27 september 2008
Royal Verkade Chocolate 100 percent Fair Trade
With this purchase Verkade is helping more than 50,000 farming families in developing countries. They will get a greater say over their production, turn-over and labour conditions, says Oxfam Novib, which applauds the development. Adrie Papma, director of management operations: ‘We are exceedingly happy, because it allows African cacao farmers to work in a sustainable manner on a livelihood without poverty.’ Coen de Ruiter, director of the Max Havelaar (Fair Trade) foundation, calls the decision a milestone. ‘It is fantastic that a company like Verkade shows that large-scale fair trade purchases are possible.’
‘What’s most important for us is that we want to produce the most delicious chocolate, purchased under fair conditions, so we can really contribute to a better world’, says general director Bart Merkus of Royal Verkade.
Though many players were involved in this decision, a major turning point occurred late last year. This claim is made by Stop the Traffik Netherlands (STT) and local NGO Fairfood who ran a full page advertisement linking Verkade with the worst forms of child labour on the Ivory Coast. ‘Within a day we had a phone call from Fair Trade’, states Antonie Fountain of STT, ‘saying that Verkade had just called them to talk about the possibility of Fair Trade sourcing for their cocoa. Oh, and could you perhaps ask STT and Fairfood to stop placing those adverts?’ Fairfood is an international non-profit campaign and lobby organisation, which encourages the food and beverage industry to make its supply chains more sustainable.
Seven months later, one of Hollands largest chocolate makers had made this bold move. ‘We arre very excited about this landmark decision, and call all other chocolate producers to follow Verkades bold move’, says Fountain. Currently there are over 150,000 children engaged in the worst forms of child labour in the cocoa industry on the Ivory Coast alone, claims STT, 12,000 of whom have been trafficked.
Merkus of Verkade says that the preparations for this worldscoop started in 2006, with the first talks with Oxfam Novib and Max Havelaar.
P+ webtip: Stop the Traffik