Sustainable cocoa in entire chocolate range
The agreement which obliges Nidar to change to 100% certified cocoa in the course of the next five years was signed on 21 June. "This is a great step for Nidar, and will mean a lot both for cocoa farmers in Côte d’Ivoire and Norwegian consumers," says Nidar's CEO, Inger Johanne Solhaug.
Nidar wants to contribute to good working conditions for the cocoa farmers, and has been engaged in improvement work in the cocoa sector since 2005. The move to certified cocoa will signify a comprehensive escalation of this commitment.
Socially conscious consumers have long been demanding a Norwegian, fair trade-branded chocolate. The new agreement obliges Nidar to change to sustainable cocoa in its entire chocolate range. "It is a huge step for us to take, and a decision we are very proud of. We want Norwegian consumers to be confident that Nidar's chocolate is of good quality and that the ingredients are grown in decent conditions," says Solhaug, who explains that Stratos, Nidar Favoritter and the other famous brands will bear a little symbol that shows that cocoa in the chocolates is produced in a good way.
Change is possible
More than 50 people attended Nidar's seminar about cocoa production in connection with the signing, including representatives of NGOs, the authorities and the industry. All participants shared a common interest in the conditions for cocoa production in West Africa.
“The challenges within the cocoa sector in Côte d’Ivoire are huge and they are complex. There is no quick and easy way to eliminate poverty or child labour. But Nidar choose to take the perspective that change is possible, and we hope that you will too. I truly believe that change IS possible”. The development programmes that Nidar and the rest of the industry have been engaged in are showing positive results. Farmers are getting better paid, and conditions have improved for children on the cocoa plantations where the farmers have received training. But a lot of work remains. "Nidar cannot solve all of the problems in Côte d’Ivoire, but we have a part to play," Inger Johanne Solhaug said in her opening speech.
The first certified cocoa will arrive at Nidar as early as the autumn of 2010. By the end of 2015, all of the cocoa in Nidar's chocolate will come from sustainable cocoa production. In this way, Nidar will probably be the first chocolate manufacturer in Europe to change to certified cocoa for its entire chocolate portfolio.
The agreement for certified cocoa has been entered into with UTZ CERTIFIED. The UTZ logo is already on many Norwegian brands of coffee, but is still an unknown mark for many Norwegian consumers.
"UTZ CERTIFIED is all about sustainability. Agricultural training for the farmers increases their expertise, their income and improves their living conditions. We think that UTZ CERTIFIED meets the specific challenges in the cocoa sector in a good way, and lays the ground for sustainable development in the long run," explains Solhaug.
A clear obligation
"We are very pleased to welcome Nidar as part of our cocoa programme. Nidar's obvious commitment shows that responsible production is on its way to becoming a standard, and that sustainable products are no longer the niche products that they used to be," says CEO of UTZ CERTIFIED, Han de Groot.