Formartine campaigners protest Nestle’s refusal to #KeepKitKatFairtrade
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Campaigners in Mid-Formartine have taken part in a nationwide #IStandWithFarmers campaign to protest against Nestle’s decision to stop sourcing cocoa and sugar on Fairtrade terms for their KitKats sold in the UK.
A small representative group from Mid-Formartine Fairtrade, complying with current Covid19 restrictions, assembled to show the group's support for farmers.
Their actions coincided with those of campaigners in York who handed in to Nestle’s York office petitions representing 300,000 people.
With its slogan 'have a break, have a KitKat', KitKat has been a flagship Fairtrade product for 10 years, and the partnership has resulted in significant impact for tens of thousands of small scale farmers in Cote d’Ivoire and beyond - including providing much-needed recent support for communities in response to Covid-19.
The independent FAIRTRADE mark - recognised and trusted by 90 percent of consumers as an assurance of a better deal for farmers - will no longer appear on the bars as a result of the withdrawal, and tens of thousands of extremely vulnerable cocoa farmers will no longer receive around £1.37million of Fairtrade premium payments every year, and will have less control over how they spend their money under the new deal they have been offered.
Sugar farmers will lose over £500,000 of annual Fairtrade premium payments, however Nestlé turned a reported profit of over $10billion globally last year.
The largest petition with over 280,000 signatures is addressed to Nestle’s global CEO Ulf Mark Schneider and was started by Joanna Pollard, coordinator of Fairtrade Yorkshire.
She said: “When we heard the news and read the open letter from the cocoa farmers in Cote d’Ivoire expressing their concerns about the changes, we decided to stand with them in asking Nestle to keep KitKats Fairtrade.”
The petition has received widespread support from elected representatives including Colin Smyth MSP, chair of the Scottish Parliament’s Cross Party Group on Fair Trade.
The petition is also backed by the Scottish Fair Trade Forum, Fair Trade Wales, CAFOD, NUS, BAFTS, Fair Trade Network UK, Tearfund, Commitment for Life and the Fairtrade Foundation’s National Campaigner Committee.
A further 20,000 people have signed a second petition started independently by The Co-operative Party calling on Nestle not to break away from Fairtrade, which is also to be handed in.
With cocoa harvest underway in Cote d’Ivoire, when farmers will begin to process their cocoa pods for export, this time not on Fairtrade terms.
Continuing, Joanna said: “Since launching this petition, I’ve had the chance to speak directly to farmers and have also managed to speak privately with Nestle representatives about how farmers are going to lose out from this decision.
"They haven’t listened, and that’s why I’m here today, to tell the company that we are going to keep standing with farmers, and call on everyone to choose chocolate with the FAIRTRADE mark.”
In 2019, UK shoppers helped generate over £30million for Fairtrade producers to boost local economies and improve community services in the Global South, and Fairtrade cocoa sales grew by 23 percent.
This is thanks to committed companies who have increased their sourcing of Fairtrade cocoa over the past few years and conscious consumers who choose to buy Fairtrade chocolate.