Massive German cooperative the REWE Group is to become the first grocery retailer in Germany to convert its entire own-brand chocolate assortment into the Fairtrade cocoa program.
As a founding member of the "Sustainable Cocoa Forum", the REWE Group has been committed to the certified cultivation of cocoa for many years.
The company says the conversion into the Fairtrade cocoa program will take place this year. In addition to chocolate bars, the range also includes pralines, Easter and Christmas confectionery, instant cocoa and nut nougat spreads. The organization says 99% of cocoa is already sustainably certified in all REWE Group own brands.
Since 2014, the REWE Group has been cooperating with the Fairtrade Cocoa Program, which enables small farmers to earn a more stable income and additional income for the implementation of local projects.
Cacao cultivation is the main source of income for more than 5.5 million farmers in developing countries, providing a livelihood of more than 14 million people, mainly working on small-scale farms.
Dirk Heim, Head of Bio and Sustainability Commodity, REWE Group said: "It is important to us, especially in the cocoa sector, to permanently contribute to the improvement of local living conditions and to conserve natural resources. The cooperation with Fairtrade enables us to accept cocoa from responsible, fair and sustainable production as well as a transparent certification of our products. "
Key challenges include working conditions, low income, decreasing soil fertility through inappropriate farming systems, improper use of agrochemicals, and forest clearing and land use change to expand acreage.
Dieter Overath, CEO of TransFair eV (Fairtrade Germany) said: "The REWE Group is a long-standing, reliable and innovative partner of fair trade. Be it coffee, tea, roses or confectionery, the Fairtrade assortment in the REWE and PENNY markets is getting bigger and bigger. The REWE Group played a pioneering role in 2014 with the introduction of the cocoa program. We are pleased that the REWE Group is further expanding its fair raw material purchasing and continues to rely on Fairtrade-sealed cocoa."