Whittaker’s is reinforcing its commitment to ethical sourcing with the introduction of its new Rainforest Alliance partnership. The entire range of 116 products are made from Ghanaian cocoa beans and were created to have a significant impact on farmers in Ghana.
Like Fairtrade, the Rainforest Alliance is an NGO that provides independent third-party certification to ensure farmers follow strict standards of sustainable agriculture. As the global cocoa supply chain faces ongoing environmental and social challenges, sustainability standards become exceedingly important.
Whittaker’s co-chief operating officer, Matt Whittaker, says apart from a small amount of specialty beans from Samoa and Nicaragua, all of the cocoa beans used are sourced from Ghana.
“The Rainforest Alliance model means the significant additional investment we’re making in using only 100 percent Rainforest Alliance certified Ghanaian cocoa beans benefits cocoa farmers in Ghana specifically, complementing our other initiatives to build direct relationships with the farmers we buy cocoa beans from.
“This includes our regular visits to the two cocoa cooperatives in Ghana that we source beans from, as well as the work with the work we’re doing closer to home in Samoa under Whittaker’s Cocoa Improvement Programme.”
Whittaker says the initiatives are a step towards the goal of being able to trace all cocoa beans purchased by 2025 under the World Cocoa Foundation’s Cocoa & Forests Initiative.
Whittaker’s co chief operating officer, Holly Whittaker, says the brand are thankful for the ten-year relationship they have had with Fairtrade New Zealand that provided Fairtrade certification for the 72 percent Dark Ghana and 5-Roll Refined Creamy Milk blocks.
Packaging change is already underway across Whittaker’s 250g blocks, while changes to packaging across the rest of the range are being made progressively as existing packaging stock is used up, reducing unnecessary waste.
“This announcement of our commitment to 100 percent Rainforest Alliance certified cocoa is a major milestone and gives us a great platform to build on over time to achieve the other goals we’ve set ourselves under our comprehensive, phased sustainably focused ‘Good Honest Chocolate’ programme,” says Holly Whittaker.
Whittaker’s Good Honest Chocolate programme includes working towards full traceability of cocoa, a reduction of factory waste and to move to sustainable packaging for all Whittaker’s products, with the brand currently undergoing testing of innovative packaging options.
The iconic chocolate brand previously had Fairtrade certification for its two top selling products, 5-Roll Refined Creamy Milk and 72 percent Dark Ghana, these 250g blocks will soon be the first of the entire range to have a distinctive Rainforest Alliance frog seal on its packaging.