The company said it reached its goal to source all its cocoa on Fairtrade terms this week. It comes soon after Fairtrade product sales in retail were up 9% in Denmark in 2015.
Michelsen is sourcing the cocoa through Fairtrade International’s Cocoa Program.
The program – launched in 2014 - allows companies to source a single commodity rather than all ingredients for a brand on Fairtrade terms.
Fairtrade guarantees cocoa farmers a minimum premium of $200 per metric ton (MT) on top of the market price and conducts training programs and audits to help farmers boost income and guard against child labor.
Not perfect, but making a difference, says CEO
Fairtrade says it helps to empower farmers in developing nations, but critics such as social venture Cacao for Change say premiums should be 30 times higher to bring farmers out of poverty.
Daniel Paetsch, director and CEO of Michelson told ConfectioneryNews: “We are aware that there is a lot of discussion about which way to approach the issues, which program is best for the cocoa farmer, etc.
“Our thinking has simply been that although it may not be perfect, we need to do something that makes a difference. As we are a small business we cannot do it ourselves but need a partner with a long and strong track record in origin – and we have not seen anyone do it better than Fairtrade.”
Industry push for certification
Major manufacturers such as Ferrero, Mars and Hershey have committed to sourcing 100% certified cocoa by 2020 from sources such as Fairtrade, UTZ Certified and Rainforest Alliance.
Ferrero announced in June this year it would double its earlier Fairtrade commitment by sourcing 40,000 MT of Fairtrade cocoa up to 2019 and would also purchase Fairtrade sugar for the first time.
Other large players such as Nestlé and Mondelēz International source some certified cocoa from sources such as Fairtrade, but are ramping up their own sustainable sourcing programs, known respectively as the Nestlé Cocoa Plan and Cocoa Life.
Certified cocoa accounted for 16% of global chocolate sales in 2015, up from 2% in 2009, according to the latest Cocoa Barometer report.