoa Plan activities, include our innovative household income accelerator pilot, which is aimed at closing the gap on living income. We will be reporting the results of the first year of this scheme in the autumn of 2021.

Last year, we provided £500,000 for community projects and asked our farmer cooperatives for their ideas on how this money could best support their local communities. This is just some of what has been purchased and achieved since then:

  • Eight schools built or refurbished
  • Five water pumps bought or refurbished
  • Two health centres built and equipped
  • 96 sets of personal protective equipment to help keep farmers safe
  • 66 spraying kits to protect crops
  • 236 pruning kits to help make crops more productive
  • 16 motorbikes to help farmers get around more easily
  • 10 new warehouses built for storage

Why did Nestlé move from Fairtrade to Rainforest Alliance certification for KitKat two-finger and four-finger?

We have been using 100% certified sustainable cocoa in the UK & Ireland since 2015, and that has mostly been achieved though Rainforest Alliance certification (formerly UTZ). Moving KitKat to Rainforest Alliance means we are now using one consistent certification system for all our products globally, enabling us to track the commitments we have made through the Nestlé Cocoa Plan more closely.

Is Nestlé saying that Rainforest Alliance is a better scheme than Fairtrade?

No, both schemes are different, but we are not saying that one is better than the other. We have chosen Rainforest Alliance certification because we want to ensure:

  1. That farmers receive a fair price for their cocoa
  2. That we are tackling key social and environmental issues including child labour and deforestation.

Those aims match the mission and goals of Rainforest Alliance, where there is a focus on how farms are managed; certification is awarded to farms that meet comprehensive social, economic and environmental standards. Addressing these issues is vital to making sure the industry is sustainable in the long term.

How can you justify leaving farmers worse off at this time?

Nestlé is fundamentally committed to responsible sourcing throughout our supply chain and to ensuring that all our farmers are treated fairly. Before making the decision to move KitKat to Rainforest Alliance certification, we spent a lot of time looking, in detail, at the potential impacts on farmers of making this change. Our team of experts worked very hard to put in place a detailed and comprehensive plan to continue to support our cocoa farmers’ livelihoods following the decision. We value the relationship we have with the cocoa cooperatives and farmers we work with, and we want this to continue.

Similar to the Fairtrade Premium, we will pay the Rainforest Alliance premium on top of the farmgate price for cocoa, and the Living Income Differential (LID), which is a mechanism introduced by the Ghanaian and Ivorian governments. Additionally, recognising the unprecedented disruption caused by the current global pandemic, we are guaranteeing the current minimum price for two years for those farmers affected by the transition.

What is the actual Rainforest Alliance premium that you’ll be paying?

We will be paying a Rainforest Alliance premium of $180 per tonne.

Will Nestlé still have a relationship with Fairtrade?

Yes, we will. Fairtrade remains a partner at a global level with some of our other products. We are also fellow signatories to the new EU cocoa coalition as part of our proactive engagement on cocoa sustainability at EU level. This coalition comprises other major confectionery brands, NGOs, as well as the Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade certification schemes.

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