STOP PRESS: Nestlé suck a little less. FAIR TRADE KIT KATS!

Here at STOP THE TRAFFIK HQ we are hyperactively bouncing around the room / thrilled / over the moon and delighted to inform you that change is afoot and YOU, that’s right YOU made it happen!

Within DAYS of the ‘Sock it to Nestlé’ Christmas campaign launch, we have learnt in a mysterious and spy like way that 4 finger Kit Kat’s will be FAIR TRADE as of January 2010. Nestlé are to publicly announce it Monday 7th December.

Whoop! Yeeeeehaa! and High 5s all round.

I guess the question now is why just four finger Kit-Kats? What about two finger Kit Kats, what about the rest of their chocolaty products and what about their global market?

We understand that it is hard to make all products traffik free overnight but we sincerely hope this is not a token gesture. We want to enjoy all chocolate without a bitter aftertaste so the campaign continues! As our CEO Ruth says ‘the worst thing we can do is think that this is enough! The industry needs to know that we will not stop until every bar in every shop is traffik free!’

Since summer 2009, we have been hassling Nestlé – the global giant with a pitted human rights past. The campaign started when our 20 year old friend Phil phoned Nestlé Headquarters asking where they sourced their cocoa beans; the response was fantastic. They said (and I quote) ‘I don’t know, have a look at STOP THE TRAFFIK’s website’. Read more here.

Since then, around the world, you have shown the strength of consumer power! Traffik free choices are being made in supermarkets, fair trade sales are increasing, you are tweeting, facebooking, writing letters, making phone calls and since the Nestlé Christmas campaign you have been wrapping wrappers with cheeky Christmas messages.

Well, ladies and gentlemen we are off to a great start and we wanted to share this news with you and say an enormous thank you for your help and time and for making traffik free choices.

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5 thoughts on “STOP PRESS: Nestlé suck a little less. FAIR TRADE KIT KATS!

  1. Congratulations on the result – but still Nestlé Fairtrade KitKat will be added to the Baby Milk Action boycott list – Nestlé is the target of a boycott over its aggressive marketing of baby foods.

    There are other companies that are Fairtrade in all their products, not just a token one as with Nestlé. My view is they deserve support for their commitment – and generally great chocolate. Remember Nestlé’s Chairman is on the record as saying that he will only support good causes if it will benefit his shareholders – and a token Fairtrade product to assuage critics fits in with his cynical calculation.

    Fairtrade is good news for those in the scheme, but as you say, what about those outside of it?

    When Nestlé launched its Partners’ Blend coffee in 2005 there were hopes of great things, but that involves just 0.1% of the coffee farmers dependent on Nestlé and Nestlé is accused of driving down prices for millions of farmers, sometimes below the cost of production. Such troubling details don’t stop Nestlé using its product to try to divert criticism, including in a national media campaign in the UK.

    We have seen over decades of the baby milk issue that the way to achieve change is relentless campaigning with public support and legislation wherever this can be achieved. Nestlé puts profit before all else, has promised 5-6% annual growth to shareholders and gives ground only when it sees its bottom line threatened. So don’t let up and don’t be taken in.

    Find analysis, images and links at:
    http://boycottnestle.blogspot.com/2009/12/nestle-fairtrade-two-fingers.html

  2. Hey Mike, thanks for your useful insights – we agree with you on so much of this. With this most recent announcement from Nestlé we are very much emphasizing the fact that this is only one small step, from a company with many questionable practices and a poor ethical record. Our campaign will continue to demand that more is done – across the whole brand range and across the globe – we are not silenced by what many see as just being a token gesture.

    We are however pleased that they have acted, and it is significant because it is on the product that we targeted. Importantly, from what we understand, Nestlé are maintaining their farms in the Ivory Coast which addresses some of the criticism about relocating and simply buying cocoa from farms that are already certified. Time will tell whether they live out these promises – and during that time we will continue to hammer home the point that more needs to be done!

    1. I think you have run a great campaign – better still that your public statement highlights that cocoa outside the scheme (99% of Nestlé’s purchase, in fact) may still involve child labour/slavery. It is a shame the media is not reporting this on the whole.

      One thing that Nestlé understands is public pressure. From our experience of the baby milk issue, Nestlé makes a very cynical calculation as to when boosts to its profits from unethical behaviour are outdone by the harm to its image.

      Our challenge as campaigners is to make as many people as possible aware of malpractice and active in targeting Nestlé.

      The award of the Fairtrade mark for this one product, with the national advertising campaign to come, may well make that harder. Much of the media coverage does suggest Nestlé’s move will address the child labour/slavery issue, when in reality Nestlé is part of the problem in making commitments to the Horkins-Engel Protocol, not delivering and being obstructive to the process. More than ever, Nestlé needs to be exposed on this issue.

      We see the same on the baby milk issue: we force a change from Nestlé and it trumpets this as it ‘taking the lead’ – neglecting to mention that it took years to force its hand and that many more concerns remain. Further, it suggests people should no longer to listen to campaigners because it has stopped a particular practice. Then it comes up with another way to push its baby milk in breach of international standards.

      So I’m pleased you are calling for more and will monitor what happens with KitKat. As long as the certification is properly audited, those farmers within the scheme are going to benefit.

      The impact on wider campaigning – including our own – remains to be seen. This earlier analysis of the PR pros and cons of its Fairtrade coffee launch may be of interest:
      http://www.babymilkaction.org/action/nestlefairtrade.html

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